A devops team planning a sprint on their conference board - DevOps Principles
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One of the main benefits of remote working is the potential to attract high-quality talent from a more diverse pool of candidates. This is especially true for tech companies looking to stay competitive by recruiting top-notch engineers and IT professionals. 

2020 has seen a surge in remote work. A quick search in Google Trends revealed that 2020 has been the year for remote work. Nowadays, the number of companies that are open to remote work is growing, and this new, digital workforce has had an impact on DevOps.  

However, in the competitive world of software development, if remote work isn't ingrained into the company culture, the end product will suffer. With that in mind, we decided to ask DevOps professionals whether or not remote work is changing DevOps. 

Digital Transformation and DevOps

DevOps can be seen as a continuation of the Agile methodology. DevOps relies on the cloud to create environments and enhance developer productivity. Its drives digital transformation and enables the modernization and enhancement of both software development and business processes. 

Technology moves fast, and speed is a must for companies who want to stay current in the changing ecosystem. Thus, DevOps' main goal is to create a workflow that enables fast development with fast feedback loops. 

When asked about the role of DevOps in digital transformation, Sharmin Jassal, Director of New York, NY.-based Datadog, says that "the core of DevOps is digital modernization. Technology organizations need to move fast — building new products and features for those customers. It also means being able to be quick at finding and resolving issues."

From a DevOps standpoint, technology is meant to eliminate the numerous bottlenecks that come with software development. Without it, development couldn't move forward; yet, rushing to adopt technologies just for the sake of it, especially when it comes to enabling remote work could lead to subpar architectures and poorly followed best practices.

Related Article: 7 Key Principles for a Successful DevOps Culture

DevOps and Remote Work

The culture of software development is eminently creative. Building, testing, and deploying software requires a creative approach; however, the process is doomed to failure without strong collaboration. DevOps brings teams together, from concept to production, and enables them to work together toward the organization's common goal. 

For instance, when asked about remote work in the context of DevOps, Jassal says that "in processes like incident management, a capstone of DevOps, teammates need to work together efficiently, yet effectively, in order to solve business-impacting problems. Engineering teams need to work together to respond to incidents. The goal is to ensure that wherever teams are, they can easily share context and collaborate together."

Thus, the major challenge remote work poses is maintaining a proper level of collaboration. Remote work is almost impossible without cooperation between teams and systems. Without a foundation and infrastructure that supports operations, digital transformation is simply not possible. 

That being said, besides the necessary support and infrastructure that businesses need, there are certain things that companies require to operate safely in the dynamic, digital world. Christian Burne, CTO at Long Beach, CA.-based Oshyn explained that "VPN connectivity from home sites all need to be established. It is challenging to manage environments securely when you are remote, and that took a while to establish. Once established, though, it is mostly seamless. It also means that we are able to work effectively for more hours in the day."  

DevOps in 2021 and Beyond

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought new challenges to businesses willing to transform and adapt to the new remote environment. Yet, it has also brought opportunities for enhanced, cross-border collaboration. Development teams really thrive when they can work and collaborate together. 

The necessity for social distancing and separation between workers has become an essential part of the post-pandemic world and has accelerated the application of strategies to improve collaboration; but it's not an overnight process. For organizations to truly harness the benefits of the digital ecosystem, they need an improved DevOps strategy. 

Burne says that "the most obvious thing about DevOps in 2021 and beyond is that the final shift to doing everything online means that websites are even more important than they were twelve months ago. This means that being able to release features rapidly and reliably is critical. Having a mature DevOps means that website owners can do this with confidence in the quality of service to their customers and not be left behind their competition."

DevOps and the increased agility it has brought to companies can present an opportunity in the post-pandemic era. When asked about DevOps in 2021, Jassal says that "in many ways, a transition into more remote-friendly work helped prepare many companies for the transition into a world where suddenly everyone was remote. Many companies where DevOps drives daily work were already working to understand how best they could share information, collaborate with team members, without the extra burden, or time lost, context switching between products." 

With a strong DevOps strategy, companies will be able to deliver valuable software to the users quickly and with increased quality. In 2021 and beyond, DevOps won't only help end users but also impact companies and their internal processes. With DevOps' help, companies will become much more agile and cross-functional, making smarter decisions with fewer risks. 

Despite its devastating effects, the pandemic has brought a wind of change, calling for quick, bold action. DevOps has enabled and will continue to allow remote workers to do their best while staying connected and productive. Remote work represents an evolution of work, yes, but without the solid practices that come with a DevOps strategy, chances are companies and users won't be able to reap the benefits as much as they should.