DevOps Teams & Remote Working: Business Efficiencies and Staff Benefits

April 1, 2020 Roarke Lynch

Have you considered switching to remote IT teams, but worry that remote working would make adopting DevOps too challenging? The current landscape has many IT organizations like yours asking this same question. 

If there is a silver lining, it’s that C-suites — and CFOs in particular — are now more open to the financial justifications not only of process improvements, but also processes that involve enhanced employee well-being and safety. Better said, remote working is not just about crisis management and business continuity. It’s about embracing business practices and projects that return a great internal rate of return (IRR) — even during the good times. 

Work from home man working on laptop

Although the remote work model may not be a good fit for every team in an organization, engineering teams seem to be in front of this trend. And it appears that many companies are starting to change their views on remote work models. 

According to Owl Labs’ State of Remote Work 2019, 62% of the US workers surveyed report that they work remotely for all or part of the time. A two-year Stanford study seems to reveal why corporate sentiment has changed. 

The study found that employee attrition decreased by a whopping 50% among remote workers. That is a significant statistic when considering that the average cost of getting a new employee up to speed is six to nine months of salary.

The Remote Work Model for IT Teams

Should you consider remote software engineering teams? Yes. And here’s why ...

  • A remote model gives you the ability to acquire the best talent available. You are no longer limited to geography to find the talent you need.
  • Remote workers are highly productive. A Harvard study concluded that remote employees contribute almost an extra day of productivity per week compared to office workers that are frequently distracted.
  • Another reason: Flexjobs states that 80% of U.S. workers said they would turn down a position that did not include a flexible model.

Can Remote Teams Adopt DevOps? 

Yes, and it appears that remote teams adopt DevOps easier than their traditional counterparts. Gitlab reports that remote teams are more confident with the DevOps culture in their organizations, and 67% report having greater visibility into what other team members are working on compared to traditional office teams. And culture and visibility are crucial to DevOps success.
As thought leaders in both remote working and DevOps, we are assisting many companies with their DevOps transitions — with remote and traditional work models. At Appirio, we have over 10 years of experience with international remote teams. We find that people working in a remote model, by definition, have embraced a different way to work. It is this mindset that contributes to their especially successful adoption of DevOps — and you can achieve this result too. 

For maximum success in establishing a DevOps process with a remote model, consider these tips that have proven effective with our teams:

  • Explore and welcome new ways to work, such as being strategic with time zones. Plan crossover standups for your teams — use end-of-day/beginning-of-day meetings to pass the baton. We find this a great way to get the teams together and on the same page.
  • Choose and manage your tools. Whether you have full- or part-time developers, a team needs to use the same tools to be most productive. The Accelerate State of DevOps 2019 report found that the highest-performing teams are 1.5 times more likely to have easy-to-use tools that improve productivity. Give your teams the flexibility to choose their tools.
  • Communicate and communicate again. Clear communication is a hallmark of DevOps. With remote teams, more is better. Always be open to recommendations and ideas from anyone on the team. This is an opportunity to see things from a different perspective and give everyone a chance to make a valuable contribution.
  • Recognize the achievements of teams and individual contributors. Feedback is an important element of success.
  • Embrace change. Is something no longer working? Change it. Not every team is the same. Find the right tools and processes to get the best performance from each team.
  • Invest in a robust planning and tracking tool. You need a cloud-based process tool to track the progress of all teams.

Appirio: A Proven Leader

For Appirio, the remote work model is in our DNA. We have been a mostly remote workforce for over a decade. Appirio is a Top 5 Global Salesforce Strategic Partner. We have over 3,000 cloud deployments and 1,500 enterprise customers in 100 countries across 6 continents. From the beginning, we have had our roots in international teams. We know what works and what doesn’t — to help you become efficient and highly productive.
As our company was growing, so was the DevOps methodology. We adopted DevOps and gradually built it into our processes and workflows. 

As our spirit has always been rooted in agility and innovation, our engineers built a DevOps software platform, Appirio DX, to empower our teams with tools and processes that enable us to deliver the highest level of performance for our customers. Our Appirio DX tool can transform the way you develop on the Salesforce platform, empowering your teams to realize the dual DevOps goals of rapid innovation and system reliability. 

Now is the time to position your organization for whatever comes next. We invite you to contact us and begin your DevOps journey with remote or traditional teams. We will help you execute a smooth transition. 

About the Author

Roarke Lynch

Roarke Lynch is Director of DevOps and Appirio Labs for Appirio’s Products and Innovation team. He is 8x Salesforce certified and has been developing and integrating on the Salesforce platform for over eight years. Roarke is from the Washington D.C. area and now lives with his wife in Houston, TX. In his spare time, you’ll find him chasing his one-year-old, fostering kittens, or geeking out over math, science, and economic innovations.

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