DevX throughout DevOps: How Developer Experience is Affected by Your Pipeline (for Better or Worse)

by Alastair Wilkes in

How to avoid common DevX obstacles in your pipeline 

The DevOps mindset combines practices, tools, and organizational philosophies to automate and integrate processes between software development and operations teams. Throughout every phase of the DevOps loop, developers are impacted, for better or for worse, by the interactions with people, processes, and tools. 

DevX, the sum of all of these developer experiences, is critical to the success and sustainability of the company. Developers burdened with poor DevOps practices have no time to innovate and will eventually churn. Focusing on DevX obstacles in your DevOps loop will directly impact the happiness of your developers. And happy developers are the backbone of successful products.

Start with a review of each phase of your DevOps loop and CI/CD pipeline to identify and improve common DevX obstacles.

Plan devops

Coding

For a great DevX, it’s critical to create conditions where first, developers have dedicated time to code, and second, where innovation, exploration, and risk-taking are encouraged during code development. 

We all know that coding is where the magic happens. However, all too frequently, developers get bogged down in repetitive, dull, or manual tasks that leave little time for coding. 

Optimizing software architecture, project setup, and code formatting build a climate for developers to spend the most time doing what they do best: creating excellent code. When a team focuses on improving and maintaining good DevX, developers ultimately have more time to code and innovate.

Building 

Build process reliability and repeatability directly impact DevX via productivity and happiness of developers. The CI/CD pipeline helps developers work more efficiently by automating the entire software development process. 

The first part of the pipeline, Continuous Integration, ensures that developers stay in sync as they create the first build, write code, or make updates to a previous project. CI improves DevX because it allows developers to keep code organized and updated with a central repository, automating earlier tests and build compilations.  Continuous Integration can also automate the installation of tools, download dependencies, and check that code is safe.

Embracing Continuous Integration is crucial to better DevX at the build stage. It can help slash tedious, manual tasks, quality-check code, and allow developers to work at a speedy pace without sacrificing excellence.  

Testing 

Ask any developer - testing can significantly drain time, energy, resources, and yup, DevX. 

Testing is one of the biggest hurdles to great DevX because testing so often creates bottlenecks for developers. Bad testing practices, like running irrelevant tests or a test for every change, force developers to wait on tests for days. All that waiting around creates reduced deployment frequency and mind-numbingly slow workflow while also churning up higher cycles, higher lead times, and higher levels of projects in process.

To improve testing and DevX, organizations can first knock out test bloat by only running the necessary tests. Launchable’s Predictive Test Selection identifies and runs tests with the highest probability of failing, based on code and test metadata, to speed up the SDLC. For developers, this means faster test cycles, a faster workflow, and ultimately better DevX. 

Additionally, it’s important to note that insight into the health of a test suite can also improve DevX, as developers are more easily able to spot issues and course-correct on inadequate testing procedures.

Releasing 

Poor DevX can stem from unreliable release cycles. To make release cycles more efficient and easeful for developers, Continuous Delivery, the second part of the CI/CD pipeline, is vital to make release cycles more efficient and easier for developers.

Continuous Delivery automatically releases code changes to a testing environment or production environment after the build stage. Developers are free from the manual task of preparing the release for production because CD automatically prepares development changes to software and prepares for release to production. With Continuous Delivery, developers constantly have tested, deployment-ready artifacts, which can significantly improve DevX during the release stage.

Deployment 

Even if you have a well-oiled pipeline, if your deployment isn’t smooth or the execution of files on the server isn’t streamlined, you could be harming your DevX. Continuous Deployment (CD, or the third part of the CI/CD pipeline) allows developers to automatically ship code across multiple stages throughout the entire development process.

When it comes to a killer DevX, an effective CI/CD pipeline and automating as much as possible are critical. Continuous Deployment empowers developer teams to push new releases into the production environment as quickly as possible. A faster, reliable workflow leads to better DevX.

Operating

After deployment, it’s time for customers to enjoy the product or application developers spend so much time creating. For developers to nail the operational phase of the SDLC, it’s vital to ensure a product works as it promises to, is stable, and is free of errors. 

For developers to have a great DevX at the operational stage, developers need the tools to address and fix issues quickly. Developers are problem solvers naturally and want to ensure end-users have a great experience. 

Monitoring

The software development's monitoring, or maintenance phase, requires developers to monitor any uptime and downtime failures, errors, or issues with a delivered product or application. 

Great DevX requires developers to access tools to help them easily monitor problems. Effective tooling for the monitoring stage should:

  • Report on the health of a system
  • Report on the health of the product, as experienced by end-users
  • Monitor for key business metrics
  • Monitor for key systems metrics
  • Enable debugging during production
  • Deliver access to data that diagnoses problems and provides a path forward

Planning 

Focused on customer feedback, the planning stage evolves around further improving the software, updating the product roadmap, and prepping for future improvements. 

But, in addition to plotting out ways to improve the product, this stage of a project is also a prime time to plan out ways to strengthen DevX the next go around. From an organizational standpoint, delivering a great DevX is critical to mission success. A positive DevX makes developers happier, more effective, and less likely to leave their jobs. 

Good DevX requires smarter testing. Period.

A good DevX makes developers happy, more effective, and less likely to leave their jobs. It leads to an increase the productivity and the quality and reliability of your product.

test

Increase the velocity of developers by removing the most significant bottlenecks they encounter on the regular. Testing is the most overlooked culprit that leads to poor DevX. When assessing your DevOps loop, find ways to alleviate testing bloat and gain better testing health metrics to increase test times. 

Start with smarter, faster testing. Using machine learning identify and run tests with the highest probability of failing based on code and test metadata to speed up the dev feedback loop and increase overall testing DevX. Predictive Test Selection works where developers are: Cloud Native, Embedded, Mobile and Traditional Applications. Run the right tests for a code change and nothing more for smarter, faster testing. 

Track the health of your testing suite and fix test suite entropy. Track how your tests are running and make updates to improve your test cycles for better DevX. Quickly identify and fix flaky tests, monitor test session duration, failure ratios, and frequency to monitor and improve your test suite for better DevX. With Testing Suite Insights teams can stop relying on gut-based decisions and use reliable health metrics for better DevX. 

Start improving DevX by focusing on the biggest obstacle in DevOps: testing. Request a proof of concept today.





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