How to Shift to a Remote DevOps Process

Originally Published on the Salesforce Developer Blog

The COVID-19 outbreak, for better or worse, is challenging all organisations to adopt and embrace remote work. For many, this is completely uncharted territory. Having several remote workers or occasional work-from-home check-ins is one thing. But trying to move an entire group, department, or even mid-to-large-sized organisation to a remote setup brings complexity at multiple levels.

Companies that use remote technologies such as virtual desktops, mobile devices or collaboration suites to supplement in-person work are relying on those technologies and are quickly learning the pros and cons of working remotely.

Shifting to the virtual world

Enterprise DevOps teams must ensure business continuity and performance across current and future development projects and operations. For teams not accustomed to remote work, shifting to a virtual world requires revisiting approaches to collaboration, communication, security, quality control, individual & team performance, work assignment, compliance monitoring and governance.

With remote work, all interactions with employees, customers and partners are moving to digital. This accentuates the urgent need to ensure the best digital experience for all these stakeholders at all times, requiring DevOps teams to deliver innovation and updates faster. 

DevOps leaders must take extra care to ensure that they balance this need for speed with improved security, compliance and governance controls to uphold trust and performance in this critical time of transition and adaptation. This is the best time to implement full-scale DevSecOps within your organisation.

Ensuring secure and effective collaboration

For DevOps, the first priority is to ensure smooth, secure and effective collaboration and performance. This requires that everyone in your organisation consistently use a shared collaboration tool for all work and planning. Even if some employees are still working on-premise, everyone needs to be using the same collaboration platform so there is shared visibility.

Next, you need to ensure all tools and code can be accessed securely from home. Network security is critical but cloud-based offerings provide robust authentication security and there are many options such as VPNs to enable connectivity to on-premise systems, even with a remote workforce. You need to ensure adequate network bandwidth so that communications, sharing, downloads, etc., are timely and uninterrupted.

recent report by global management consulting firm McKinsey & Company compared project teams that were 40% versus 100% co-located. They found that employees in mostly remote teams completed projects almost twice as quickly, although the co-located team produced 50% fewer bugs. Thus, a shift into remote work may be expected to produce changes to typical patterns that will require teams to adapt. DevOps teams working remotely should put extra emphasis on monitoring quality and shifting towards automated testing early in the development process.

Cross-training and team resilience

This is also a time to look at team resilience and cross-training. Relying solely on one individual to perform a particular task is a brittle approach. Today’s pandemic scenario increases the chances that any employee may suddenly become unavailable if they fall ill, have to care for children being kept home from school, or tend to family members who become ill. Thus teams need to rely on a shared system where work items can be tracked and assigned to queues instead of individuals, if possible. Expect the flow of work to be less predictable, and strive to identify bottlenecks and single points of failure to minimise disruption.

Since DevOps, and by extension DevSecOps, is a critical part of every organisation’s ability to create and deliver value to their stakeholders, it’s important to implement a system that combines DevOps capabilities with the critical security, compliance and governance capabilities that you need to deliver innovation in an agile and trusted manner.So what are the key considerations to ensure business continuity for your DevOps teams during this time of crisis and transition to a remote work environment? Take a look at Copado’s checklist on the 12 Keys for Shifting to a Remote DevOps Process.

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