Ranger4 DevOps Blog

Collaboration and Communication Make the World Go 'Round

Posted by Priyanka Jain on Mon, Dec 7, 2015 @ 15:12 pm

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The Future of Team Collaboration conference in London was a day of learning with some of IT’s finest professionals. Now the event wasn’t solely for the tech industry which made it even more exciting. To have an event organized from an IT lens, but inclusive to marketers, software developers and business strategists alike, made it quite fascinating to see how the theme of collaboration was going to be communicated to these varying industries.

And well, it was just that- the message was delivered collaboratively. There was a fantastic range of speakers and the stage was shared by people like Professor Brian Cox, former SAS soldier Chris Ryan, Ranger4's very own Helen Beal, and other thought leaders from across the globe.

The event focused on the various ways businesses need to collaborate to remain successful and ahead of the curve- be it through software tools or basic forms of communications. As a creative individual myself, and someone with no technical background, I thoroughly enjoyed the way the conference nicely tied together one consistent message through different means.

 Some key takeaways from the conference:

  • Tools like HipChat, Confluence and Bamboo allow for collaboration and mobile working between peers keeping everyone in the loop, wherever you are.
  • As Helen mentioned in her talk, DevOps facilitates the overall working relationship between development and operations, enabling faster workflow and higher results.
  • This only works, of course, if dev and ops are willing to work in unison and tackle their frustrations and obstacles together. At the same time, they should celebrate their winnings as one, instead of two separate units. 
  • Helen quoted "If you can't change the people, change the people" which makes sense. All this talk on collaboration only works if the people are on board and in sync with the new approach. Communicate the direction the company is going in and the cultural shift it's making, and if people agree, they'll stay. Keeping people who don't want to make the necessary adjustments makes it counter-productive for everyone.
  • Programs and broader movements like DevOps, that drive collaboration are the ones to look out for, as they’re ultimately improving the efficiencies of your company and facilitating a more productive working environment and overall workflow.
  • The willingness to fail and talk about failure is a positive thing, and harnesses an honest relationship between all levels of management. A company must adopt this forgiving approach in order for everyone to be accountable and learn from their mistakes.
  • Consistent communication is key to collaboration. Having that open dialogue at all times keeps everyone in the loop. Former SAS soldier Chris Ryan reminded us of the importance of constant communication, even at the worst of times. Avoid the assumptions and have the conversation.

A very fitting quote I heard was this: “Sharing is not against the rules, it’s the default.” This means knowledge, ideas, opinions, constructive criticism, and so on. A collaborative approach can be supported by tools, but also your own leadership style. Having that willingness to work together in a supportive environment makes the entire process more effective and results driven- out of desire, not expectation.