6 Ways to Accelerate Your Software Release Life Cycle

Amir Schwartz
Amir SchwartzVP R&D | August 28, 2018

Our world is constantly changing, and to keep with the pace you need to adopt new methodologies. Everyone knows that moving to a CI/CD pipeline will expedite the software release life cycle but there are many misconceptions about how to get there. You already adopted agile practices, scrum teams , and are working in sprints, but are you able to release once a week, or even once a day?

Here are six methods that will help your team move faster:

1. Microservices Architecture

Microservices break up code into small independant services in order to split the work between different teams, with each team working at its own pace. As long as the interfaces are well defined and maintained, the deployed application can be made up of any combination of versions of the microservice. One of the main advantages of microservices is that it allows for less maintenance and improves consistency.

5 Ways to Accelerate your Software Release Life Cycle

Source: Red Badger

2. Feature Toggles

Feature Toggles allow different dev teams to work on new features simultaneously. The idea is to maintain a single trunk and have the entire team check-in their code to this trunk frequently (at least once a day, or even more). By wrapping new code that isn’t ready with an “if” statement (or other logical operators), you ensure that the flow will not go through the wrapped code. Once the code is completed and verified, the condition can be changed and the code can be made part of the executed flow.

Source: Martin Fowler

3. Compatibility

If you want to switch between old code and new code utilizing toggles, you will need to make sure your code base is loosely coupled with backward and forward compatibility to ensure you will not break the code when you enable new functionalities. This concept requires an in-depth knowledge of your code base interfaces and high quality and precise software architecture planning.

4. Continuous Testing

Handing off the build to QA teams at the end of development and waiting on their validation and verification is a sure way to move slowly. Here are two ways your team can adopt continuous testing:

  1. Test Driven Development (TDD): Write unit tests before you begin writing code and once the unit test passes the development can be marked as complete.
  2. Automated Tests: Generate as many automated tests as possible.

Source: Parasoft

5. Test Metrics

Test metrics  can help shed light on how comprehensively a system is tested. Here are three standard customer satisfaction metrics that can be used in software projects:

  1. Code coverage – A rudimentary but useful metric showing how many lines of code or code statements are covered by unit tests. Does not take into account other types of tests like UI automation, integration tests or acceptance tests.
  2. Percent of automated test coverage – This is used to measure the maturity of the testing infrastructure by calculating how many of the application’s tests have been automated.
  3. Escaped defects – How many serious faults affected production users.

6. Test Gap Analytics

Test gap analytics helps development teams to maintain low-risk technical debt by enabling QA engineers to write and execute tests for only those areas that need them the most.

Test gap analytics combines refactoring, code analysis, machine learning, and data mining techniques. Relevant data is collected in real-time from multiple sources across the software development pipeline and analyzed to provide visibility into areas that are considered high-risk and prone to technical debt. This transforms the way development teams work from a reactive approach to resolving issues arising from untested code to a proactive method of preventing problems before they occur. With test gap analytics, developers and QA engineers can leverage smart data to ensure efficient sprint planning and make accurate decisions on where and when tests should be written and executed.

By so doing, they can expose those areas that result in high-risk technical debt and focus their efforts on reducing the level of risk and exposure by developing new tests in upcoming sprints.

Using the methods above will enable your team to work faster while producing high quality code.