Automation and Integration: Curing Your Context Switching Headache
This article highlights integrating Jira with Azure DevOps to support collaboration and solve the problem of context switching.
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In today’s hybrid-remote workforce, seamless collaboration is key for both cloud and on-prem environments across organizations of any size. With development teams under immense pressure to deliver results faster and under tight deadlines, the workflow needs to be streamlined, and tools need to communicate with each other.
Organizations are increasingly relying on SaaS solutions to empower their teams to remain productive and collaborative as the nature of work continues to shift. We need SaaS tools to communicate with each other, but the reality is far more complex. Development teams are often required to switch between platforms and ecosystems to do their jobs, which creates an unnecessary barrier to getting the job done efficiently.
However, it is possible and necessary to create efficiency with integrations where there are different teams working on different platforms. Let’s discuss the problem of context switching and then examine the power of integrating Jira with Azure DevOps to improve Agile practices and support collaboration.
DevOps Constraints With Context Switching
Context switching wastes time. For example, some developer teams prefer managing their work with Jira, while others prefer Azure DevOps. Non-technical users may also prefer Jira for collaboration and task-tracking. Each popular platform has its strengths: Atlassian’s Jira shines as an end-to-end project management platform for agile project management, while the primary purpose of Microsoft’s Azure DevOps is integrating DevOps processes into the overall product development lifecycle. Azure DevOps is not only useful for version control, but it also supports work item tracking, unit testing, and build and release automation. Because each platform has different strengths, individual teams within the same organization tend to prefer one tool to the other.
When some teams use Jira for project and service management, developers working with Azure DevOps often have to use both tools. Any time people are required to log the same information in two different places, you invite mistakes and rework. In addition to commonplace data entry errors, developers may miss critical requirement changes or escalated tickets if they aren’t constantly checking Jira.
On the other hand, Azure DevOps lacks some vital features for managing projects and logging service tickets, like a powerful search function, advanced reporting capabilities, and built-in roadmaps. Without the right tools, these teams will never be as connected (and productive) as they could be. Comparison pieces found in blogs, documentation, and forums make it seem as though developers have to choose between the two platforms.
But Jira and Azure DevOps deliver much more value when used together.
Jira and Azure DevOps Integration Makes Your Life Easier
If your organization, like so many, has a need to standardize your software development processes, you’re very likely implementing Agile methodology in development projects to support better the staff, which includes an extended list of job titles.
The reality is that software development is not limited to engineers, developers, and DevOps teams. The product development lifecycle can include product managers, project managers, IT administrators, system support staff, and product marketing managers. If you contribute in any way to continuously improving products, you are part of the product development process.
Various DevOps and automation processes can help streamline the development lifecycle, promote consistency, and ensure better auditing of changes for every production release. By integrating Jira and Azure DevOps (and there are integration tool options to help with this), organizations can optimize collaboration and ship faster by allowing teams to work within their preferred platform and create workflows such as these two:
Jira issues automatically create Azure DevOps work items for the developers to review, and Jira users can track where the request is in the development process. The developers, in turn, can review updates made to the tickets, such as changes in priorities, notes, attachments, and all other default and custom fields. The teams can communicate while working within their preferred platform, which greatly increases collaboration.
For Azure DevOps check-ins with Jira, all changes are initiated and documented in Jira, which includes all of the necessary information, discussion, and testing verification. When staff members provide relevant information on the change/feature that they need, developers then make and check in the changes under the same Jira ticket. The setup allows anyone to see both requests and solution under one unified view in Jira, which is critical in helping organizations to document, review, audit, and troubleshoot any changes made to production applications.
For countless organizations, teams choose their own preferred technology and processes, but that can often lead to a lot of context-switching, whether we’re talking about collaboration between development teams or when developers are interfacing with different teams across the enterprise, like sales and marketing. The hybrid workforce has only intensified the need for seamless collaboration, regardless of how, where, or when people are working. The good news is that efficiency and productivity gains are definitely possible, and they happen when we focus on breaking down silos and enabling work to flow.
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