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Vacation with Confidence: Take the fear out of your software operations

You run a software organization that develops and runs several mission-critical applications, all custom-developed. Your team is friendly, and the office culture is uplifting. Problems happen with the software, but you and your team always rally and overcome them. You all take pride in what you do. But a vacation is out of the question.

As spring break approaches, the idea of a vacation sounds great. And, terrifying. Your business – and your customers – depend on these key applications. If the software goes down, your business goes down. How does it look if you’re nowhere to be found? It’s hard to fight fires while sitting on the beach.

Why is the software so dependent upon you – and your deeply-held knowledge? Why can’t the team function and resolve issues without you? Why is it you never quite know what could go wrong?

If this story sounds familiar, you’re not alone. But you shouldn’t feel tethered to your software systems – and your business operations – like a ball and chain. Here are several underlying problems and solutions we use at Clear Measure to help our clients master their software production and its operating environment. So, no matter what happens, your team can cover it – while you take a few of those vacation days you’ve banked-up for years.

Underlying Problem: Latent Defects

On average, a custom-developed application contains 1,000 (best case) to 15,000 (more typical) latent defects [Source: Clear Measure Benchmarks and Jones, C. (n.d.)[i]]. Latent defects are hard-to-find coding and design flaws that strike, unpredictably, and effect some of your customers or system functionality – but not all. Such exposures are a key source of the inconsistency and unpredictability in your system builds and deployments – the kind of uncertainty that leads to ruined vacations. The need: apply one-time techniques and establish a continuous process to uncover, prioritize and eliminate latent defects. As total code quality increases, your vacation risk can and will diminish exponentially.

Underlying Problem: Automation Sinkholes

It’s impossible for traffic to move quickly and safely if a highway contains sinkholes – places where the roadway is missing. The same is true of software deployment. As more organizations adopt Scrum methods and DevOps automation tools, the speed and frequency of deployments is accelerating. Any part of the dev-to-ops process with an automation gap is the equivalent of a sinkhole in a highway. The slightest gap multiplies the level of manual intervention – and tribal knowledge – that’s needed when things go wrong. The need: ruthlessly automate every step, process, asset and infrastructure to eliminate all gaps. As automation reaches 100%, your vacation risk approaches 0%.

Underlying Problem: Performance Gremlins

With the adoption of microservice architectures and infinitely scalable cloud environments, performance problems should be a thing of the past. Instead, as code becomes more decentralized, the root cause of performance problems is masked, and the complexity multiplies. At Clear Measure, we think of these hidden performance-killers as gremlins, almost always in the form of an unrecognized combination of interdependent resources. Because the problem lies in a combination, it explains the difficulty in debugging and reproducing performance problems outside of live production. The need: a holistic system that allows for managing, testing and tuning all resources, combinations and interdependencies. With such a system in place, you and your team are vacation-ready, no matter what type or form of performance gremlin may arise.

100% Vacation-Readiness: DevOps-Centered Software Engineering

Latent defects, automation sinkholes and performance gremlins are but symptoms of a larger problem and need. That is, to combine world-class software engineering principles with modern, highly automated and end-to-end DevOps tools and processes to create a high-speed, total-quality management-driven software factory. We call this combination DevOps-Centered Software Engineering. And, we’ve developed a model to help our clients achieve 100% vacation readiness.

Conventional DevOps automation considers only the flow of code through a lifecycle. It overlooks everything else that should be automated, measured and managed – including best practices, defect removal, team workflows, architecture blueprints and cloud operations. Our DevOps-Centered Software Engineering model incorporates all of dimensions. We don’t have time to cover the entire model in detail but can show how we attack latent defects, automation sinkholes and performance gremlins.

Latent Defect Removal

At Clear Measure, we help our clients eliminate latent defects by categorically analyze your ticketing system history in order to learn the types of historical issues. We also apply a combination of static code analysis, peer-review based inspections, and automated testing. Automated testing includes unit tests, component-level integration tests, and full system acceptance tests. Together over time, these techniques have helped us raise defect detection rates substantially. Consider a comprehensive source code and design analysis – whether internally or with a third-party expert – to achieve vacation-ready predictability in your software lifecycles.

Automation Sinkhole Removal

Part of our business is helping clients automate their custom software pipeline in its totality, and eliminating all automation gaps. Areas of automation often overlooked include versioning, build-time testing, source code compilation and packaging, and release candidate archiving. And, automation of the entire DevOps-Centered Software Engineering model, including code lifecycles, defect removal, team workflows, architecture blueprints and cloud operations. Consider a project to identify, prioritize and automate every manual step and gap in your software production line.

Performance Gremlin Removal

Total system performance is fundamental to our business and our clients. We can help you establish a telemetry process to assess performance of all applications features. By measuring customer activity and timings, you can uncover performance patterns and understand correlations. With this knowledge, you’ll be able to funnel the learning back into the software design and fix the root problem. Consider an initiative to add the telemetry necessary to automatically measure, and assure performance from a customer and user-driven perspective.

Key Takeaway

Vacation readiness is within your reach, and we stand ready to help when the time is right. Please join me in our webinar series, or reach out to me directly at jeffrey@clear-measure.com. We’d be happy to do a complimentary assessment of the latent defects, automation sinkholes, and performance gremlins that stand in the way of your perfect getaway – so you can move fast, build smart, and vacation with confidence.

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[i] J Jones, C. (n.d.). Retrieved from SOFTWARE DEFECT ORIGINS AND REMOVAL METHODS: https://www.ifpug.org/Documents/Jones-SoftwareDefectOriginsAndRemovalMethodsDraft5.pdf