Operable + Cog + ChatOps



Operable Inc. was started by two tech industry leaders and executives, Mark Imbriaco (CEO) and Kevin Smith (CTO). They co-founded the company on the idea that individuals in developer and operator positions (DevOps) need to collaborate more effectively while cowgirl/cowboy/cowperson coding less. Eventually, we built Cog, an innovative framework that brings the developer experience into chat.

The user’s pain points?

  • Difficult to onboard into a developer or operator team quickly because documentation isn’t kept relevant
  • Stressed out engineers by being on-call at horrible hours and feeling the need to fix sometimes nasty problems alone (ie. cowperson coding)
  • Knowledge transfer is difficult because DevOps team members work alone, sometimes remotely, and in an unshared environment.
  • Retrospectives lack clarity and auditability is poor because work processes are not consistently tracked

My role and responsibility

Lead Product Designer

Day-to-day, I worked directly with the CEO and CTO and was responsible for:

  • User research strategy and implementation (end-to-end)
  • Client and collaboration partner outreach and engagement through LinkedIn, Twitter, and direct contact (HPE, XMatters, Ansible)
  • Community engagement & outreach through events (Monitorama, DevOps Meetups, local Atlanta tech meetups) and through our public Slack channel
  • Sourcing of talent and potential partnerships (graphic design, product manufacturing, technical documentation tooling and tech writer)
  • Design and purchasing of merchandise (t-shirts, stickers, stamp)
  • Event planning and support
  • Blog content creation with a focus on user experience, needs, and worked on solutions
  • Full development of the corporate website (from whiteboard and wireframes through front end development production)
  • Management of external teams (graphic design, front end engineering, and tech writing)

Work and process examples:

  • Interviews with Kickstarter : We worked directly with the Kickstarter team and regularly checked in with their progress with Cog.
  • Interview series series with the Cog community.
  • Dribbble account with some graphic design examples.
  • Quick product presentation single page wireframes for discussion with the CEO/CTO and eventual development for our marketing page. (created in Sketch)
  • More to come!

Final product

Cog, the ChatOps framework for DevOps teams looking to collaborate in chat.

Cog helps fulfill many of the originally discovered user pain points.

  • Security : We built Cog with the knowledge that only certain people should be allowed to execute certain commands. We made this happen by building rules and permissions directly into Cog’s framework, which gives Cog’s administrators full control and visibility.
  • Observational Learning : By moving daily engineering work flows into chat, you allow for new members of the team to watch and learn on the fly.
  • History of Work : If a developer has a question or wants to reference something in the past, they can search the thread of conversation automatically stored in chat.
  • Auditable : This search capability also adds a developer-action paper trail that helps support audibility and learning.
  • Less Stress through Collaborative Action : Last but most important, development teams are never alone and can always ask for help, offer help, watch along as issues are fixed and features are pushed. By securely bringing their common workflows into chat, we allow teams to truly work together.

Design output

Here are a few screenshots, examples of the product development work for both internal and external use.

High Level Hosted Cog User Flow Diagram

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