For developers, collaboration goes beyond instant messaging apps or project management tools. Information gaps between departments, personnel, and operations support may exist, especially when developers have a big workload or are working on a complex code or project.
A newer collaboration model can help developers streamline their work and eliminate information silos that delay decision-making. A level up from older tools, ChatOps is also known as ‘conversation-driven collaboration’. ChatOps uses real-time chat tools and automation that promote easier instant messaging between developer and operation teams.
ChatOps is introduced to developer teams to boost collaboration and productivity. But how does ChatOps work? And what are some popular tools that your organization can use?
What is ChatOps?
Derived from DevOps, ChatOps uses chatbots that work with basic plugins and scripts. Imagine having a chatbot that provides real-time detection and execution of commands via API. Not only does it provide easier context, but the chatbot also helps optimize ItOps and DevOps.
So, how does ChatOps work? It uses three main components:
1. Collaboration tool
ChatOps works as an additional tool in the premise of chat platforms for team communication. Integrating the chatbot with the chat platforms provides the best feature from both ends for better collaboration.
A chatbot is integrated into a collaboration tool, such as a team chat app. They are configurable through custom scripts and plugins. These bots automate tasks, keep track of conversations, and remove information silos between teams.
3. System Integration
ChatOps works as a collaboration model that connects DevOps processes and tools within an organization’s communication channels. It integrates the existing work, personnel, processes, and communication.
4 ways ChatOps can help streamline dev work
The main idea behind ChatOps that makes its adaptation successful is the ability to take action right where the developers can communicate, bringing functionality where the team is most active. Some ways that ChatOps effectively streamline the developer workspace include:
1. Project and code-based communication
Basic chat applications may not provide the right context when developers want to discuss a project or a specific issue. With the integration of the right tools or pre-existing DevOps tools, ChatOps can extract and present accurate context.
The bot, the main part of the workflow, provides a centralized communication tool. From smaller commands, the bot can be used to automate repetitive tasks, incident management, and code deployment. Hence communication is code-based and interactive. Organizations can also extend chatbot capabilities and add security layers through customizable features.
2. Increased visibility
A ChatOps environment includes a notification system that alerts chat rooms when incidents occur. It boosts visibility for the dev teams and also across the organization. By providing a central view of tasks, files, and chats, other teams from sales or marketing can understand what's happening in the developer teams. Rather than hit the developer team with constant requests for data, this can be automated via ChatOps.
This way, any queries can be retrieved through the messaging interface. Information on a particular project or code can be derived from the ChatOps bot. This reduces the time spent on repetitive tasks and allows the developer team to focus on more important ones.
3. Improved communication and collaboration
The ChatOps workflow depends on the front-end messaging platform for connecting the employees and the systems around them. An organization may use open source messaging platforms or any off-the-shelf software.
With the right integrations and plugins, the chatbot can retrieve and post data on private and public channels, execute tasks, and be interactive!
This replaces any dull, repetitive communication and encourages dynamic and engaging collaboration. Taking actions or initiating workflows can be done via chat, through interactive messages, improving focus and collaboration.
4. Task automation
The ChatOps environment can be configured to pick up commands in real-time, execute actions, notify of any incidents, and so on. Start by automating smaller repetitive tasks, and move on to replacing manual execution and progress tracking.
In the case of incidents, the chatbot can be configured to create specific channels and add respective team members to help develop a solution. Channels such as bug fixing, security, and performance can be created or customized. Due to this automation of work activities, compliance and security become easier to manage.
More benefits of ChatOps
1. Improved efficiency
Without a common platform for developers and the lack of asynchronous messaging, there can be a lag between departments and teams on a particular project or work activity. Using ChatOps within your messaging platforms boosts efficiency by aligning communication with proper documentation and automation. It sustains a team culture of decision-making and removes communication barriers.
2. Efficient collaboration
Imagine not having to rely on manual scripts or documentation or inviting your team members for decision-making individually. The ChatOps environment uses product integrations that allow the bot to automate tools, deploy and test directly from the chat window. Any notifications, access, and analysis occur in one common platform and benefit developers.
3. Better knowledge management
A ChatOps workflow builds a cycle of learning and feedback. It also provides a knowledge repository by storing files, conversations, and other information and keeping documentation up to date. Anyone associated with the project can view this.
That way, it's easier for team members to contribute to project discussions. Information regarding potential issues is immediately notified, and the right team members can hop on with the updated information and get to a resolution straight away.
4. Rising employee engagement
ChatOps reduces the reliance on the dreaded emails for updates or requests within departments. Instead, all users rely on a chatbot to review updated information, tag team members, and devise solutions or strategies. This information-driven collaboration leads to better employee engagement, as there is a lack of communication barriers.
5 ChatOps tools to make your dev’s work more efficient
The ChatOps workflow includes the collaboration tool, the bot, and the product integrations. Choosing the right collaboration tool is the first key to successfully implementing and making the most of the ChatOps workflow. Some popular ChatOps tools include:
Rocket.Chat is an open-source instant messaging platform that allows organizations to host chats on their servers. Emphasizing security with end-to-end encryption and multi-factor authentication, enterprises get a complete hold of their data security.
Rocket.Chat offers audio, video, real-time chat, screen sharing, and file sharing. Unique features such as real-time message translation, a diverse range of communication channels, code customizations, and so on can be availed.
Rocket.Chat enables successful ChatOps implementation with secure, effective integration.
Mattermost is a self-hosted, open-source Slack alternative for team communication. It offers real-time messaging, audio and video calls, chat search, file sharing, and threaded conversation. Mattermost allows open-source customizations and enables enterprise-grade collaboration within the platform. It is secure and adheres to strict compliance measures.
Of the rich ecosystem of third-party integrations Mattermost offers, chatbots are an option to avail. ChatOps with Mattermost can be a secure, collaborative and effective integration.
Element is a feature-packed, open-source messaging platform. It has end-to-end encryption and is built on the Matrix open standard. It includes real-time messaging, file sharing, third-party integrations, moderation tools for channels or communities, and the option to deploy it on-premise or on the cloud.
Creating a ChatOps environment with Element provides the features of an open-source, fast messaging platform with the ChatOps workflow.
Hubot is a chat bot integration for your collaborative platform. Written with Coffeescript on Node.js, once synced with other chat services, Hubot can be used to automate tasks. The core script includes commands to translate languages and post images. The bot can be integrated and configured with custom integrations for personalized commands and automated tasks.
It is an open-source platform with a community of repository Hubot scripts. It is easily integrable with Rocket.Chat, Mattermost, or Element.
Lita is an open-source chat bot written in Ruby. It uses a plugin system to connect to different messaging platforms. Getting the Lita bot up and running is similar to Hubot. Lita can be customized based on the organization’s needs and can automate time-consuming and error-prone tasks.
Rocket.Chat is an open-source collaboration tool that makes conversations between organizational teams collaborative and efficient. Through open-source software and integrations such as ChatOps, developers can access better methods for their DevOps workflow.
Rocket.Chat brings clients and customers, productivity, and smoother workflow onto the same platform. Integrating ChatOps with Rocket.Chat is a step ahead for developers to access all the required information in one platform.
Want to see how ChatOps can transform your Developer team’s work experience? Try Rocket.Chat for free, and customize with tools and extensions as per your requirements!