At the start of 2020, Expleo’s global head of DevOps services Graeme Clarke champions the importance of collaboration in agile delivery. Discover his New Year tonic for releasing the tensions of software release.
The symptoms of software delivery fatigue are often easy to spot from the outside. Teams are testing too late in the delivery cycle and finding a lot of bugs just before delivery. The relationships between development and testing departments are at breaking point. Confidence in release quality has dipped. Firms spend a lot of time and money on regression testing. Customers are getting tetchy. Competitors are stealing market share.
For those on the inside, however, the signs are less obvious, as they are caught in the cyclone of rapid delivery. The good news is that they’re not alone. It’s an all too common condition. And the better news is that it’s fixable with a bit more collaboration.
What’s going on? The truth is that a lot of software development is still very traditional – and even among those firms that use the latest technology and tools. The development team develop the software and then hand it over to the testing team. The testing team find the bugs, but there’s no time to fix them, because the development team are already off on the next sprint, especially if the company is committed to working in an agile way.
The result is buggy software that goes out late, which in turn leads to relationship breakdown between the delivery and testing teams, who blame each other for scope creep and poor production quality. If the development team do make time for the recommended changes, then they fall behind schedule on the next batch, which means more late nights and more stress between the departments.
By taking a more collaborative approach to software development, backed by the latest tools and functionality to make testing easier, teams can save considerable time and money – and even reduce their stress levels. For example, by replacing cumbersome spreadsheets with time-saving automation, they can avoid inefficiencies caused by information duplication, miscommunication and wasted effort.
Escaping the whirlwind
As consultants, we meet some incredibly smart and hard-working people, who become so entrenched in what they’re doing from one day to the next, that they never have an opportunity to take a step back and do a proper review of the whole delivery lifecycle.
There may well be a straightforward remedy. Put code quality controls in place. Review your handover processes between the developers, testers and release engineers. Introduce a collaboration tool like Micro Focus’ Octane. At Expleo, we have partnered with Micro Focus to help clients better understand the full benefits of Octane in terms of delivering effective test management while supporting agile delivery and the journey towards DevOps.
Our one-day workshops are proving a popular and effective way to troubleshoot and find useful ways of improving collaboration. Honesty from an independent consultant avoids the potential spilling of bad blood between departments, while managers are often too ingrained or backed up to organise the workshop in the first place.
The New Year break offers the chance for a fresh start. My message to heads of software delivery and quality monitoring (and CEOs looking to manage volume) is that there’s no time like the present. If you recognise some of the symptoms of software delivery fatigue – or you want to fend them off – then schedule an independent consultation. This proactive resolution for 2020 will help add real value at the most critical junctures of your production lifecycle.