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    12 Apr 2023 · Culture

    Team Collaboration Strategies for Hybrid DevOps Teams

    9 min read

    In today’s fast-paced business environment, organizations are constantly seeking ways to improve their operations and stay competitive. As hybrid DevOps teams—which combine in-house developers with external contractors or remote workers—become more popular, businesses want to make the most of their workforce.

    However, managing and collaborating effectively with a hybrid team can be challenging. Despite the many benefits, managing a hybrid team requires a different set of collaboration tools and strategies than managing traditional office-based workforces, especially when it comes to fostering teamwork.

    In this article, we will explore the latest team collaboration strategies for hybrid DevOps teams, including best practices for communication, project management, and more.

    Why is it Important for DevOps to Collaborate? 

    The technical aspects of DevOps teams are obviously important, whether it’s designing contact center software or effectively responding to issues in an IT system. But working in a team to achieve common goals is also a crucial tenet of any good DevOps organization.

    When you hire DevOps engineers, it is important to consider how well they will work with the rest of the team. Effective collaboration is essential for the success of DevOps initiatives, as it allows teams to share information and resources, and to work together to improve processes and resolve problems. You could also follow, or even start, a DevOps blog to learn, collaborate, and share techniques. But what are the benefits of effective collaboration in a DevOps team?

    1. It sparks creativity

    Working collaboratively is a great way to improve creativity. By bouncing ideas off each other, a team of engineers can find unique solutions that a single engineer might never have considered.

    This can be invaluable in an industry that often requires creative solutions to difficult problems in order to have an advantage over competitors. 

    2. It improves productivity

    Source: Unsplash

    In hybrid work environments, boosting productivity can be one of the biggest challenges. Without some of the benefits of a focused office, sometimes employees can struggle to replicate productivity levels when working from home.

    Encouraging collaboration can improve productivity by making engineers more engaged in their work while also making it more likely that they will arrive at solutions sooner than if they worked individually. During collaborative work, you may well find examples of emergent leadership, whereby employees begin to offer colleagues assistance and support to aid productivity. 

    3. It provides better work transparency

    Similarly, when a DevOps team works together, each team member can share information and stay up-to-date on the progress of work, ensuring that transparency is improved across the organization.

    This helps to keep everyone on the same page and reduces the risk of confusion or delays due to lack of communication. It also helps to identify any issues or roadblocks early on and address them promptly, ultimately leading to a more efficient workflow.

    4. It reduces burnout 

    Working hard on your own to try to solve problems regarding test automation, for instance, can sometimes be difficult and frustrating. While many engineers might enjoy working alone, it is well known that positive social interaction at work can help to reduce the chances of burnout.

    This means that your best engineers will be more likely to continue performing at their highest levels and that you can retain your best talent.

    5. It’s time efficient 

    By sharing knowledge and resources, DevOps teams can complete tasks faster and avoid duplication of effort. This is where asynchronous communication comes in. It allows hybrid teams to discuss problems efficiently and in a way that best suits them, while still working collaboratively. This is an especially useful method if your team is based in different time zones and arranging meetings can be difficult.

    A more collaborative and productive workflow means that solutions will be produced earlier, saving your organization time and money.

    These are only some of the benefits of effective collaboration. Overall, you may find that employees who collaborate, communicate, and create as a team will be happier—and that can only be a good thing. So, now that you understand the advantages, let’s explore how you can foster a collaborative culture.

    8 Team Collaboration Best Practices for Hybrid DevOps Teams

    The advantages of collaboration for hybrid DevOps teams are clear. It is a great way to improve productivity, reduce burnout and produce creative solutions. So how can you encourage effective collaboration in your DevOps team?

    Source: Unsplash

    1. Take advantage of collaboration technology

    One of the advantages of the ubiquity of hybrid work is the amount of sophisticated collaboration technology that businesses can use, such as conference calling.

    Really, there is technology to help any business, no matter where they’re based, communicate with teams all over the world. Unified communications software allows meetings to be conducted regardless of where the participants are located. 

    Through the use of video conferencing, instant messaging, and VoIP phone calls team members can stay in touch quickly and easily. This improves Dev team communication and encourages team collaboration. 

    More specifically, for DevOps teams, you can use project management tools to track progress and share files, while code management tools can be used to collaborate on code development.

    It’s important to ensure that your team is effectively trained to use all of this technology efficiently. Once onboarded, collaboration technology is one of the best collaboration strategies for hybrid DevOps teams.  

    DevOps teams can also use a UX research repository to capture user emotions and needs in the most accurate way possible by analyzing user feedback interviews. 

