Before You Can Eliminate Agile and DevOps Bottlenecks, You Need to Identify Them
Sometimes, finding the myriad roadblocks that might be slowing down your testing, QA, or development efforts within your software team can be just as difficult as actually solving these problems. There are some common bottlenecks that plague most organizations, but for the most part, you need to invest time and effort into discovering what’s holding you back.
Why put so much effort into identifying these problem areas? Agile and DevOps, which now dominate software development, lean on continuous integration, continuous testing, and continuous deployment. Because of that, anything that might break this iterative and continuous cycle could throw everything out of whack and stunt your team’s growth.
Tanya Kravtsov, a director of QA at Audible, recently spoke to StickyMinds about the process of identifying bottlenecks and outlined why you need to highlight them as early and often as possible.
“Any manual process in the software development lifecycle prevents the continuous build, test, deploy cycle and will either extend the time-to-market or will keep growing the technical debt due to insufficient testing,” Kravtsov explains. “Identifying these ‘weakest links’ or bottlenecks is a critical step in achieving agility.”
She suggests some common tools to identify gaps in your processes, including monitoring, logging, reporting, and analytics tools. These help shed light on critical data for application usage and performance, test frameworks, and customer feedback.
However, one of the most critical bottleneck-killers is the smart and consistent use of test automation. Removing manual testers from some of the more tedious activities and gathering more data through automation allows you to collect that feedback and better understand what’s working and what isn’t. It gives testers more time and developers a better idea of overall quality.
Beyond the expected, common bottlenecks—data discovery, generation, subsetting, masking, and cleanup—Kravtsov continues to hammer home that anything previously thought to be manual-only can cause major problems.
“The most difficult bottlenecks to find are the ones that historically [had] been done manually and are assumed to require human intervention, like an approval step that requires a physical sign-off from the manager, or test results analysis and defect logging,” she continues. “However, any of these can be automated to an extent provided proper process documentation and understanding.”
Before you can fix all of your testing and development problems, you need to have a solid understanding of what they are and how they got there. Identify your bottlenecks, and from there, you can start your journey to better quality, speed, and efficiency.