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Optimize Your Development Lifecycle by Combining Agile and DevOps [Part 2]

By David Abramson | January 30, 2017
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Last week, we outlined the benefits of taking a hybrid approach to your development lifecycle by integrating DevOps and agile methodologies. In this second part, we’ll review best practices for successful development lifecycles using this hybrid approach.

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Defining the Lifecycle

The first step to successfully integrating DevOps into an agile framework is defining the product lifecycle. Before the development process begins, an organization should understand the length and requirements for each of its sprints, including builds, tests, design, and releases.

Defining the lifecycle before each project increases consistency, reduces cost by minimizing waste, and speeds up time to market. In fact, the most commonly cited tip for scaling agile is implementing consistent processes, according VersionOne’s 10th Annual State of Agile Report.

Once the lifecycle is defined, organizations can take a few other steps to successfully combining DevOps with agile, including:

Integrating UI/UX

Traditionally, design has been kept separate from the development and engineering processes and incorporated only near the end of the software lifecycle. The problem with this approach is that the UI and UX is not sufficiently accounted for throughout the process. This may lead to a UI/UX that is not intuitive or practical for your targeted end user.

Alternatively, development teams that gather user requirements are able to better understand their audience and design with that audience in mind—making them far more likely to create a quality UI/UX that increases user satisfaction. And by incorporating design into the agile framework from the early stages of the development lifecycle, the UI/UX can be continuously tweaked and improved throughout the process.

Including QA in Each Phase

Making QA part of the entire development lifecycle is another critical factor when integrating DevOps and agile.

When the QA team is involved with every step of the design and planning phases, they have ongoing input into how the product is being developed. In the true spirit of agile, continuous feedback from QA allows for improvements throughout the development process—and that feedback leads to higher quality software.

Leverage the Right Tools and Partners

Having the right tools in place is crucial for successfully developing software. Quality project management tools, for example, make managing the development lifecycle far easier for PMs. And as embedded analytics becomes increasingly integral for software products, partnering with a platform provider that allows developers to quickly build and scale dashboards and reports is also paramount.

Additionally, organizations that choose to outsource aspects of software development or leverage a third-party to advise on best practices should be sure to thoroughly vet potential partners. In fact, a recent CIO.com article listed not having a trustworthy partner as one of the top five reasons outsourcing projects fail.

If you’re looking for a partner to help enhance your application’s functionality, look for one that has relevant development expertise. For instance, since the Logi development team has already been through the process of integrating DevOps and agile frameworks, we’re able to offer advice and fill in gaps where your internal expertise may be lacking. We strive to not just embed into your product’s code, but also embed into your processes as well—whether that process is DevOps, agile, waterfall, or a hybrid.

Why It’s Worth the Effort  

Adopting an integrated development approach certainly takes some upfront resources and commitment. You will need executive buy-in, time to adjust to the new methodology, and possibly a reorganization of teams.

But the benefits far outweigh the efforts. Done properly, a hybrid DevOps and agile development approach enables:

  • Faster releases and improved efficiency
  • Better collaboration
  • More value into each release with less risk
  • Fewer bugs and faster fixes
  • Increased visibility
  • Higher user satisfaction

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About the Author

David Abramson has more than 10 years-experience in full lifecycle product development and management, from product inception through general availability. He has shepherded multiple analytics and business intelligence products, and has worked with hundreds of customers, both enterprises and ISVs, to support data-driven application implementations.

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