As companies race to outdo each other, faster time to market has emerged to be the ultimate holy grail. Collaboration and productivity are part of a relentless pursuit culminating in higher customer satisfaction and stable product releases. Software development as a practice always featured a changing facade, but the introduction of Dev Ops has revolutionized how organizations view the relationship of developers and operations. Let’s understand the role that DevOps play in Custom Software Development.
Most Software Development projects suffer from issues rooted in communication gaps and lack of common coding standards. While the developers make every attempt to improve communication standards between various departments, things fall through the cracks. The resultant damage not only sets back the project, but it also affects the viability of the organization.
Quick fixes don’t mend broken process. Comprehensive relook warrants a restructure of the ecosystem, rules to write code, mature process for unit testing, zero code duplicity, and other such measures are crucial to ensure the developers deliver a high-quality product ahead of time. Custom software development demands that DevOps frameworks bring the necessary dynamism essential to develop and release faster incremental changes throughout the software lifecycle.
How can you achieve both seamless solutions customized to specific needs and delivered at a fast clip? DevOps helps you bridge this insurmountable gap between effectiveness and speed, without compromising or sacrificing either aspect.
What is DevOps?
DevOps, as the name suggests, brings two very different but interlinked disciplines together. Development and Operations. You tend to achieve faster delivery times for your code when there is a seamless collaboration between the Development and Operations engineers. There is no strict guideline or mandate to drive the DevOps process, but the underlying philosophy is collaboration. Adopting DevOps automatically ensures a better communication flow between the stakeholders, specifically between developers and operations teams. Eventually, all are working towards a common goal: to produce better code faster and meet the customer’s specific demands.
DevOps and Custom Software Development
Custom Software Development is all about catering to the specific needs which are unique to a business. The custom part helps that business either move faster or cater to an aspect that is not possible to address in a convention COTs application. DevOps is uniquely positioned to support this narrative. DevOps helps in streamlining multiple aspects of the entire SDLC. Through automation, it optimizes the throughput. Developers can get faster feedback, and the Operations team can build and tear down environments at lighting speed to aid the development team’s release cycles.
Developers apply continuous testing at each stage through automation, ensuring a significantly more robust code emerges out of the pipeline. Addressing smaller chunks of errors enhances the overall efficiency of the project. It bodes well because the end customer can also interact incrementally and doesn’t have to wait very long cycles before they can opine on the results.
Key Features of DevOps
The change in mindset and cultural shift is critical to the successful adoption of DevOps. Teams with varied skillsets need to come together. Some key features that make DevOps unique in its adoption and implementation are as follows:
Firstly, software development as a process is never monolithic; it’s always a summation of effectively written but independently coded blocks coming together and interlocking like an elaborate jigsaw puzzle. DevOps help in creating discrete iterations. When we breakdown a project into smaller sections, subsequent code freezes are also reduced in size. The iterative process also allows Testing to be a continuous feature, and it ensures that the application meets the functional requirements. It also guarantees the optimality of the app’s performance.
A single discontinuous stack of project code can be susceptible to the winds of change from swaying budget cycles to changing priorities. DevOps allows incremental development, which counters these forces and will enable engineers to build a robust product in a stepwise manner.
DevOps brings in automation at every step, which is feasible to be automated. Speed is crucial for success. Therefore, automation tools enable engineers so they can leave the repeatability aspect to the software. One-click deployment and automated regression tests, supplemented with self-monitoring tools, help complete the feedback loop with the results of such tests submitted to the developers for corrective action.
All this is done without actively involving operations engineers or QA personnel. This is what helps improve the time to market aspect.
Seamless collaboration between developers and operations is central to the DevOps construct. Process and Tools allow DevOps to transcend beyond the communication challenges of traditional methods. This effectively translates into better build quality and faster CI-CD pipelines.
Advantages of DevOps in Custom Software Development
Organizations are picking up on DevOps, but most are still on their way in embracing full-blown DevOps. According to Statista, over 80% of respondents believed that DevOps is somewhat and essential. So there is a consensus. There are valid reasons to think about DevOps, and the benefits are apparent.
- Firstly, it offers better customer satisfaction and retention
- Improved business efficiency
- Fewer iterations translate to reduced costs
- Significant improvement in turnaround times
- More aligned to business targets
- Improved productivity.
- Lastly, it provides enhanced business agility
- Ability to release updates faster
- Better Collaboration
- More automation translates to fewer errors
- More automation translates to faster releases
- Ability to write effective code faster
- Better employee utilization.
Best Practices of DevOps Adoption
DevOps being a framework, it’s important to understand some of the outstanding best practices while an organization takes steps to imbibe it its culture.
Moving away from Siloed Approach
Move above and beyond the traditional channels of communications, which creates lacunas hindering operational excellence. Stop engaging in isolation and get over any challenges which discourage effective collaboration. The faster the flow of thoughts and communication, the more effective the team will be.
Don’t get drowned in the tooling debacle. Pick the ones which your team is comfortable with. There are choices from open source and commercial offerings. For example, Jenkins and Bamboo are popular choices that allow automating the delivery pipeline, right from build to deployment. The DevOps Tools stack is a crucial decision to make as it significantly improves your chances of success.
Focused on End Users
DevOps is a change of mindset and a cultural change for developers and operations teams. It also puts the end-user back in the center of the universe. Organizations that focus on customer satisfaction above everything else are the ones that succeed. DevOps helps to have companies drive obsessive focus on end-user experience, and DevOps helps them along the way to pivot quickly on requirements and deliver something more acceptable to the end-user and do it fast.
Organizations that continue to work in a traditional setup are only waiting to be relegated to history’s sidelines. Therefore, people need to evolve their approach to problem-solving and align with the best in class tools, techniques, and methodologies. DevOps in the Custom Software Development process allows space to collaborate, automate, and deliver strategically, which is not just pragmatic but sustainable. You are better placed to face the unpredictable and fast pace of innovation in a highly competitive software development space when making DevOps a central pillar in your software development approach.