With many options to modernize tech stacks and improve developer UX, it’s hard to know where to start. Consider starting with your Software Development Life Cycle. There are a number of opportunities that can provide quick wins for a development team without disrupting productivity and release cycles while saving money and improving developer experience and deployment times.
- Environment drift - Environment “drift” happens when there are differences between environments, such as production, development or staging , that are intended to be identical to ensure business continuity. When there are changes to an environment’s software or hardware configurations, and these changes aren’t documented or communicated, it can lead to errors. These errors can slow down development, raise security issues, cause data loss, prevent recovery efforts during a disaster, and cause available and redundant systems to fail. All of these issues have an impact on an organization’s bottom line sooner or later. In addition to being costly and risky, environment drift can be tamed by developing in a pre-production environment that shares the exact same configuration as production.
- Configuration errors - Configuration errors are errors in the system’s configuration settings and have become one of the main causes of system failures, resulting in severe service outages and downtime. According to the survey: Systems Approaches to Tackling Configuration Errors by Tianyin Xu and Yuanyuan Zhou of the University of San Diego “configuration errors incur high costs not only because of the urgency of resolving the errors and recovering the disrupted services, but also because they escalate the supporting cost of system vendors who are responsible for helping users troubleshoot and correct configuration errors.” According to VentureBeat, developers spend 20% of their time fixing bugs. Based on the median salary for a software developer from jobsite Indeed at $127,413.00, that’s $25,482 lost to software errors per developer per year.
- Time wasted waiting for deployments - Developers can only do so much testing on their local machines given that the software they are working on is designed to run on a massive cloud infrastructure. In order to properly test new code developers have to build and deploy containers to a pre-production environment where they can see how the software performs when integrated with services, most of which are developed by other engineers on their team. Organizations spend a great deal of money and effort in order to reduce this deployment time, however, they are fighting with a desire for increased automation (e.g. automated tests) that get added to the CI/CD pipeline, which in turn increase deployment times.
- Developer collaboration - one of the key reasons to deploy code faster is to test your software against components developed by team members. With so many software development teams in remote and global environments, improved team collaboration is a real opportunity to accelerate the SDLC and significantly improve code quality. By focusing on collaboration, developers in any location around the world can debug microservices together in real-time. In today’s world, the best software is created by teams working together to solve complex challenges, and the best teams are those that can collaborate effectively. In the Global Study The Costs and Benefits of Pair Programming, results of pair programming resulted in 15% fewer bugs than code written by solo developers.
In summary, eliminating environment drift, configuration errors, deployment time and improving developer collaboration are tangible and real examples of improving the software development life cycle. Not only will they result in efficiencies across development teams but can also result in significant savings for the organizations that adopt these practices.