5 ways to involve people who don’t write code in the DevOps process

Build a culture of DevOps throughout the entire organization by involving other departments and breaking down silos.
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DevOps transformation extends beyond development and operations teams. It's also relevant to other parts of the organization. These new collaborators can offer new insights to the development team seeking to maintain alignment with customer needs.

This article describes ways to involve other parts of your business in DevOps.

Collaborate with marketing and sales teams

Product and services companies need to account for their sales and marketing teams in their DevOps transformation. DevOps can help bring down the silos between sales, marketing, and development.

Sales and marketing teams supporting new product launches need constant visibility into development project progress. I'd also argue developer stakeholders earn a view of marketing activities. The days of technically inaccurate surprises in marketing collateral should be no more in a DevOps culture. Sales organizations can communicate customer feedback and requirements into the development cycle so that incremental releases can include customer-requested features. You can increase this involvement in a couple of ways:

  • Use open source group chat tools such as Mattermost or Rocket.chat to set up go-to-market (GTM) or product release channels for the sharing of product information if you haven't already.
  • Include sales and marketing in the build release cycle, allowing them to receive a demo or even use a test version.
  • Give your sales and marketing teams access to documentation during the development cycle.

Automation is a priority in DevOps. It's up to you to educate your marketing team on how automation changes how your organization delivers software internally and externally, so it becomes part of your corporate story. I also suggest examining ways to automate data reporting from your continuous integration/continuous development (CI/CD) toolchain to benefit marketing.

Collaboration and shared roles with marketing in user story development, product definitions, user documentation, and marketing collateral create new meaning with a project schedule to support such activities.

Accelerate and automate technical content creation

The time has come for technical writers and other content developers to sit at the DevOps table. It's a subject I covered in a previous Opensource.com article.

Here are some ways to involve technical and marketing content creators in your DevOps process:

  • Knockdown any cultural or scheduling silos between your technical writer and the project team and give the writer a seat at the table, starting by embedding the writer on the team.
  • Manage any project-related content with a similar toolchain or pipeline model as you manage your continuous delivery using automated documentation tools such as docToolchainHugo, or Jekyll.
  • Take a progressionist versus perfectionist approach to content, so content development keeps pace with product development.
  • Introduce a continuous documentation model (or a similar methodology) to accelerate content development to DevOps velocity.

[ Read also: A DevOps guide to documentation ]

Seek licensing guidance from your legal department

Even your legal and finance department has a potential role in your DevOps process. While a corporate attorney may not be billing their time directly to your DevOps projects, there's work for them in some facets of your open source and commercial software licensing. Here are some ways to involve your legal department in DevOps:

  • Make open source software licensing a responsibility of one of your corporate attorneys and encourage collaboration between legal and your open source savvy developers.
  • Mid-sized enterprises should include legal representation as part of any open source center of excellence or other cross-functional teams that focus on open source software.
  • Large-sized enterprises should include legal representation as part of their open source program office.

Monitor costs with your accounting and finance department

Financial Operations (FinOps) and cloud cost optimization are integral elements of digital transformation projects these days. Cost monitoring and optimization should be part of any Kubernetes deployment.

Setting aside the tools selection to make Kubernetes cost monitoring a reality, you need to start collaborating with your accounting and finance department early. An engineer or solution architect should partner with an accounting department representative to put financial controls and monitoring into the planning phase of DevOps.

Implement self-serve reporting for your executives

Every so often, you may have to involve your executive team in your DevOps process. No, you don't want them working shoulder-to-shoulder with your teams. Instead, you want to put your backend data to work through the judicious and innovative use of analytics and reporting. Some examples include:

  • Application change time, the time between code commit and deployment.
  • Issue volume, capturing the number of issues that staff and customers report in a given period.
  • Time to value is a business measurement of the time spent between a feature request and business value realization.

When you put in the proper reporting and audit trails for your DevOps efforts, you also gain a new channel to communicate project successes and challenges to stakeholders. More importantly, you now have actionable data to back up what you report.

Final thoughts

Ultimately, DevOps can and should transform your business. Full-scale transformation isn't happening unless your development and operations teams begin collaborating with other business units to achieve corporate-wide DevOps goals. While many organizations speak to the power of cross-functional teams, involving people who don't write code in the DevOps process is ultimately a cultural exercise because it brings down even more silos across your organization.

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Will Kelly is a product marketer and writer. His career has been spent writing bylined articles, white papers, marketing collateral, and technical content about the cloud and DevOps. Opensource.com, TechTarget, InfoQ, and others have published his articles about DevOps and the cloud. He lives and works in the Northern Virginia area. Follow him on Twitter:@willkelly.


"Collaborate with marketing and sales teams"

too good to be true :)

Thanks for sharing. I'd like to recommend a project management tool ZenTao (https://www.zentao.pm/), which integrates DevOps feature and it's convenient to access GitLab, SonarQube, and Jenkins. There is no need to switch to their official website to access data or save changes, you just need to click several buttons in ZenTao. Recommend to you! It really helps a lot!

I have tried using it for my project, but as stated here, full scale is a bit of headache with it, so after expanding I closed and shifted.

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