4 Remote Work Challenges DevOps Teams Face and How to Solve Them

Nine months have passed since COVID-19 forced businesses around them to embrace remote work. For many organizations, this was the first time they gave serious consideration to having a larger portion of their workforce operate outside of the office.

IT and tech companies have set the example for how work from home could get done. Companies in the IT and tech fields appreciate the importance of being resilient. Their businesses demand that they are resilient and can pivot when there are changes.

For some tech companies, moving from in office work to work from home was not that difficult. They already had the systems in place to allow seamless communication, and collaboration, as well as easy-to-use cloud accounting and invoicing systems. In fact, many DevOps teams had been working remotely for years before the pandemic. They were proficient at collaborating with other colleagues who work remotely while keeping in touch with colleagues who work on premise.

DevOps focuses on creating an effective and secure collaborative environment. That’s why organizations use DevOps. Things like security, individual and team performance, governance, and compliance are at the heart of what makes DevOps important for most organizations.

That being said, nine months into the pandemic with remote work and even some DevOps teams are finding it a challenge to work efficiently. The following are four remote work challenges for DevOps teams and ways to solve them.

1. Setting Home and Work Boundaries

When development teams work together, they thrive. They can share ideas and collaborate with each other. Sometimes, this collaboration is easier when everybody is working in the same physical office. However, remote models can also lead to easy collaboration. But it also brings unique challenges.

When there is a physical office, there is a line of demarcation between work and home. Remote work blurs that line. As a result, DevOps professionals find it difficult to put boundaries between work and home. This affects their personal life and their mental health.

Most driven employees have a hard time pacing themselves. DevOps requires many teams to work around the clock. When there is a problem, they need to be available to fix it. This means that business leaders need to step up. They need to be empathetic and put themselves in the shoes of the members of their DevOps teams.

This may require employers to take the lead in helping their employees foster self-care. They should encourage DevOps employees to actively spend time with friends and family. They should be encouraged to get involved in activities outside of work.

Coronavirus burnout is a serious issue that is affecting people working from home. It’s up to business leaders to let their DevOps teams know that it is okay to have a life outside of work.

2. Difficulty Networking

DevOps professionals, like most busy professionals, are limited in ways to meet new people and build their professional network. Before coronavirus, there were conventions, meetings, luncheons, and other opportunities to meet professionals and network. Now, those easy networking opportunities are gone.

Networking now requires diligent effort. For example, DevOps may need to look at their LinkedIn contacts and try to find colleagues who they can invite to a virtual coffee chat. There are some great Linkedin automation tools that could help them build a business network a lot faster, which is very much needed keeping in mind that working from home isn’t very networking-friendly for DevOps.

One of the nice things about the pandemic is that it has eliminated time spent in travel. There is more time to have brief face-to-face meetings with people. Zoom is a powerful tool that offers 40-minute free video calls. Forty minutes is enough time to make brief introductions and build relationships.

A little follow-up may be needed after a Zoom call. Send a nice email or WhatsApp message after the meeting.

3. Broken Communication

DevOps works because of improved communication between several teams within a software organization. Specifically, we are talking about operations and development. However, when a team’s communication is limited to virtual communication, broken communication is a possibility.

Communication is more than just speaking. When you are face-to-face with a person, they communicate more than just words. When DevOps teams cannot meet weekly or daily, differences in individual communication styles and speeds come to the fore.

Collaboration can also take a beating. The only way to collaborate virtually is using the available collaboration tools. But this can make cohesiveness difficult. It can lead to misunderstandings, miscommunications, and anxiety that can make innovation, morale, productivity, and engagement diminish.

DevOps teams can improve communication by investing in the right tools for the right job. This can improve responsiveness, transparency, and productivity. It makes it possible for individual members to be in touch with peers and contact them easily.

4. Difficulty Monitoring Progress and Security

It’s difficult to track the progress of a project remotely. DevOps teams that are trying to monitor remote workers are in geographically dispersed locations and may find the task daunting, especially if the right tools are not in place.

Remote teams are at risk of compromising security and compliance. People working from home may use their personal Internet and mobile device to communicate with their peers. This increases the risk of there being a compliance issue or a security incident.


Image: 8photo / Freepik

Organizations can address this by scheduling regular brainstorming sessions. Remote DevOps teams should be allowed to contribute to the project during these brainstorming sessions. They should be kept up to date with how the project is progressing. Brainstorming sessions give everyone the power to share issues, concerns, and details of the project that affect them.

Having a sharp focus on security means providing VPN access, using cloud services, and keeping security tools up to date. Strong control measures that focus on security should be implemented. Remote team members should receive continuing education on the best practices they should follow to keep their data protected.

Conclusion

Remote work will be, in some form or another, in the future of DevOps. It is up to employers to create an environment that facilitates communication and allows organizations to bond with each other. Many DevOps teams are embracing a hybrid setup where most of the work is done remotely. However, regular in-person meetings help to streamline development. This allows a DevOps team to work together in a timely way, leading to long-term success.

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