5 ways collaboration boosts productivity and your career

May 2, 2022 · 3 min read · Leave a comment
Sharon Gaudin GitLab profile

A lot of DevOps professionals might feel confident they’ve got a lock on their DevOps role. They don’t need anyone else chiming in on how to update a software feature or plan a new product.

Other DevOps pros want to focus on learning new programming languages or figuring out how best to use machine learning. They think they don’t have time for so-called soft skills like communication and collaboration.

At its heart, DevOps is collaboration. It’s a team sport. Of course, staying sharp with hard skills like machine learning, new programming languages, and other cutting-edge technology is fantastic, but don’t ignore soft skills. Enabling teamwork is a cornerstone of DevOps.

Making this cultural shift means teammates are all pulling in the same direction. It means more, and more diverse, input leads to better, well-rounded products and software. And it also means career development.

Here’s a look at just a few ways a culture of collaboration can benefit a DevOps team, software development and deployment, and DevOps professionals’ careers.

Boosting DevOps professionals’ careers

It’s clear that companies are increasingly dependent on DevOps professionals who are able to not only work with various teams, but who also are able to clearly communicate with colleagues in other departments, like finance and marketing. The 2021 Global DevSecOps Survey reported that IT professionals working in development, security, and operations all said they need better communication and collaboration skills for their future careers. And nearly 23% said these soft skills will give the biggest boost to their careers. Being able to work across departments, clearly communicate needs and ideas, and work together to innovate better products makes a tech person more valuable to the overall company, leading to management roles and higher salaries.

Using the buddy system to iterate faster

The bedrock of a DevOps culture is collaboration and joint responsibility. And for good reason, because better cooperation leads to more, and more efficient, continuous, iterative development and feature deployment. Cooperation makes a DevOps team more agile so it can adapt to changes in projects and workloads.

With traditional application development, managers, developers, security professionals, and those on the operations team generally work in silos. They don’t communicate readily or well. They don’t work together on projects or share documentation and knowledge. With DevOps, though, those silos begin to be broken down. And by joining forces, teammates can pool efforts to assess problems, envision solutions, and create and deploy high-quality applications from a single end-to-end application. Breaking down those silos fosters better decision-making and creativity, and increases information and resource sharing.

Creating better products

By creating partnerships, DevOps teams are able to more quickly adjust to changing market needs and take on new competitors. Sharing data, and the workload, across disparate teams also empowers them to find out what customers need, what delights them, and the features that need to be created. More input from people with different perspectives and different backgrounds means a company will get software with features that speak to a wider range of users. All of this leads to better products, and that leads to a stronger business.

Pulling different business teams together

Fostering cooperation isn’t just for DevOps team members. A truly collaborative culture also should include colleagues in different parts of the company. Members of the security team, marketing, finance, customer service, and the C-suite all can participate to create better software. Collaboration between DevOps and security, for instance, leads to less duplication of effort, more secure software, and a more secure company. Similarly, someone in customer service would have direct insights into what users like, and don’t like, about current products. Integrating their feedback into ongoing processes will provide the ability to leverage their expertise before code is delivered.

Taking advantage of everyone’s expertise

By inviting discussion, input, and assistance from experienced and new team members, as well as from people in different business departments, a culture can be built around learning from and relying on others’ expertise. This enables DevOps professionals to discover other perspectives and contribute beyond what might have once been a narrow focus. Think of everyone’s knowledge and experience as pieces of a shared resource library that can be tapped into for every project.

“At its heart, DevOps is based on collaboration. So if you become an expert collaborator, you might just see your career soar.” – Sharon Gaudin

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