Impact of Remote Work on DevOps and Development

The new normal of remote work is here. While the option to work from home was available at many organizations before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, this way of working has become a forced reality in certain industries. Lockdown restrictions are starting to ease up, but many companies are still enforcing or allowing their teams to work from home full- or part-time.

Luckily, technology has made remote work possible to stay productive and collaborative in this environment, but it’s not without impact.

Honing in on tech teams specifically, let’s look at how remote work has impacted DevOps and the work of development teams.

New DevOps Trends
DevOps 2.0
Many technology organizations have already discovered the power of DevOps and are reaping the benefits of high performance. For those that are deep into their DevOps initiatives, we are seeing a new shift happen due to the impact of increased remote work. There is a trend towards DevOps 2.0 — a revision of DevOps initiatives for companies that already have a complete cloud-native DevOps program in place. As the way of working shifts and new paradigms are established, organizations need to expand and redefine their DevOps goals.

If an organization turned cloud-native four or five years ago, it is time they start updating to the 2020 version of cloud-native DevOps. Standards and technology have evolved, and so DevOps teams must look at evolving in stride.

There is a re-defining, re-developing and re-platforming of DevOps going on currently.

DevOps for Firmware
Another interesting trend happening in DevOps is around firmware. Firmware provides its own set of challenges during this time because two factors are involved — hardware and software. The process of doing DevOps and continuous integration (CI) or continuous delivery (CD) for the firmware developer looks vastly different today.

Linking the integration environment onto hardware devices is typically done when everyone on the team can sit together in a room, hand the devices around and a developer can put the new firmware into that device. This is a tried-and-true process, but that physical passing of a hardware device between team members often isn’t possible right now.

We are now seeing circumstances where a firmware developer takes a hardware device home with them. However, sometimes this developer is not the one who normally flashes or updates the firmware. How do we automate that whole process of getting the firmware onto a device that’s under development and test? This is important because QA engineers and beta testers need to be able to work with updated firmware that has the latest bug fixes and features. New DevOps processes when combined with OTA firmware delivery capabilities can make updating development devices with new builds a possibility.

Remote work has made its impact on DevOps processes, now let’s examine its staying power and influence on the future of development work.

Work from Home Forever?

With many business and technology professionals now working from home full-time, it begs the question — will anyone want to go back to the office? While working from home offers certain freedoms and perhaps more relaxed routines (no rush hour headaches, for example) many workers are ready to go back into the office, at least part-time.

Working from home has given DevOps and automation teams reason to find solutions to some of the challenges (collaboration, work processes, firmware delivery, etc) that remote work causes. Now that some of those obstacles have been resolved, we may see more work-from-home policies stick, giving technical teams the option to at least work from home a couple of days a week.

However, as a manager of development teams myself, there are a lot of people who are really itching to get back to an office.

The Office Appeal

Now that new routines have been established from working from home for at least several weeks, what is the appeal of coming back into the office? The answer — mostly social reasons. On the one hand, most people have proven that they can work from home and keep up on their daily tasks. Also, many have realized that meetings originally thought to only be effective in-person can still be effective virtually.

At the same time, though, there is growing mental fatigue of all the online meetings and chat app messages flowing in since a quick knock on a door to ask a question isn’t an option. Hopefully, when safety permits, there’s a happy medium where we can reap some of the advantages of working from home and still have regular opportunities to meet and be physically present together.

Final Thoughts

There is no denying that COVID-19 has impacted the way work is done — potentially on a permanent scale. But technologists especially have proven how adaptive they can be and can flourish in change quickly. While the future of work is still unclear, at the very least, teams have proven they can be productive and motivated from anywhere.

It will be interesting to see what the future holds and what other adjustments or trends take form.

We’ll be ready when they do.

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