How to Scale DevOps Without Compromising on Software Quality

Software development has been one of the hottest industries to work on for the last few years. The attractive pay scale, challenging opportunities, growth aspects and demand from companies and businesses across the world have captivated professionals to venture into the field of programming.

As of 2018, there were over 23 million software developers across the world. It is anticipated that the number would reach 26.4 million by the end of 2019 and hit an all-time high of 27.7 million by the year 2023. Besides, there are over 100,000 IT and software companies in the United States alone.

Despite all these high statistics, what remains a common problem across the world when it comes to software development is the time taken to complete a project. If you’re in the field of IT services, you would know that a lot of things go into the development of a program and that there are tons of concerns that consistently arise through the course of the development duration.

Challenges in Software Development

At GoodFirms, a survey conducted across 150 companies revealed that on average, it takes around 4.5 months for a company to complete a software development project. Besides, they also pointed out a few crucial challenges faced by developers and project managers. These include:

  • Constantly changing project requirements from clients
  • Finding the right talent for development projects
  • Understanding the requirements of clients
  • The Continuous and steady performance of developers and more

All these points to only one major concern – delays in project completion. Neither a client or a vendor would like delays in projects. That’s where the need of a perfect mechanism of operation comes in.

The Need for DevOps

The strength of DevOps lies in its speed. While there is the agile method that is equally powerful when it comes to project completion and scaling up, DevOps when combined with integration and automation will allow you to release code every week.

However, it is the same swiftness that lands project managers in trouble. When you’re opting for DevOps, you need to ensure quality and quantity without compromising on time. This is crucial when you’re working with a medium to large corporations, where there are just about enough developers to get things done. That’s why you need to find out loopholes and identify quality assurance challenges when scaling up your DevOps framework.

To help you get started with this, here are a few quick tips on how you can maintain quality when scaling up DevOps.

Minimalistic Interface/Software

You can win half your battle in scaling up DevOps by keeping your software simple and minimal. This can be achieved by working on a simple, user-friendly interface framework. You can opt for testing tools that instantly detect if there are any repeated functionalities. If there are, you can eliminate them and pave the way for a cleaner, smoother software.

Controlled Rollouts

Controlled rollouts refer to the release of updates to a sample set of customers or users. You then study and assess the support calls you receive for feedback and work on fixing the bugs. Once fixed, you can step up and plan an official rollout for all the users in your database.

However, the math should be done right. This means your sample size must be healthy to get quality feedback else the entire drill would be futile.

Keeping Your QA Team on par with DevOps

While controlled rollouts are great, you cannot follow the same procedure for all types of software you are working on. An entertainment or productivity-based software can make use of controlled rollouts, but when it comes to the finance and banking sector, you cannot prefer controlled rollouts.

Imagine software on online trading going blank for a few seconds. It’s a loss of money for your users. That’s why this system fails even for the smallest of sample sets.

In such cases, you need to work on modifying your QA processes to meet DevOps standards. Areas like testing and test automation need to be reworked in terms of processes and workflows and make sure any change relating to the business requirement is tracked and implemented in the final codes of the project.

Continuous Testing and Test Automation

Testing is key in DevOps. While manual testing should be done occasionally, you should apply test automation frequently. When you’re exploring DevOps for your operational needs, you would understand that there are tons of applications for test automation. You can use both open source and paid tools for test automation.

While you can start with the free ones depending on the size of your establishment and scope of the project, you can eventually move to a paid tool as your requirement increases. Set your parameters and metrics straight and stringent and define the goals of your tests and tie them back to their impact. If your tests show a 99% pass on ancillary functions, but fail by 1% at core functions, your testing stands as futile.

Developing with Users in Mind

When your developers are introduced to DevOps, they would naturally get driven by the checklists DevOps throws at them to build good software. So, they tend to focus on meeting these checklists moving away from their primary goal – to develop software for end-users. It is always important to develop software keeping in mind the end-users. The more your software is optimized for users and functions at solving their concerns with minimal efforts, the higher your software quality would be.

Meeting Coding Standards

There are international standards set to assess software quality. For the uninitiated, the benchmarking standards are set by the Consortium for IT Software Quality. When you’re scaling DevOps, it helps to keep the standards in mind and operation. For this, you need to implement quality coding practices in your organization. For instance, you can work on enhancing your architectural standards, keeping an eye on dynamic coding, buffer flows, loop computations and more. These good practices will allow you to maintain good software quality when scaling up DevOps.

So, these are some of the most effective recommendations to maintain software quality when scaling up DevOps. If there are other techniques you can think of, share them on your comments. In the end, it’s a quality product delivered at the right time that matters.

About the author

Hardik Shah

Hardik Shah works as a Tech Consultant at Simform, a leading custom software development company. He leads large scale mobility programs that cover platforms, solutions, governance, standardization, and best practices. Connect with him to discuss the best practices of software methodologies @hsshah_.

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