Jan. 11th, 2017

The Ultimate DevOps Tools Ecosystem Tutorial - Part 2: Planning

The variety of tools for DevOps keeps growing, as “shifting left” and “going agile” are becoming more widely adopted work processes. To assist in organizing and choosing the right tools for the right needs, we started a series covering the top tools and their pros and cons. The tools are divided into the five stages of the work cycle: Plan, Develop, Test, Release and Operate.

 

This is part 2 of this series, and it will cover the “Plan” stage. Part 1 was an introduction to the work cycle, and part 3 is about the "Develop" stage.

 

Planning is the initial stage, and it covers the first steps of project management. The project and product ideas are presented and analyzed, in groups, alone or on whiteboards. The developer, team and organization decide what they want and how they want it, and assign tasks to developers, QA engineers, product managers, etc. This stage requires lots of analysis of problems and solutions, collaboration between team members and the ability to capture and track all that is being planned.

 

You can see the complete DevOps Ecosystem infographic here:

 

DevOps Ecosystem infographic

 

Here are some of the top tools for the planning stage:

 

Assignment Tracking and Management - JIRA, Confluence and CA Agile Central

 

JIRA is a tracking tool, which offers Kanban-style, Scrum or fully-customized boards that show the progress of each task, the task assignees and their development. By using JIRA boards, managers and team members can reflect on the status of different assignments, identify work bottlenecks and monitor development progress as a whole. JIRA is also helpful for bug management.

 

JIRA can be complemented by Confluence for optimized assignment management and analysis. Another recommended tool is CA Agile Central, which provides feature tracking and team management abilities, as well as the choice between Kanban, Scrum or customized dashboards.

 

Pros - all tools are easy to work with and enable teams to be in sync

Cons - free open-source tools are sufficient for small teams

 

JIRA Dashboard (Kanban style):

 

JIRA Dashboard (Kanban style)

 

Chatting and Instant Communication between Teams - HipChat and Slack

 

HipChat and Slack are team communication tools that enable developers, product managers and any company member to chat and share screens. These tools enable personal messaging as well as group chats, channels or flows. Creating groups dedicated to different projects makes them ideal tools when instant communication is needed while working on assignments.

 

Pros - bothl tools are user friendly and visually pleasant

Cons - On Slack, group messages are sometimes hard to track

 

Opening a Slack channel:

 

slack channel

 

CA BlazeMeter team additional recommendations

 

In addition to the aforementioned tools, you might also find the following useful:

- Mixpanel and Google Analytics - for measuring mobile and web user engagement. These tools assist you in characterizing user behaviour and user flows in your system and analyzing them. This helps you determine which features need to be added and/or fixed, and how. They can be used for A/B testing different features as well.

- Aha! - for product roadmap planning. With this tool you can build a roadmap, create features, distribute tasks, grade tasks and prioritize. The planning work starts with this tool, which can then be integrated with JIRA (see above).

Choosing the right tools is crucial for ensuring the primary stage of development, i.e planning, provides a strong base for the rest of the process. You will keep going back to this stage and using these tools, so make sure you choose a tool that best fits your own needs.

Next time we will go over tools from the development stage, and we want to hear from you. You’re welcome to write your recommendations for tools in the comments section, and we might include your quote in the next posts!

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