DevOps is one of those fancy words you hear a lot when you start building custom software. In an industry that is changing at a rate approaching the speed of light, it’s not the newest concept, but its many attributes have made it an endearing one. Even huge companies such as Amazon and Netflix now use this methodology to push code on their platforms thousands of times each day. Before DevOps, that kind of functionality would’ve been unheard of.
While DevOps has certainly created a new standard for building custom applications, this software development ecosystem can still be a confusing process for clients. What is DevOps and how does it look in practice? And most importantly, how will it benefit your business?
DevOps: Breaking Down Silos
At its core, DevOps promotes a culture of collaboration between the development (Dev) and operations (Ops) teams. Previously those who wrote the code and those who would deploy and monitor the code were organized separately and worked more autonomously. The Dev and Ops teams would have separate goals, separate leadership, separate KPIs and even different workplaces. This caused a lot of dysfunction, especially for larger teams and bigger projects. It made it much harder to push code to production safely and then monitor for bug fixes that would need to be put back into the development pipeline. This in turn led to longer hours, failed releases and at the end of the day, very fed up clients.
DevOps brings everyone who is working on a project together, though. By keeping everyone on the same page, it stabilizes the work environment and allows automation to speed up and regulate the process of development, building, testing, deployment, monitoring and planning future development. This enables high-quality development to happen while not exceeding time or budget constraints.
Your DevOps Team
A team practicing the DevOps model of building custom software will be a more cohesive, collaborative unit. All team members are more aware of project progress and how their actions can affect their own team as well as the others involved in the release process. In some instances, the Dev and Ops teams are completely integrated into one single team, and the developers will work across the entire lifecycle from development to testing to deployment to monitoring.
In other DevOps models, additional teams such as QA and security could be added to the development lifecycle, as well. The idea is that no matter who is required in the creation of an application, we take a holistic approach, yielding more transparency and visibility for all stakeholders.
DevOps teams tend to work much faster since they are able to automate what were previously slow, manual processes. They’re quickly able to respond to the evolving needs of end users and are able to deliver a high degree of stability and functionality to a platform.
Software engineers have definitely enjoyed the spoils of adopting DevOps for our projects, but using this environment also reaps several excellent benefits for clients interested in working with a firm experienced in building custom software.
Good Time Management
Through a culture that emphasizes open communication channels and visibility into each stage of development, DevOps teams are able to more fully capitalize on every minute allotted them. They minimize downtime and quickly resolve issues before they balloon into an obstacle that stalls the whole project. That’s because DevOps creates a faster feedback loop by optimizing the time spent traditionally carrying out manual testing.
When tasks come up that development teams haven’t planned for, DevOps makes it easy to quickly respond and tackle this work without causing significant delays. Previously, coordinating unplanned assignments between the Dev and Ops teams was an inefficient process to say the least, and it usually slowed down momentum and distracted everyone from the work we originally planned for. In a collaborative atmosphere, programmers on the Dev and Ops teams are able to easily communicate problems and address them together.
Going hand-in-hand with creating a development lifecycle that enables better time management, DevOps has made continuous code delivery a reality for teams around the world. Continuous delivery is the practice of periodically pushing small chunks of code in shorter cycles. This approach has several key benefits. Namely, smaller releases means smaller risks.
With Dev and Ops working separately, it was previously not possible to implement the automation features that make continuous delivery possible. In the old days, code releases were bigger and happened less often. Now? A DevOps goliath like Amazon will deploy new chunks of code on average every 117 seconds. This kind of quick response time means we can innovate and make improvements with ease.
Continuous releases lower the costs associated with custom development, as well. With this model, the hidden fixed costs that come with the primary release of projects no longer exist. Now, code is simply pushed as needed with little ado or friction.
The benefits of automation have already been touched on a few times up to this point. It’s such a game changer in the complex process of building custom software that it bears repeating. Previously, we didn’t have confidence in the code we pushed to production unless we took the time to do the manual testing. Testing could take a lot of time depending on the number of tests your circumstances called for. Before testing could be automated, it made sense to wait and push bigger chunks of code rather than doing the same testing many more times on smaller pieces. Bigger code releases, though, means bigger risks.
DevOps has allowed us to invest in automation and eliminate the tedious, repetitive tasks involved in testing and review cycles. We’re able to create reliable, standardized systems that work between both the Dev and Ops teams to support custom development and maintain velocity throughout a project’s lifecycle. Beyond just testing, at each stage in the pipeline, automation tools can improve productivity and yield more confidence in the product being built.
Another advantage the introduction of automation brings to the DevOps ecosystem is a faster feedback loop. An automated program monitoring for possible bugs in the codebase will be able to catch issues much faster than a human can, allowing Ops to coordinate with the developers to make fixes without loss of momentum.
DevOps streamlines communication between project stakeholders – the software engineers, architects, UX designers, project managers and clients – from the very beginning. From early on, developers will have knowledge of client and user preferences. Throughout the process, everyone will have a clear understanding of the product we’re working to create, and the risk of delivering something wildly different from the original proposal will be nil.
If a client does provide feedback that calls for changes to be made, these fixes can be executed without the timeline of the project suffering. Even while moving at such a higher rate of speed than custom software development used to occur at, we’re able to retain the same or higher levels of quality.
Utilize a DevOps Team for Your Project
Building custom software is not an undertaking that can be completed successfully without an organized approach and solid project management. DevOps has increased productivity and optimized the development process for teams of every size, and it’s not just the programmers themselves who have seen these improvements. Clients are also much more satisfied with the quality, reliability and speed associated with DevOps teams.
We’ve also seen how the collaborative environment fostered through a DevOps methodology has enhanced our service at Vice Software. We use a variety of tools such as Jira, Slack and GitHub to communicate, collaborate and stay organized throughout a project. We know we aren’t just building custom software, we’re bringing your ideas to life, and we want to make sure we are doing it to the best of our abilities.
To learn if Vice Software is the right development agency for your project, you can start by requesting a quote from us today.