In business, some choices are more important than others. Choosing the shade you paint your office wall may seem like an important decision, and probably it is, but the business tools you choose for how your business operates can change the trajectory of your company in ways you never really imagined. Tools make us more productive and can set equally qualified businesses apart in both efficiency and quality of work. In the world of software development, the DevOps tools you choose can feel either comfortable or cumbersome, depending on your team’s experience and needs.
What is DevOps?
While there is no specific dictionary definition of DevOps, it is generally just a set of tools, best practices, and cultural philosophies that bridge the gap between software development (Dev) and information technology operations (Ops). Its purpose is to create an agile relationship between IT and the developers, allowing for better collaboration. The result is a shorter systems development lifecycle and the ability to provide continuous delivery of quality software. DevOps tools can make a world of difference in your business, and it’s worth taking the time to find out which ones can do the most for you and your business.
Define what you want out of DevOps
There are hundreds of companies in the DevOps space, and all of them are willing to show you exactly how they can fill your needs. This is a good reason to define what your needs are. Be realistic about where your business stands currently, and where you want to go. What are the major hurdles you face? Where are the bottlenecks in your application lifecycle? Many of the products out there will serve multiple functions, and how great would it be to find a product that handles a handful of them?
Find out what your team knows
When we enter into new ventures, it’s a human tendency to talk to people you know to gather the information they may have on the subject. Follow this intuition. Talking to your team about what they have used and what they like can go a long way. They can tell you the highlights without selling to you, and more importantly, they will be honest with the things they don’t like. Developing as part of a team can prove challenging, so choose a tool that will make things as seamless as possible. If multiple members of your team love one particular tool, take that into serious consideration.
Find an agile Kanban project management tool that works for you
Kanban is a visual way of managing workflows and your tasks at hand. It was introduced to the world by Toyota in the 1940s and has become a crucial component in many of the top project management apps out there today. It’s also known as “just-in-time”, and you may be familiar with the trademark columns and cards associated with it. You can customize your board in a way that complements your workflow and addresses problem areas.
Confusion creates chaos. A good project management software should clear up that confusion. Kanban can help you identify bottlenecks and allocate resources, and can also be a tremendous help in defining your needs. The visual nature of Kanban helps organize your projects and problem areas in a way that helps you to visualize plans in real-time.
Taking the leap
There are so many options out there, it can get a little overwhelming. There are dozens of products that fall into multiple different categories like functional and non-functional testing, version control, building and deployment, and change tracking. Depending on your needs and your budget, one product may serve most of your needs, or you may need to take on a number of them. If your needs surpass your budget, you may save money in the long run by hiring a custom software development company to help.
Automation is your friend
When you find tools that successfully automate many of your workday’s mundane, but very necessary tasks, you free yourself to be much more creative in your approach to things. You can focus on creating the best possible product without worrying about all the little details that serve as rocket fuel for possible human error. Automation tools are great for increasing your speed and accuracy. They also present an incredible solution for tracking and auditing your process. But also, be very aware of the risks of cyberattacks, which are very frequent nowadays. Always prepare your risk management plan before taking any actions.
Doing things in the cloud is another great way to automate certain aspects of your business. Cloud computing solutions allow multiple users to collaborate on projects simultaneously and can save you from the nightmare of losing work that wasn’t saved. They take the worry out of creating and maintaining physical backups of everything we do and allow us to access information from anywhere on the globe. This last bit is particularly helpful when you have team members spread across the world, or when your business requires you to travel regularly.