Your team is starting a brand new project and they look to you, the DevOps engineer, for guidance. So you gather the stakeholders and the leads for a DevOps story. It might not always be a sound sprint as user stories go but as long as you keep them engaged, data storytelling might just be the fairy godmother for your happy DevOps ending.

Agile development is centered around the story, a developmental unit that can be interpreted in several ways. And as with the stories that were told since the beginning of time, they are a means of communication that will never run out of style. Think about all the stories your grandparents used to tell you and how much it impacts your day to day life. The agile user story does the same to your team’s day to day development.

Data storytelling is a cross between a few disciplines which includes data science, data presentation and data gathering. DevOps on the other hand is a support system for development that allows for complex production strategies. While different in nature, both these disciplines fit in nicely on the agile paradigm. In this article, we are going to look at how data storytelling can help in smoothing up requirements as it transitions from paper to code.

The Center Of Data Storytelling

Agile have been transformed by DevOps and it might not be too outlandish to say that DevOps have also been transformed by agile. The theory brought forth by agile methods comes to life when applied with agile. Feature developers, architects and DevOps engineers alike have continued to benefit from the partnership of two upwards trending mindsets.

So, where does storytelling come in? The quick answer lies on the stakeholders and how they view the projects. There has always been a level of disconnect between customers and developers which agile continues to try to bridge with the concept of product ownership. This layer of agile development provides a stopgap between the predatory world of business and the logic-driven world of technology. Developers are often surprised with how much projectile the product owners shield them from, especially since they are often the ones they have to bargain against when developing.

Product owners, are usually the ones that try to create the data stories and present these stories to all stakeholders and value generators. Since they have a central view of things, it pays to let them take the lead in logging the important events of production.

Agile Data Storytelling

At its core, agile is simply a mindset that everybody in the team will fall back on as they try to generate value. So how does one create data stories that would benefit the listeners and watchers? And how does one deliver these stories in a way that will keep the respondents engaged. And most importantly, how will the team use the stories to aid in development?

Data Storytelling For Humans

At the middle of the agile development storm, the product owner is often presented with two options. One, he or she could either create separate presentations for stakeholders and customers, then create a different presentation for the technicians. This approach, though somewhat an understandable choice fails as both in agile practice and in the basic principles of teamwork itself. Information compartilization is a valuable tool to reduce miscommunications and temptation to create preempted solutions. But, these are not the same information that are supposed to be in the data stories. Data stories are valuable information that are easily understandable to any person, especially those that have no technical knowledge.

The preferred option is to create data storytelling presentation outlying both sides of the fence. This means that the developers and testers should be able to grasp the value of the features that they are creating. While the customers should be able to appreciate the work done by the developers. It is often understated how the complexity of projects begin to be underappreciated under the light of the fancy features that are created.

Data Storytelling Tools

Agile practitioners have relied on tools for man management and for data related activities. These are common tools that are normally multifaceted. What this means is that they are versatile enough to adapt to different cultures of development. What is important is not only the familiarity of such devices a firm grasp on the level of understanding that the team has on the data that it produces.

There are a few tools out there that is ready to be used, often on the fly. These tools are usually intelligent, meaning they do not only hold data but they are functional as well. This function allows for the creation of data stories that will then be embedded on user stories.

Data Storytelling And Forcing The Hands Of DevOps

Even the most efficient teams will have a few miscommunications every once in a while. This is often true between product owners and DevOps engineers. This is because their roles are essentially opposite. DevOps works to support the team technically through architecture runways and other tools. On the other hand, product owners try to fit every last straw that it can on the camel’s back. These differences are often settled with a few spirited debates with reason prevailing as usual but would it not be nice to get rid these disagreements once and for all?

The reason why DevOps are often skeptical of requirements is because they worry about having to change runways too often. These processes are often expensive in terms of time and even of hardware in some cases. The best way perhaps to ensure that the polarizing groups of people see eye to eye is through data storytelling.

Properly presented data that encompasses both the technical and the business requirements would allow DevOps to see exactly what it is that is going to happen. As the overseer of the entire production pipeline, it is incumbent for the DevOps engineers to make sure that the value that the development team creates lands safely on its way to the customers.