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The impact of DevOps on software quality

Have you ever been shopping online, clicked on the “Add to cart” button only to see the famous 404 error message? It’s discouraging isn't it? Would it discourage you enough not to ever shop with that company again? Now think about that exact situation from the perspective of the brand. E-commerce companies are changing their online offering on a daily basis . IT departments deploy new features to improve the user experience and the software that you interact with. Some companies may even need to deliver dozens of updates per day. However, these new features, when deployed, have the potential to disrupt or create errors in the existing software and to negatively impact the user experience. How can you as a company assure that when updates are rolled out, it is seamless?

Through a process of continuous development, developers can deliver new software versions live on an immediate basis. Companies should not have to choose between speed and stability when pushing new features. To do so, it is essential to test the software prior to deployment, but testing itself creates a bottleneck for fast implementation. How can a company guarantee no disruptions and minimal downtime when continuously improving their software to the benefit of users? Automation can be helpful but may be very expensive. In addition, it could require hiring an engineer and involve a lengthy development process that could last months.

The challenges of continuous development run deep into proper automation of the testing process. Companies find themselves struggling with delays in releasing apps. Too much manual work, unplanned work, rework, wait time and technical debt undermine the ability to deliver continuous value, impacting competitive edge.

This is where DevOps come into the picture. Companies such as Loadmill aim to solve the challenges of continuous development to boost the velocity and automation in organizations.

Loadmill accomplishes this feat by replaying real user behavior. Using smart recordings, Loadmill can replay thousands of tests based on actual user flows within minutes. This new approach requires zero maintenance and eliminates the need for long regression cycles.

Following real world interactions of users allows simulating dozens of scenarios that are the most likely user paths visitors come and go through the platform. Running tests this way dramatically improves an application or website’s performance.Through user behavior analysis, Loadmill assists companies in closing the automation gap, allowing them to focus their efforts on what matters most for their users.

DevOps initiatives goals vary and could include achieving faster time to market, reducing time between fixes, improving deployment, lowering the failure rate of new releases and more. But the technological solution is only one piece of the puzzle. Technological improvement will not come to fruition without deep cultural change. This shift in thought is especially necessary in heavily siloed companies because of the emphasis on communication between and within teams. Improvements in software delivery become more achievable through a structure of small teams encouraged to deliver a minimal viable product using agile and lean practices. Starting small with limited scope projects is key.1 As the digital landscape changes with customers expecting faster digital capabilities, DevOps methodologies keep IT at pace with the rest of the business.

1 Competitive Advantage through DevOps/Harvard Business Review