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Shorten Your Product Life Cycles with DevOps

1600 1068 Parkar Consulting & Labs

Technology has benefited society in many ways; however, it has also created an expectation of instant gratification. This presents challenges for business leaders to develop products that meet customer demands — before the competition does. Being first to market as well as being able to ramp-up production quickly to meet demand can mean the difference between product success or failure — or even company success or failure. But traditional linear product development methodology, in which developers wait until the end of the product development process to test and make changes, is quickly giving way to the more agile DevOps approach. This development process integrates testing and improvements into every step, which can accelerate time to market and reduce development costs. If you have not yet moved your company from a traditional software development approach to DevOps, you’re likely losing out on some tremendous benefits.

The DevOps advantage

As today’s savvy IT professionals know, operating under a DevOps model can significantly accelerate product life cycles. What they may not truly understand, however, is why acceleration is important. By the time a new software project approaches completion and release in today’s rapidly advancing technological climate, that “new” software may have already become antiquated. Or perhaps users’ needs will have changed. That can require scrapping or drastically altering entire projects, creating significant delays in time to market, wasted resources, and low-quality finished products.

On the other hand, when developers work closely with operations team members to continually test and monitor, they can correct software mistakes and improve upon defects well before project completion. With the DevOps model, customers can offer insights and request changes at any time during development. It’s a collaborative approach that fosters increased customer satisfaction and reduced frustration among development and operations teams. DevOps also promotes healthier inclusion among team members, improves business agility, and produces better results through continuous testing as well as continuous release and deployment cycles.

Implementing DevOps

Implementing DevOps for your software development operations can provide great benefits, but it is not an easy task. One of the major obstacles most company leaders face is building an effective test environment. It’s also one of the most important keys to success. DevOps personnel require a framework in which they can simulate and test applications in real-world scenarios. The experts at Parkar Consulting & Labs understand that need. They have developed a test automation platform to help company decision-makers trial diverse applications to optimize and bring them to market quickly while keeping costs low. The result was the TEAL Test Automation Solution, an extensive plug-and-play solution that automates manual testing processes.

What Is TEAL?

TEAL is a DevOps test automation suite backed by Parkar Consultants’ years of experience. An open-source plug-and-play tool, TEAL allows developers to complete projects in weeks, rather than months or years, significantly accelerating time to market. And, since developers can integrate TEAL into their current ecosystems for use with their existing continuous integration (CI) tools, return on investment can be impressive.

One Parkar client, a leading DNS provider for many Fortune 500 companies, is responsible for answering more than 25 billion queries per day. Their problem was, because they’d built their infrastructure over time, they relied upon many interdependent modules and disparate technologies. This meant that adding any new features or improvements required lengthy testing. Using TEAL, Parkar experts were able to take the DNS client’s DevOps strategy to the next level, adding automation at every stage of the development cycle, reducing feedback loops, adding back-end scripts for testing some of their services, and integrating automation with their continuous integration pipeline.

In addition to accelerating product life cycles and decreasing time to market by 400% while effectively increasing product return on investment, TEAL helped this Parkar client:

  • Reduce costs greater than 80% by using automation testing, DevOps, and a global delivery model.
  • Improve quality and increase defect detection.
  • Decrease the number of customer tickets.
  • Reduce application downtime.
  • Replace 15 manual product testers with four automation engineers.

As the DNS provider case shows, TEAL can be a tremendous tool for adding to or improving DevOps processes. It easily integrates into nearly any existing development environment. Parkar experts can customize TEAL to meet any company’s needs, allowing for a faster, more agile software development process. By accelerating product life cycles, developers can detect flaws quickly and address them earlier in the process, resulting in higher-quality products. Decreasing costs and increasing speed to market can keep savvy IT executives ahead of the competition and help them make positive contributions to their companies’ bottom lines.

At Parkar Consulting and Labs, we’ve reduced time to market for several clients and successfully completed six DevOps projects. Connect with the DevOps experts at Parkar Consulting & Labs to learn more today!

DevOps: Unify Your Software Development and Operations Teams

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You’re involved in software development, but are you stuck in the past? If your development and operations professionals use older models, they likely work in two separate teams with little integration or interaction until development hands projects off to operations. Without constant communication, your operations teams test products and send changes back to development teams to incorporate. That’s a lot of information to pass back and forth — not to mention a lot of rework. It’s not only difficult to estimate time and costs while utilizing this method but goals and technologies can also change during the project cycle.

If you haven’t heard of DevOps, your product development process likely sounds a lot like the example above — and it might be costing you more time and frustration than necessary. But other than being a software development buzzword, do you know what it is and what it means — or could mean — to your project management processes? If not, it’s time you found out.

What is DevOps?

DevOps, a portmanteau of development and operations, is an organizational structure and culture with a continuous development and testing cycle. That means a lot less back and forth between development and operations teams as well as less rework, making for a quicker time to market. In fact, DevOps projects allow developers to produce fully functional, high-quality final products more quickly and cost-efficiently than other development processes. This is made possible through the DevOps continuous integration, continuous delivery (CI/CD) project management model that makes extensive use of automation.

CI/CD practices

In a DevOps organization, development team members work closely with operations personnel throughout project development from the initial build through release. CI allows two or more different developers to write code, which they continually integrate with code from other developers — at least daily — in an area known as the source repository. With the code in a single location, developers can then test it. Code will behave differently in different environments, so if developers continually test in different environments, they can be fairly certain it will perform as expected in most situations. Developers usually use a tool such as a CI server for the coding, integration, and testing so each piece of code and all changes are implemented, tested, and verified before moving on.

This leads to the CD component of CI/CD. Through close collaboration between the development and operations teams, developers can discover and correct problems earlier in the development process. In a CD environment, developers not only integrate and test code after they make changes but they also test in environments similar to production. This helps ensure their code works as intended in the real world and reduces product failures and rollbacks.

DevOps model advantages

DevOps streamlines the development process through such cross-team collaboration and a circular approach. Instead of development team members fighting to release new features and operations team members worrying about new code stability, both teams work together to deliver new features and stabilize code at the same time. Through a shared code base, continuous integration, and constant testing, they can discover problems and fix them earlier in the development process.

In non-DevOps environments, developers write all code then hand it off to the operations team in a slow, cumbersome linear process that often results in building new features on top of poor or untested base code. In some cases, development teams need to scrap entire projects and restart using alternative development methods.

With DevOps, you can achieve benefits such as:

  • Shorter time to market
  • Greater agility in responding to problems or changing specifications
  • More frequent product update delivery
  • Greater collaboration across your development and operations teams, resulting in better end products with greater usability
  • Fewer deployment problems and failures
  • Greater alignment between IT and other areas of your business

Some benefits are intangible, such as greater collaboration, communication, and trust among team your members, which can lead to more brainstorming and innovation. Working within the DevOps model, your development and operations team members can cultivate more confidence, empowerment, and job satisfaction.

Fast forward into the future! If you’re ready to help those in your organization experience the benefits of a DevOps life cycle management environment, it’s important you work with an expert team to coordinate the process and reap the most value.

The team at Parkar Consulting & Labs has streamlined product life cycle development for multiple clients using DevOps CI/CD best practices — including reducing the incumbent cost by a fifth and time to deployment by half for one client. Ready to improve your product management process with DevOps? The experts at Parkar Consulting & Labs are ready to help you get there. Contact us today.

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