Author: Divya Madaan, Associate Director - Testing Services
The Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC) has come a long way from operating in the sequential and silo-ed waterfall model to being agile and collaborative. To be able to cut down time-to-market and optimize costs the evolution of the software development processes was necessary. The new ways of working with extensive adoption to Agile and DevOps is the result of this technological disruption.
The agile methodology help teams to meet business requirements and implement application changes faster while DevOps tries to improve the efficiency of the entire application development process by automating the building, testing and deployment stages of the delivery pipeline, and streamlining both operations and development teams.
DevOps can be a complicated implementation and should be carefully guided by the best practices. Plethora of tools get implemented during the implementation of DevOps at various stages of the pipeline.
The major stages of the pipeline are–strategizing the building and branching of codes, source code management, containerization, deployment and management of containerized applications, choosing a configuration management platform to manage the infrastructure as code, monitoring the infrastructure to find and fix issues and dashboards for application performance monitoring.
Let’s now look at some of the best practices that are followed by the organizations to implement DevOps effectively:
Continuous Integration / Continuous Delivery (CI/CD)
The process of CI/CD forms the foundation stone for DevOps, which means constant integration and consistent testing to enable continuous delivery of the application. The secret of building a successful DevOps environment lies in how cohesively the individual processes of development and testing are implemented through tools to create a feedback loop for the project management processes.
Centralized Agile and DevOps philosophies
As Agile is the precursor to DevOps, centralization ofthe team/unit for implementing agile methodology and DevOps is one of the best practices that the organizations follow, as both the schools of thought must ride on each other’s strengths, in order to minimize redundancy and leverage the toolstack efficiently.
Automating the manual activities in the application development pipelines is a key contributor to implement DevOps as it helps to cut down cycle time and shorten the feedback loop thus allowing the teams to be more agile. Adapting to shift left testing practices and automating testing activities is an enticing and objective choice. Test automation allows teams to spot the bugs earlier and faster in the game, and at the same time reduce the regression testing cycle time exponentially.
The entire essence of Agile and DevOps is to create abilities in the processes to release new features to the existing applications fluidly and fast (unbound by the ‘release dates’ mindset of the waterfall model). To be able to implement this concept, it is pivotal to follow the ‘continuous deployment’ of code religiously. The code deployment process should happen in lean movements in an incremental fashion instead of pushing the entire code at once. And the tools available for the continuous deployment process (from staging to production) should be leveraged effectively to reach a juncture where no manual intervention should be necessary.
Governance through Metrics
Closely governing the applications to continuously optimizing the performance and keeping the feedback-loop quick, is one of the best practices that organizations follow. Implementing a reporting mechanism through dashboards with the purposeful capturing of the appropriate metrics, providing holistic and real-time insights is critical to the dashboards capturing the different graphs, logs and metrics. It helps to provide a holistic picture with real-time insights to keep the stakeholders informed and on the same page.
To successfully engineer the DevOps, it is acute to approach it as a cultural transformation as the teams need to leave their silos and work as one collaborative unit. Like any organizational transformation, stepping towards the goal incrementally with clear vision and strategy can make the process smooth and drive the organization towards success.
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