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By Copy5 on November 21, 2021

How to Create a Single Source of Truth For Optimal Version Control

More companies are migrating towards permanent remote work with digital productivity devops tools or going global and this includes software development and DevOp teams.  Whether in the same office or spread around the thing for these teams is a given...and that’s the importance of version control.  It is critical that every bit of information and work that goes into software coding and development be tracked and managed with tools like Copy5 and it’s just as important that every team member has access to the changes and progression of the software.  It’s not as easy as it may sound, so today we’re discussing how to create a single source of truth for optimal version control.

                 Why is version control important?

All coding for the creation and modification of software must be tracked.  It’s important that all workflows are recorded so that each team member can see what other team members have done and worked together to make sure their individual work does not conflict with or contradict other work.   Version control also serves as a safety net when changes to coding don’t work properly or an error is made.  Remote work devops team members can go back to previous versions and make the needed corrections or start back at that point if needed.  The only way to ensure that all team members are working off of the same information is to have one source of documentation.  Learn how you can achieve this here

                What is a single source of truth (SSoT)?

A single source of truth, or SSoT, is a collection of documents that are stored in a single location that allows everyone in the organization to easily access these documents without having to search extensively for the correct and most up-to-date information.  This is especially important now with remote and global teams collaborating via digital means.  

You can think of it as the center of all knowledge.  The individual departments or teams of the organization are body parts.  Each body part has its own function, but every movement flows to and from the brain.  This center of knowledge allows all team members to function as one body, with the same information flowing between all functions. 

Some documentation you may see in SSoT version control include:

      1. Record changes
      2. Incident debrief
      3. DevOps run books
      4. Troubleshooting guides
      5. Hardware requirements/designs
      6. Source code
      7. Binary files
      8. Digital artwork

               The pros and cons of SSoT

Ensuring your team members have the most accurate information at their fingertips is obviously an efficient way to operate, but here are some specific pros for SSoT:

      1. It saves time not having to search for the correct document.
      2. It ensures everyone is using the most current information.
      3. Critical information doesn’t get missed in an email.
      4. Documents are not lost when someone’s computer crashes.
      5. Information is still available to everyone when the document creator is out.
      6. Team members in different time zones can access information at any time.
      7. Avoids useless work that occurs when someone is working off of outdated information.
      8. Reduces duplication of data.
      9. Reduces production time by allowing team members to share templates with others.
      10. Gives decision-makers a complete view of all information.

As with anything else, there are going to be some cons.  The cons are minor compared with the pros, but worth mentioning:

      1. People and/or departments prefer different software platforms for document creation.
      2. People are comfortable with the current system and don’t want to change.
      3. Some people may feel threatened by allowing others to see their documentation.

                How to create an SSoT

Organized documentation requires an organized process in creating a SSoT.  Here are some steps to get you on the right track:

      1. Gain buy-in. The first thing is to gain buy-in from the executive team.  They need to be behind what you’re creating so they can back you when it’s time to onboard the end-users.  A good way to earn their support is to involve them in the planning process.  Find out their concerns about how documentation is currently managed so you can address and include them as solutions in your SSoT plan.
      2. Identify data requirements.   Put together a cross-functional team so that you’re avoiding a silo viewpoint.  You’ll need everyone’s input on the requirements and nobody knows that better than the people that need access to the data.  This is also the perfect time to determine who will need access to certain documents by determining permissions.  This step will also help you gain buy-in from the end-users.
      3. Map out the data gathering process.  Break your data into smaller groups, narrowing them into more defined categories that can be benchmarked in more specific areas of operation.
      4. Create templates.  Creating templates will help with consistency.  It’s easier to view and maintain data and verify that it is current if everyone is using the same layout.
      5. Determine roles and responsibilities.  Once the data is collected and broken into defined categories, it will need to be maintained and updated.  Remember that this is a living document source that will need to be monitored for accuracy.  Therefore, someone...or many someones...will need to know that they are responsible for this important task.
      6. Monitor compliance.  An SSoT is not a one-and-done process.  People will get busy and the newness will wear off, leaving them with the tendency to slide back into their old way of doing things.  Managers will need to stay on top of it and make sure that it is being maintained properly.

Regardless of how and when you approach creating your SSoT, you should make sure you have a platform that will accommodate this structure along with all the other functions and tasks your company requires.  So now that you know how to create a single source of truth for optimal version control you’re on your way to a more efficient and productive workflow.

Get started with Copy5.


Published by Copy5 November 21, 2021