Agile and DevOps make Perfect Partners

A recent technology report came to a conclusion that won’t be a surprise to many of you. It seems Agile and DevOps offer more benefits when paired together at an organization compared to when they are implemented individually. This makes sense when considering DevOps grew out of a need for a better organizational structure for technology projects using Agile.

With the hopes of making your application development process more efficient, this article looks at the details of the report to find those actionable insights relevant to your software engineering organization. Good luck in your efforts!

The CA Technologies Report on Agile and DevOps

CA Technologies commissioned a study by Coleman Parkes Research to ask technology executives on how their organizations’ implementation of Agile and DevOps is transforming their business operations. The study’s lead conclusion noted that 81 percent of the surveyed executives feel Agile and DevOps are a vital aspect of their operational evolution. The study’s other insights also provide food for thought for your managerial team.

Over 80 percent of those surveyed said their organizations are currently using either Agile or DevOps. Still, only one-third of those senior executives felt either methodology was sufficiently implemented at their business. CA Technologies concluded that this highlighted a maturity gap needing to be fixed for those businesses to truly evolve their operations.

The Benefits of Mature Agile and DevOps Programs are Numerous

Companies able to successfully implement both Agile and DevOps all across their organization see numerous benefits according to the executives in the survey. Advanced Agile users are able to act on important decisions sooner than those new to the methodology. Experienced DevOps enterprises implement ideas 42 percent faster than those companies not using the organizational structure.

Adding DevOps to an organization already well-versed in Agile causes new business growth to increase by 63 percent compared to companies only doing Agile. Operational efficiency also improves by 41 percent. These last two conclusions from the study should be enough to convince most larger technology shops to combine Agile and DevOps instead of merely doing one or the other.

The survey also noted some of the leading factors preventing a company-wide implementation of Agile and DevOps. Security issues ranked as the top reason for both methodologies, followed by budgetary concerns, and the lack of integration tools. Organizational culture and resistance to change are also contributing factors.

Using Agile beyond Information Technology

The CA Technologies study also mentioned that Agile offers benefits to organizations that go beyond their IT department. Some of the surveyed executives noted their companies use Agile in the marketing (54 percent), customer service (53 percent), and sales departments (52 percent.) Finally, only six percent of the companies have implemented Agile across their entire enterprise.

Angela Tucci, CA Technologies’ general manager for Agile management summed up the survey’s conclusion. “Agile and DevOps practices lead to happier, more productive employees…which in turn leads to happier, more satisfied customers. And when Agile and DevOps are practiced together, the benefits are even better,” said Tucci.

When you need additional insights on the ever-changing software development world, come back to the Betica Blog. Thanks for your readership!

News from the World of Software Development – January 2017

Welcome to a brand new year and a fresh look at the latest news from the constantly evolving world of software development. If you are interested in checking out the stories from the end of December, simply click on this link. Leverage this month’s insights and information to help make your application engineering process more efficient and productive. Good luck!

The Cloud is making Software Engineering Faster

Software development teams are increasingly using Cloud-based services to produce new applications, make enhancements to current apps, and fix bugs at a faster rate. Collaboration with remote development teams and a new Features-as-a-Service (FaaS) API model for code reuse appear to be two of the most common use-cases for Cloud-enhanced software engineering. This growing trend was reported on this month in TechTarget.

The TechTarget article also covers the wider use of containers, something we also mentioned in our 2017 Trends in Software Development post. Tools like Docker, Vagrant, and others allow software engineering shops to leverage virtualization – either in-house or Cloud-based – to make managing development, production, and QA environments a more efficient process. Companies hoping to achieve a Continuous Delivery model are increasingly using Cloud-based virtualization as part of their methodology.

Cloud-based APIs and services – increasingly marketed with the FaaS moniker mentioned earlier – allow development teams to meet deadlines without having to “recode” the wheel. Code reuse has been in the wise developer’s toolbox for decades, and Cloud-based services simply make it easier. Amazon and Microsoft are continually adding new routines to their own publically-available Cloud-based APIs.

Componentization and microservices are two other ways development teams are using the Cloud to improve their software engineering process. Expect to hear more information on microservices in an upcoming blog post.

