In the first article, of this 2-blog series we talked about signs to identify missing continuous feedback loop and its characteristics. In case, you have missed it–Give it a read here!
The second part of the blog uncovers how to set up a feedback loop for DevOps and how the future of DevOps with feedback looks like.
Continuous Feedback Loop–Delivering Quality Application at Light-speed
DevOps grabbed a lot of attention as it provides agility to businesses powered by software. Still DevOps teams run into a bottleneck when feedback is not timely at the right stage, pulling the whole release timeline backwards. The formalized feedback loop can bring in required Agility, Quality and Customer-centricity.
The concept of monitoring has already been injected into the phases with a wide variety of tools, but these tools do not provide an end to end insights about pipeline health. The extension of this monitoring is broader continuous feedback loop that drills down to the overall pipeline health. DevOps feedback spans across all the phases such as Planning, Development, Integration, Testing, Deployment, Monitoring.
- Continuous Planning–Post-deployment application usage, customer reviews, incomplete user stories, user-behavior.
- Continuous Development–New user stories, new compliance and security requirements, build tests.
- Continuous Integration–Build fail/pass, test environment, latest code version, artifacts.
- Continuous Testing–Root cause analysis of tests failure. Result of mini regression suite.
- Continuous Deployment–Application feature and usage, end-user interaction and the areas of improvement.
Constructing Continuous Feedback Loop
The proactive monitoring across stages like application health, log monitoring, code quality monitoring, etc is a thing of the past. The modern DevOps team requires platform/solution to have a panoramic view from planning to post-deployment. The basic premise of DevOps feedback loop is simple–Collect real-time information based on the code movement in the pipeline, provide this information to the teams responsible for it, establish processes to fix issues and improve continuously. This should be introduced focusing strongly on customer journey. On a broader level, DevOps feedback loop requires–1. Setting up Quality Check Gates 2. Requires an End-to-End Intelligent Engineering Dashboard tools such as The Engineering Dashboard (TED) 3. Establishing and adopting processes to ensure immediate remediation of issues.
1. Setting up Quality Check Gates
Building DevOps feedback loop requires setting up quality check-gates at each level with specified threshold at each stage for code acceptance. This requires brainstorming from the various teams such as customer service, product managers, business analysts, QAs, Infra teams, Developers. Customer experience metrics and industry statistics can also be helpful in determining these threshold numbers for the first time. Quality gates ensure–
- Code shipped into production have the highest quality standards including security, compliance and governance
- Code is halted if a certain threshold is reached and respective teams are notified to fix the issues
- Better release confidence to developers
- Better collaboration between teams
- Quick roll-back strategies to the previous stage
For organizations starting to build their feedback mechanisms, it is a work-in-progress to get the specific threshold at each phase correctly in one shot. The key is to remain progressive and observant in recording and iterating them.
2. Requires an End-to-End Intelligent Engineering Dashboard tools such as The Engineering Dashboard (TED)
There are many tools already available in the market such as NewRelic, HP LoadRunner that are great tools but are focused on the particular segment of the DevOps pipeline like application performance monitoring, load testing.
DevOps adoption has increased but still IT leaders have low visibility into the quality and health of DevOps pipeline. The acceptance of DevOps has created an over-importance of metrics and how to collect them instead of interpreting them for wowing customers. They can’t look beyond the defined metrics to measure the efficiency of processes, tools, projects and teams. This makes it hard to identify the gaps and provide proper feedback to realign the deviated processes. CIOs are seeking products/solutions to examine and improve efficiency and quality of the software.
Continuous feedback loop requires tools like TED that provide complete insights around the health and quality of the DevOps process. This gathers information right from planning phase to code commit till production and end-user monitoring.
TED collects near real-time data from different quality check gates and integrates with existing tool stack. Teams can configure alerts and notifications for different teams to act upon them. TED creates transparency by showing the required information (depending on your team structure and rules for accessibility of information) to the right people. It shows the relevant information to developers so they can fix the code, or infra team so they can see the downtime, or business analysts about the requirements gathering for the upcoming sprint.
TED dashboard that gives comprehensive view of the DevOps program
3. Adopting processes to ensure immediate remediation of issues
DevOps feedback loop ensures identifying errors earlier and if they slipped to the production responding faster to resolve them without customers getting a hint. This also involves understanding the root and cause of issues and proactively avoiding them. The third aspect of DevOps feedback involved major changes around culture. Amplifying DevOps feedback loops require creating a dynamic and agile culture to have comfort of changing the course whenever required.
DevOps Beyond Metrics
Feedback is valuable whether for people or processes. Metrics don’t uncover the gaps, but feedbacks are well-detailed to reveal the gaps and how to remove them and create a knowledge base for organizations to act upon them. Organizations like CapitalOne has witnessed how DevOps feedback loop drives quality with unmatched speed. Organizations can catapult their digital journey in a heated battle for market share with a properly administered feedback loop.
Feedback maximizes DevOps returns
Feedback at any level (personal or project) works as a catalyst for organizational change. With a feedback mechanism in place to pinpoint the issues and bottlenecks. The DevOps feedback loop will revolutionize complete app lifecycle from planning to deployment all integrated to see problems before they go live. Or sometimes rolling back them from the hands of end-users before they experience major hiccup.
Born-digital decacorns are leading the ‘releases per day’ game but there are a lot of opportunities for organizations to realize the true benefits of DevOps with the feedback loop. Intelligent DevOps feedback solutions help businesses address their persistent quality loopholes, helping them use relevant feedback to build effective processes that will enable old systems into dynamic solutions.
With so much of data generated, feedback multiplies continuously at the receiving end, it requires a lot of human judgement and detailed exploration to act upon them. Qentelli’s approach of establishing continuous feedback loop using tools like TED benefits organizations to improve DevOps processes using data captured across DevOps pipeline. Are you ready to maximize your DevOps efforts? Start the conversation with Qentelli at firstname.lastname@example.org to deliver value to your customers faster.