Reducing rework and Deployment errors through release and deployment automation

Rework and deployment errors might be the two biggest causes of crossing the allotted time and budget budget limits of projects, not to mention the resource starvation caused due to mismanagement of changes.  Hence it becomes a big priority to focus ample attention on this aspect and work towards minimizing them.

Reworks and errors are definitely not disjoint with the risks taken in due time. Risks taken with a good background check can come a long way in improving efficiency, in other words, reducing errors while saving a substantial amount of man-hours and infrastructure resources. But taking risks do come with their own headaches of increasing errors, and hence rework. A simple graph depicts a relation among various factors associated to taking risks.

What is needed is to strike that sweet spot on the graph, where defects as well as competition due to failures are kept in a check.

Keeping a check on things

Time

What good is a project that cannot be completed in time. Loss of time means loss of opportunity. To release faster you must manage risk in a way as to deliver quality while drastically reducing the risks involved.

One way of doing this is to improve the efficiency of the testing. Also, modifying the test process completely to suit the project can also do wonders to amount of rework needed and to the deployment issues.

To deliver earlier, without hurting quality… you need to lower your Risk!

Risks due to change 

  • Building the wrong thing.
  • Defects.
  • Deployment errors
Risk moderation
  • Feedback
  • Testing
  • Consistent deployments

Changes and Deployment :

A project goes through various phases in a development environment, from an idea, to a feature set to a final product. Throughout its life in the development process, it takes serious amount of resources to ensure that development stays on track. And generally this is not as easy as it sounds. Change management is the process that defines how to incorporate anything new to an existing piece of code. The quality of products of a company, and thus its reputation, is a as good as the procedures followed by it. Hence it becomes extremely important to achieve a management procedure that not only keeps a check on the amount of resources spent on a specific feature set, but also that it works and integrated perfectly with the rest of the under-development pieces perfectly.

 

Deployment needs to be automated!

A big boost to the deployment process come from what is known as Continuous Deployment.

Continuous deployment can be thought of as an extension of continuous integration, aiming at minimizing lead time, that is the time elapsed between developers writing one new line of code and this new code being used by users, in production. It forms a integral part of Agile procedure.

To achieve continuous deployment, development teams rely on infrastructure that automates and analyzes  the various steps leading up to deployment, so that after each integration successfully meeting the release criteria, the live application is updated with new code.

The main benefits of continuous deployment arise from reducing the lead time, with two main effects.

  • Earlier return on investment for each feature after it is developed, which reduces the need for large capital investments.
  • Earlier feedback from users/testers on each new feature as it is released to production, which gives a chance to choose what the users prefer using parallel (or A/B) testing.

There is a substantial decrease in production costs owing to the fact that continuous deployment utilizes extensive instrumentation to ensure that new functionality does not result in failures and incidents for the users.  For this reason, continuous deployment relies heavily on infrastructure specifically madeto ensure that any futile changes that couldn’t be taken care of by the automated tests can be reverted back, thus restoring the stable state of a product.

What Helps?

DevOps

It is the enterprise capability for continuous software delivery, enabling clients to seize market opportunities and reduce time to feedback.

Accelerate software delivery: For faster time to value.

Balance speed, cost, quality and risk: For increased capacity to innovate.

Reduce time to customer feedback: For improved customer experience.

 

To sum up:

  • Sharing of culture, tools and practices are core to DevOps.
  • Perform realistic tests, as many as possible.
  • Early integration testing made possible by use of virtualization.
  • In order to win, innovation at high quality needs to be delivered.
  • Minimize risk by getting faster feedback.
January 14th, 2014|Strategy|