Code First. Ask Questions Later? How a Disciplined Approach Saves More Time and Effort.

It’s easy to get caught up in the death-or-glory dash of delivering what end-users want (or didn’t know they wanted) quickly. How helpful is it when this fast pace leads to costly mistakes from unintentional errors and burnout from chasing bugs down?

In this blog, Randall K. Harp, Roundtable Software Engineer, and Jaclyn Barnard, Roundtable Director of Business Development, make the case that a seemingly slower, more disciplined approach yields better results in the long run.

Your team needs to make software changes fast.

  • New job demands are being put upon your users and near-instantaneous delivery of new features on smartphones and other apps has conditioned them to expect the same expediency from enterprise applications as well.
  • Marketplace competition has added pressure to deliver more functionality more often.

While your development team struggles to meet delivery deadlines, industry buzz about the latest technology has your application stakeholders asking: “How soon can we start using that?”

In a mad dash to deliver the next update, disciplined development practices are often pushed aside, resulting in ambiguous responsibilities, a high risk of regression bugs, missing dependencies, and a far more difficult task of rolling back to a stable configuration if and when things go wrong. Even if you maintain a good record of who made what changes where, when they were made, and why they were made, slapdash release and workflow management spell trouble for your users and your team’s reputation. Do these means really meet the intended end?

No matter your development methodology (Agile, DevOps, Waterfall), the proven processes of professional configuration management can boost your team’s productivity and improve software quality. These principles enable teams to know the pieces that make up your application, direct who can change what and where, and make sure that your releases contain what they are supposed to – all while earmarking stable states that can be easily recreated for fallback or troubleshooting. Furthermore, unlike scrambling to get things done, well-defined, repeatable processes lend themselves to automation for additional speed.

“Our productivity and quality improved dramatically right out of the gate with Roundtable because we had so much more control over who was changing a particular program at any given time. In fact, that first year our time to market decreased by 12 months. The tools in Roundtable make it possible for one software engineer to build deployments for all of our customers using about 10% of that person’s time over the course of a version. Prior to Roundtable, it took 40% of one software engineer’s time just to handle organizing our local testing environments.”

Mark Opfer, Senior Software Architect, DMSi

A comprehensive software configuration management system like Roundtable TSMS provides these capabilities, but only brings benefit when a team makes the commitment. Granted, words like “configuration” and “management” may not offer the same level of excitement as a marathon effort filled with caffeine and energy bars to rally to cutting the next release, but you’ll discover that practicing organized processes promotes organized thinking, and that organized change history prevents frantic searching for where things went wrong and that is a true time-saver.

“It’s because of Roundtable that I now have a life. Prior to Roundtable, I usually got home from work in time to tuck my kids into bed. By the end of our first year of using Roundtable, I was getting home in time to have supper with them because I wasn’t spending so much time chasing the bugs and phantom bugs that came from uncontrolled code movement.”

Mark Opfer, Senior Software Architect, DMSi

High quality software is something that everyone can be proud of. If your development team isn’t experiencing (or fully experiencing) the organizational and productivity benefits that Roundtable TSMS offers, contact Roundtable Software today. To read the case study referenced above, “DMSi Improves Time to Market, Reduces Defects by 50% with Roundtable TSMS,” follow this link.