Thursday, March 20, 2014

Software Delivery Strategy For Your Business

Is it your business’s objective to release software faster with higher quality? Are you adopting agile methodologies in your application development and delivery? Do you want to automate your application deployment process? Then, you need a continuous delivery assessment.
Nowadays, a critical situation has arisen, where competitors use predatory pricing and hefty promotion to eliminate or weaken their competitors. For this reason, many IT businesses are thinking on “Software Delivery Strategy”. The continuous demand of software across the different verticals of industries led revolutionary changes in the software delivery model. That’s why the Software Delivery Strategy is alluring and has a wide recognition within both IT vendors and the company.

Continuous Delivery Assessment

The continuous delivery assessment enables project managers to evaluate their existing maturity level and develop a roadmap for implementing a robust uninterrupted delivery practice.
To implement continuous delivery with agility, you should focus on your software delivery strategy first, and then build a roadmap for it. In order to provide robust solutions, organizations are reconsidering their application delivery methodologies and investing heavily in their development process.
Businesses are busy in addressing their rapidly changing requirements to improve their quality products and services. Surveys on software delivery assessment show that Continuous Delivery implementation is one of the key drivers for many enterprises.
Major IT companies are adopting the Continuous Delivery model, because it not only removes the traditional obstacles but also automates manual steps. In addition, automating the manual processes will ensure fast and high quality application delivery.

Continuous Delivery Implementation Roadmap

Businesses are working with their IT experts that will allow them to design a roadmap towards an automated and integrated continuous delivery approach. Meanwhile, continuous delivery assessment enables the organization to determine the current maturity gap and assist the program delivery manager to focus on opportunities in their application delivery practices.

Here are a few recommendations:

  • Improve code quality
  • Use proactive development practices
  • Configuration Management
  • Version control
  • Unit and automated testing
  • Infrastructure provisioning technique
  • Application build, packaging and continuous integration workflow
  • Application availability and its performance
  • Modernization of the application environment
  • Utilization of patterns and adoption of automation tools
Businesses are following the continuous delivery implementation roadmap that enables them to gain a competitive advantage enabling rapid software development and greater penetration into the market. The roadmap brings innovative thoughts to market effectively while building justifiable cost and capital efficiencies.

Initiation

The first question that arises in our mind is how to start? You can find many books and references that describe the principles and best practices of Continuous Delivery. If you want to develop your own Continuous Delivery vision then the books and references can provide you with important theoretical knowledge in context ofthe current development and release environment for a large enterprise.

Structured Approaches to a Continuous Delivery Implementation

Below are structured approaches, taking you from the current situation to the realization of your vision.
Firstly, identify the potential changes – you must have a clear picture of your current business situation before taking any practice-oriented implementation initiative. Below are the few mitigating steps, which should be a part of your business plan to cope up with potential impact on your project delivery.
Here are 7 challenges for enterprises:

#1. Large, Tightly Coupled Applications:

Every enterprise needs to develop an application that aims to deliver unique value of their customers, which stand out in the mobile market. Yet, a very small percentage of applications at the infrastructure level are truly unique. The major threshold in Continuous Delivery is creating minute, incremental changes to your applications and services.
Development of a large and tightly coupled application must start from a small part each time. It not only helps the developers to pinpoint and remedy the source of errors and other problems such as compatibility issues, run time errors, slowdowns, but also it will streamline the Software

#2. Development Life Cycle:

A successful Continuous Delivery setup must follow the process of improvement through fast feedback and continuous support. Synchronizing the large applications will help developers to build, test, and deliver the best solution for the enterprise.
Application into Separate Modules: An effective software development process can only be possible with the use of agile development methodology with shorter iterations. Source code must be built for the specific environment so that the development, testing, and integration can be done separately for different modules.
As a result, the development professionals get more time to debug the changes. In order to deal with the pipeline projects, developers could fix the errors rapidly by incrementally break out modules of the application into separate components which could be built and deployed independently.

#3. Automate Development to Production:

A continuous delivery process requires the environment to transit a new application version from development to production. Identifying many manual steps that need automation during the development phases (Requirement gathering and analysis, Design, Implementation or coding, Testing, Deployment and Maintenance).
If your development needs more and more manual steps, this will stop you from being able to scale your Continuous Delivery execution to the anticipated number of pipeline runs. Therefore, it is advisable to automate numerous currently manual steps by using alternatives in your delivery process, or remove certain steps from the process altogether.

#4. Build a Favorable Environment:

Limiting your organization in terms of infrastructure will not work at all. If you have a limited testing environment, then there is a risk of obstruction during Continuous Delivery implementation. Furthermore, misconfigured or broken environment that have been changed by previous developers or testers are one of the leading causes of deployment failures. A dynamic pool of developers and clean target environments are required to run delivery pipeline projects. To tackle these challenges, you need cloud platforms, coupled with provisioning and configuration management tools that allow you to flourish and shrink the requirements automatically on demand.

#5. Release Management Requirements:

Let’s take a few examples for release management requirements like the a change ticket creation, placing the change on the agenda for the Board meeting, getting Change Board approval, and confirming deployment, which is very vital for Continuous Delivery of the project. It is right to say that necessity is the mother of invention and the origin of change management practices is based on providing assurance in quality and consistency during production. Experience from well-known companies that are proficient in Continuous Delivery indicates that traceability, excellence and consistency of releases can be achieved using pipelines irrespective of their change management practices.

#6. Scale Continuous Delivery Implementation

If you are running a large organization, then there will be many pipelines to manage as you scale your Continuous Delivery implementation. You have a different service portfolio that you are handling during Continuous Delivery implementation like different departments, different internal and external customers, different technology platforms, different development, and support groups.
Management and measurement of your Continuous Delivery implementation will be affected, when application defines its own custom pipeline. In the delivery process, every pipeline ends at a different stage. Therefore, it is hard to make performance matrix for successful implementation of the project. To simplify the process, a standard pipeline is needed that not only saves the time but also make the Continuous Delivery process agile. You have to create templates depending upon the variations across your service portfolio.

#7. Project Ownership and Security

Nobody will interrupt you while everything is running smoothly. But when pipeline stages fail, you will have to face many problems from the project manager and the customer as well. Therefore, it is essential that clear responsibilities must be in place to fix these things and get the delivery process effective and organized. The sense of ownership should be there with the owner (responsible person/team), who has to tackle the problems occurring during the Continuous Delivery Implementation.
There must be a visibility into the state of the entire pipeline in the different stages. Enterprises should provide a greater level of security for users or groups that will be defined by the admin rights; who can enable, disable, or modify the development and functional testing step.

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