    2. Polish your plans and create a roadmap 

    A key part of effectively collaborating in a hybrid DevOps team is having clear and well-defined plans and a roadmap. This means that goals and objectives should be clearly communicated and understood by all team members, and the roles and responsibilities within the DevOps team should be clearly outlined.

    Additionally, a detailed project plan should be created, which outlines the steps that you need to achieve to meet the project’s goals. This plan should be regularly reviewed and updated. Having a clear roadmap in place will help to keep everyone on the same page and ensure that everyone is working towards the same goals. 

    3. Create a communication plan 

    Source: Unsplash

    When designing collaboration strategies in a DevOps project, it can be helpful to create a communication plan. This should outline the different channels and methods of communication that engineers will use.

    For example, you can schedule regular virtual meetings to discuss progress and resolve any issues, while instant messaging and email can be used for quick, informal communication. 

    It’s also important to establish clear lines of communication between different teams and ensure that everyone knows who to contact in case of an emergency. If your team is designing acceptance development programs, for instance, you should outline channels of communication with the final users of those programs.

    4. Create an inclusive hybrid environment

    Any good project management strategy should ensure that all team members feel included and valued. All of your employees should be encouraged to share their thoughts and ideas, and everyone’s contributions should be acknowledged.

    In virtual meetings, you could use a shared document for engineers to suggest ideas if they don’t feel comfortable speaking up in front of a large group. A healthy environment that is achieved through open and transparent communication will ultimately lead to better results.

    Remember to be as inclusive as possible so all members of your team can participate. Consider adding closed captions for those with hearing impairments and provide clear transcriptions after each meeting. For those with visual impairments ensure that each member identifies themselves when speaking and any images used are visually described.

    5. Identify challenges 

    You will encounter problems when designing collaboration strategies for your hybrid DevOps team. Time-zone differences or software availability can make collaboration difficult.

    However, you can minimize these challenges by identifying them early. Discuss them with your team members and log information such as time zones. This means that you will be able to recognize potential issues before they cause any damage. Using a business phone system to allow your team to stay connected can help with remote work.

    6. Build a hybrid work policy 

    Having a clear hybrid work policy can ensure that everyone is on the same page when it comes to hybrid collaboration. This policy should be designed collaboratively, building buy-in among team members. 

    Your policy should define the types of work arrangements that will be supported. You should outline the guidelines and expectations for working remotely, as well as communication channels, technology requirements, security protocols, and expectations for team members.

    By designing a clear hybrid work policy, you can make sure that your DevOps team can collaborate in a harmonious environment where each team member understands their responsibilities.

    7. Use automation

    Source: Unsplash

    Automation is making all digital work easier, from CI/CD to security access requests. Aspects of DevOps collaboration can also be automated, helping to streamline repetitive and time-consuming tasks.

    Automating the testing of code, for instance, can free up more time for the sort of creative work in which collaboration is crucial, allowing team members to focus on more important and strategic work. 

    8. Encourage diversity of ideas

    Effective collaborative work should ensure that team members are encouraged to share their unique perspectives and ideas. This helps to foster an environment of creativity and experimentation. You should try to create an open and inclusive environment where everyone feels comfortable sharing their thoughts and ideas, which will also serve to remove the potential for any discrimination in the workplace–though this is not without work and acknowledgement from the top. 

    For instance, a team that is trying to prevent spam emails could be divided into small groups in a virtual meeting to brainstorm responses to the question ‘how can we stop spam emails?’ This can prevent the most confident speakers from dominating group discussions and ensure that more diverse voices are heard.

    Additionally, team members should be encouraged to participate in cross-functional teams, which can help to bring different perspectives to the table. By encouraging diversity of ideas, teams can work together more effectively and achieve better results.

    Collaboration – the key to a successful hybrid DevOps team

    Many DevOps teams are moving permanently to a hybrid working environment. Despite the importance of collaboration, managing a hybrid team’s collaboration can pose unique challenges. This article provided you with the strategies that can help you to overcome these issues. 

    From using technology to creating inclusive environments, these practices can lead to improved creativity, productivity, and efficiency, while also reducing burnout. By implementing these strategies in your organization, you can make the most out of your hybrid team.

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    Avatar for Jenna Bunnell
    Writen by:
    Jenna Bunnell is the Senior Manager for Content Marketing at Dialpad, an AI-incorporated cloud-hosted unified communications system and computer softphone app that provides valuable call details for business owners and sales representatives. She is driven and passionate about communicating a brand’s design sensibility and visualizing how content can be presented in creative and comprehensive ways. Jenna has also written for other domains such as WebSitePulse and Freelance Writing Gigs.
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    I picked up most of my skills during the years I worked at IBM. Was a DBA, developer, and cloud engineer for a time. After that, I went into freelancing, where I found the passion for writing. Now, I'm a full-time writer at Semaphore.