DevOps and Information Development
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We discussed in my previous blogs that DevOps is a culture requiring the orchestrated functioning of multiple stakeholders in an organization – development, operations, user assistance, and customer relations, to name a few. Today, I dwell on the role of information development (ID) in the DevOps orchestra.
As we know, DevOps is best suited to situations where the need to respond to customers quickly manifests itself in the continuous delivery model. There are two kinds of changes that this software development cycle implies – modifications in product features, and amendments to related information development artifacts (online help, videos, tutorials, and reference articles). In the former case, customers need to understand the changes as they happen. What are the new features, and what features have been modified? The second is to proactively assist the customers with the new features. So if you are willing to incorporate feedback on products quickly then you should be willing to incorporate feedback on the ID artifacts just as quickly.
All this demands the same level of flexibility and productivity from ID teams as from development and operations. The life
Incremental updates also bring in the need to make online help units as modular and granular as possible. DITA assists in implementing and delivering isolated changes to the technical information. Information architects anticipate the possibility of change, and design document structures flexible enough to accommodate anticipated changes.
Information developers also maintain real time connections with development teams. In fact, given that quick responses are critical, connecting ID with customers directly keeps the layers in the customer response chain minimal. Customers using online help or tutorials have their queries resolved, and their requests for changes in ID artifacts addressed speedily.
Above all, what DevOps implies is a great deal of transparency and collaboration between development, ID, operations, and all other players. Release schedules and manifests (with what is expected to be released when), development plans, operations schedules, and ID requirements, are made available to all so that there are no surprises or last minute push-backs. The end result of adopting the DevOps culture is recognition by all teams, including ID, that software development lifecycle is dynamic yet adaptable and responsive.