Evolving Government: DevOps is about communication first and technology second

In this contributed post, CloudApp's Sophia Sithole discusses the power of communication in DevOps.
(Getty Images)

Many of the obstacles organizations face can be attributed to miscommunication within key processes. Miscommunication can result in delays and can hinder collaboration, leading to missed deadlines, information not getting to stakeholders, or projects being cancelled due to inefficiencies. DevOps, an agile development partnership between software development and IT operations, is no different. When communication breaks down within development teams or between development teams and enterprise technology, projects fail.  This is why the culture surrounding DevOps values collaboration and communication above all.

Organizations new to this mindset often find it difficult to transition their legacy systems using DevOps or understand what methods might work best  for them. With the emergence of new resources and strategies, organizations are quickly realizing the value of DevOps. More specifically, the importance of finding new and efficient ways for their teams to communicate and encourage DevOp practices. At CloudApp we firmly believe that supplementing or replacing text-based communication with visuals makes the message easier to understand and encourages more collaboration, which helps foster a strong DevOps environment.

To better understand DevOps, it’s often helpful to approach it by understanding its benefits, how it impacts teams and internal processes. Through conversations with Dcode partners and dozens of Federal agencies, we’ve learned that organizations with an hierarchical structure often reap the most benefits when integrating DevOps strategies. Implementing DevOps removes the issues associated with knowledge silos and the improvements can be regularly measured. More importantly, by removing these issues, agencies can efficiently implement DevOps and achieve mission critical goals without affecting regular services.

Currently a multitude of text-based tools, such as Slack, Github and JIRA, are used in development portion of DevOps.The issue with this, is that these technical tools aren’t always accessible across departments or understood by each of the stakeholders in the decision making process. This often results in feedback being given at later stages, rather than during the development portion of a project. As a result, there is  a heavy reliance on setting up unnecessary meetings or creating long written status reports to update decision makers. And when problems are found outside of the testing stage, end users often have a difficult time explaining the issue to their support teams or need more training as they transition away from legacy systems.


This is further complicated by how developers, QA staff, and administrators typically use different terminology within organizations, making communicating even basic issues or desires difficult. To mitigate these communication and workflow issues, organizations find that communicating with inline videos, GIFs, screen recordings and annotated images significantly increases productivity. But replacing or supplementing text-based communications with visual media requires that the content is easy to capture, share, or embed and to be stored securely. Typically many services and tools are needed to create, manage and store visual content within business workflows (e.g. videos, screen captures, edited images, PDFs) – but not with CloudApp.

Platforms like CloudApp, allow you to quickly track your DevOp process and facilitate internal communication using visuals all in one place. More importantly, integrating visuals with your collaboration tools makes the development process and technical content more accessible. It provides an avenue to show what is going on rather than typing it out. Instantly capture an idea, a new feature, a design mockup and share it so that you can make faster decisions and share quick feedback. You’ll also find that lengthy emails are pared down as you explain something using a video or annotated GIFs. Visuals are processed 60,000 times faster than text, so we should scale back on typing.  To create more efficient workflows, start showing and make DevOps a more viable process in government.

Sophia Sithole is head of business development & partnerships for CloudApp.

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