Tom Nolle, the writer for TechTarget, sums up this growing trend. “The most important impacts of the cloud on faster software development are being felt only now, and it’s clear that we’re heading for a true software revolution in just a few years,” said Nolle.

AI and Data Science are Important Skills for New Developers

Anyone interested in moving into software engineering, or current developers hoping to keep their skills up to date, need to ramp up their knowledge of Artificial Intelligence and Data Science. That is the opinion of an article published this week in InfoWorld. The IT magazine spoke with Jim McHugh, vice president and general manager for Nvidia’s DGX-1 supercomputer, to get his insights on the growing importance of AI in the industry.

The DGX-1 is largely used in deep learning and data analysis scenarios. McHugh feels the supercomputer and its employment of AI and data provides an example of how the process of writing software is being transformed. “We’re using data to train the software to make it more intelligent,” said McHugh. 

Part of the application infrastructure, like the interface and flow, are still coded using largely traditional methods. The actual meat of the app, however, uses data analysis to influence new feature sets. McHugh mentioned developers manage and curate the data while guiding the app through learning its new enhancements.

The influence of AI in the software development process is definitely an area to watch over the upcoming decade.

Stay tuned to the Betica Blog for additional insights and news from the ever-changing software development universe. As always – thanks for reading!

Implementing Continuous Delivery with Screwdriver

Continuous Delivery is the Holy Grail driving many companies to initiate Agile and DevOps programs with the hope for rapid software development, enhancements, and fixes. In a competitive business world, quality applications are a big differentiator between the top organizations and those merely treading water. CD helps enterprises manage their development process in a more efficient manner.

Screwdriver is an application from Yahoo that facilitates Continuous Delivery; the company recently released it into open source status. Let’s take a closer look at the software to see if its features make it worthy of exploration as part of your company’s CD program.

A Closer Look at Screwdriver

Offering scalable continuous delivery, Screwdriver is a tool well-suited for organizations with a widely distributed application infrastructure. Yahoo developed the app for its own array of internal applications. It is possible they are open sourcing it before the company is fully acquired by Verizon.

James Collins, Yahoo’s senior director of engineering commented on the tool’s major advantages. “Screwdriver handles over 25,000 builds per day and 12,000 daily Git commits as a single shared entry point for Yahoo. It supports multiple languages and handles both virtual machine and container-based builds and deployment,” said Collins. Enterprises with large development teams stand to benefit from the application as part of their own CD initiatives.

The application’s architecture is relatively straightforward. A front-end manages handles users input and receives status messages from the rest of the software. The back-end includes a stateless API, which controls and launches builds and other functionality. Docker Swarm is used within Screwdriver to manage environment clusters.

According to Collins, the three main benefits of the application are making deployment pipelines easy, optimizing for trunk development, and to facilitate change rollbacks. Yahoo wanted their trunks shippable, so they leveraged Selenium to handle automated testing as part of Screwdriver’s build process. In short, Screwdriver allows for the efficient management of the build process – an important component of any Continuous Delivery initiative.

Screwdriver has been in use at Yahoo for over five years and is a major part of the company being able to implement CD and DevOps. Collins feels the tool lets programmers fully control the state of an application’s production infrastructure – a key part of the company’s DevOps organizational structure.

The Future of an Open Source Screwdriver

Yahoo is still planning to make enhancements to Screwdriver. These include the storage of build metadata, improved metrics and reporting, system templates, as well as more detailed log analysis. All these features are expected to let companies better refine their Continuous Delivery processes.

With a great proprietary CD-optimized build tool, what prompted Yahoo to release the application to the vibrant open source community? It appears to be an act of charity with a potential benefit to many organizations hoping to implement Continuous Delivery. These companies need to fully explore what Screwdriver brings to the table to ensure they are able to stay competitive with the rest of the business world.

James Collins sums up how Screwdriver enabled CD at Yahoo. “Yahoo’s engineering has modernized as it has embraced Continuous Delivery as a strategy for improving product quality and engineering agility. All our active products deliver from commit to production with full automation and this has greatly improved Yahoo’s ability to deliver products,” said Collins.

Keep returning to the Betica Blog for additional news and insights from the robust world of software development. Thanks for reading!