ChatOps is the implementation of chatbots to unify communication and collaboration. Through ChatOps every single member of a team will be aware of what the other members are working on. It is the logical next step in the evolution of communication among teams after email and IM.
Projects of today are developed at a global scale with millions of people as potential users, this means that teams are larger and often work in shifts or even remotely. ChatOps tools can also be integrated with other tools of monitoring, diagnosis, notifications, and data mining to make any team more efficient and focused.
Github opened to door to the adoption of this concept way back in 2011 when they introduced Hubot . Initially, it was developed as a way to automate their internal company chat room, today it is an open-source highly customizable chatbot with custom scripts and support for a host of plug-ins. Jesse Newland, principal product engineer at Github defined Hubot as:
“Putting tools directly in the middle of conversation”
The major advantages of ChatOps can be summarized as:
Automation: RepetiSStive manual tasks can become tedious and consequently prone to error. Automation of tasks frees up a lot of precious man-hours, which will increase the overall productivity of the team. This is especially valuable in incident monitoring and initial response. ChatOps ensures a seamless communication channel where everyone can be brought up to speed on what updates are happening and where they can help.
Visibility: With ChatOps every team member’s work is in full view. If your team is distributed with different shift timings and/or locations chatbots make the workflow transparent. This benefits CI as workers can focus their time on day to day without trying to find out who introduced what and when
There are plenty of powerful bots in the market which are customizable as and how your team functions as a whole. Some of the more popular ones are:
- Err- developed with python.
- Lita- developed with ruby.
Teams are always evolving to get faster, more productive and dynamic, ChatOps gives them tools to leverage their time. Through the integration of ChatOps platforms, you can have a unified communication channel where everyone can see what the workflow is. This is especially crucial in incident management as everyone can see the changes, fixes, and updates across the board.