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I’ve been in software development for a long time, and I’ve seen countless companies try to automate their processes. Some were successful, while others weren’t. The difference was that some didn’t have an end goal when they started automating—they just wanted to “do more with less.” But if you want to scale your software development processes, it’s not enough to automate things; you need to know what those things are to create good metrics against which you can measure success or failure. Here are my top tips for scaling your software development processes.
Make sure you have the right tools
Your tools are nothing if you don’t have the right tool for the job.
The Docker hub is an excellent example of a platform that can solve many problems, but only if you know where it fits into your processes and expectations. Consider whether or not this platform would suit your needs before committing to it as a solution.
You may also want to consider how much time and cost goes into maintaining your tools. Accessing cheap and easy-to-use software can be attractive, but remember: cheap isn’t always better regarding software development. Make sure that whatever tools you choose will save time, money, and effort in the long run by ensuring they’re compatible with other systems within your organization (if applicable).
Automate wherever possible
When scaling your processes, automation is the key to your success. Automation allows you to scale your processes by doing more with fewer people and resources.
Automation will allow you to focus on the critical things in software development rather than wasting time doing repetitive tasks or manually performing tasks that don’t add value. This will help reduce mistakes and save time, allowing you to scale your software development processes further by taking on more projects at once without losing quality or efficiency.
Establish a central repository for all your software development processes
You should have a central repository for all your procedures, policies, and processes. This will help your organization scale its development process because it gives everyone access to all the information they need in one place.
For example, suppose you have established standards for implementing new features into your product. In that case, you can store those standards in a central repository so that anyone who needs them can find them easily. The more standardized your development practices become over time, the easier it will be to scale as new people enter or leave the company—and having the standards readily available will make this process much smoother than if they were buried somewhere deep within an obscure folder on someone’s desktop computer (or worse yet: handwritten on notebook paper).
Track what you’re doing, and get feedback from people using it
You should be able to measure your success and set goals. You need to know where you are with those goals, or else you won’t be able to tell if you’re on track.
You also need feedback from people using it: your users, stakeholders, and colleagues. Feedback will help identify problems or areas for improvement—and maybe even highlight areas of success.
You need to look at the entire DevOps lifecycle
The key here is a collaboration between development and operations. Rather than simply automating processes, you want a high-quality and efficient lifecycle from idea to production to support. This means that all steps in the process are working together, from requirements gathering and planning through testing, deployment, and monitoring.
Find ways to make it fun for everyone involved
Finding ways to make the process fun for everyone involved is essential.
Here are some ideas:
- Have a draw for prizes every week or month. The prizes can be anything—from small tokens like candy bars and pens to more oversized items like gift cards and movie pass.
- Allow employees to work from home one day per week (or more often) if they want to get out of the office and work on something new with other people in their group. This can break up the monotony of working all day in an office by adding variety to your team’s routine.
- Have a monthly meeting where everyone talks about their goals and how they will accomplish them. This can be done over the phone or in person, but setting aside time for this will help employees feel more invested in their growth.
In the end, scaling your software development processes is a lot of work. It requires a lot of planning and thought but also trial and error. Experiment with different models until you find one that works best for you. Remember to keep the people involved in mind—the more fun they have working together as an organization, the better off everyone will be.