SYS-CON MEDIA Authors: Jason Bloomberg, Elizabeth White, Zakia Bouachraoui, Andy Thurai, Liz McMillan

Blog Feed Post

Process Is King

How a proper software development process helps you deal with unforeseen problems.

How a proper software development process helps you deal with unforeseen problems

Software development is often unpredictable. Changes in the infrastructure or libraries we depend on happen. Bugs come up. Milestones slip by. To be able to deal with all of those changes, we need a proper process in place that will help us deal with unforeseen problems and give us the confidence to upgrade any part of our system at any time.

Often, we only perceive dependencies on a library level as they are the ones we deal with daily. Not updating those means taking on technical debt. By setting up proper automated testing and continuous delivery where the system tells us when it’s ready, we can get to a point where upgrading any library is simple. But this workflow often doesn’t extend to more basic parts of the infrastructure, like the Operating System we use on our machines. We often take them for granted as their release cycles are slow and they are typically supported for a long time. But depending on that level of support, without a well-thought-out plan to update these parts, it just pushes the pain of dealing with it to a later point, where it becomes chronic and much more difficult to manage.

So even the best development process with automated testing and continuous delivery can’t help us if we don’t consider the whole system while building workflows.

Managing Large Changes

We’re currently in the process of upgrading the Ubuntu version we use on our servers. Those changes took quite a while to implement. It wasn’t just a technical challenge to provide the same consistent high-level of quality we expect at Codeship, but also to have a process that lets us slowly release those changes and find any problems we have before the general release.

We can now roll out different versions of our infrastructure based on different operating systems and decide on which of those to run our builds. This allows us to test the whole infrastructure much more thoroughly and ensures that we don’t negatively interrupt our customers’ deployments.

We had to dive deep into the process necessary to roll out these changes and decide on how our technology needs to support those processes. It’s often hard to decide early what these specific update paths are and how to deal with them in the future. But it’s critical to set up your team and development to see change as the natural order. We fully stand behind this and it’s something that we implement across our company and technology. We need to Build for Change.

While you might not need the technology or the process to replace every part of your infrastructure from the beginning, you need to be aware of the dependencies you build and how those might affect you in the future.


In software projects, we often build up dependencies that aren’t visible on first sight, but painful once we need to deal with them. So deal with them early and often, even if it’s just as an experiment on the side that isn’t intended to go into production. At least you’ll have the data and experience to work with, and a process to deal with that changes, once it becomes inevitable.

You will have to handle unforeseen changes, upgrades to your dependencies and general problems in your infrastructure. Sometimes those might turn out as minor or sometimes they grow while investigating them, similar to what happened with our Trusty upgrade.

If you fear those changes and ignore them today, they will come back even stronger tomorrow. A minor change, a small process improvement or a minimal technology upgrade becomes an unbeatable beast that will suck up your time, energy and productivity.

Prepare your team, your process and your technology for change. This will allow you to face it without any fear. Fear is what holds us back, fear is what decreases our performance and innovation. By preparing and reducing this fear, we can build products that are truly innovative and truly loved by our users.

Did you have to make changes you were afraid of? How did you handle them? Let us know in the comments.

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By Manuel Weiss

I am the cofounder of Codeship – a hosted Continuous Integration and Deployment platform for web applications. On the Codeship blog we love to write about Software Testing, Continuos Integration and Deployment. Also check out our weekly screencast series 'Testing Tuesday'!

Latest Stories
While the focus and objectives of IoT initiatives are many and diverse, they all share a few common attributes, and one of those is the network. Commonly, that network includes the Internet, over which there isn't any real control for performance and availability. Or is there? The current state of the art for Big Data analytics, as applied to network telemetry, offers new opportunities for improving and assuring operational integrity. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jim Frey, Vice President of S...
"We were founded in 2003 and the way we were founded was about good backup and good disaster recovery for our clients, and for the last 20 years we've been pretty consistent with that," noted Marc Malafronte, Territory Manager at StorageCraft, in this interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
Historically, some banking activities such as trading have been relying heavily on analytics and cutting edge algorithmic tools. The coming of age of powerful data analytics solutions combined with the development of intelligent algorithms have created new opportunities for financial institutions. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Sebastien Meunier, Head of Digital for North America at Chappuis Halder & Co., discussed how these tools can be leveraged to develop a lasting competitive advantage ...
In his keynote at 18th Cloud Expo, Andrew Keys, Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise, provided an overview of the evolution of the Internet and the Database and the future of their combination – the Blockchain. Andrew Keys is Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise. He comes to ConsenSys Enterprise with capital markets, technology and entrepreneurial experience. Previously, he worked for UBS investment bank in equities analysis. Later, he was responsible for the creation and distribution of life settl...
DevOps is often described as a combination of technology and culture. Without both, DevOps isn't complete. However, applying the culture to outdated technology is a recipe for disaster; as response times grow and connections between teams are delayed by technology, the culture will die. A Nutanix Enterprise Cloud has many benefits that provide the needed base for a true DevOps paradigm. In their Day 3 Keynote at 20th Cloud Expo, Chris Brown, a Solutions Marketing Manager at Nutanix, and Mark Lav...
@CloudEXPO and @ExpoDX, two of the most influential technology events in the world, have hosted hundreds of sponsors and exhibitors since our launch 10 years ago. @CloudEXPO and @ExpoDX New York and Silicon Valley provide a full year of face-to-face marketing opportunities for your company. Each sponsorship and exhibit package comes with pre and post-show marketing programs. By sponsoring and exhibiting in New York and Silicon Valley, you reach a full complement of decision makers and buyers in ...
According to the IDC InfoBrief, Sponsored by Nutanix, “Surviving and Thriving in a Multi-cloud World,” multicloud deployments are now the norm for enterprise organizations – less than 30% of customers report using single cloud environments. Most customers leverage different cloud platforms across multiple service providers. The interoperability of data and applications between these varied cloud environments is growing in importance and yet access to hybrid cloud capabilities where a single appl...
"At the keynote this morning we spoke about the value proposition of Nutanix, of having a DevOps culture and a mindset, and the business outcomes of achieving agility and scale, which everybody here is trying to accomplish," noted Mark Lavi, DevOps Solution Architect at Nutanix, in this interview at @DevOpsSummit at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
In today's always-on world, customer expectations have changed. Competitive differentiation is delivered through rapid software innovations, the ability to respond to issues quickly and by releasing high-quality code with minimal interruptions. DevOps isn't some far off goal; it's methodologies and practices are a response to this demand. The demand to go faster. The demand for more uptime. The demand to innovate. In this keynote, we will cover the Nutanix Developer Stack. Built from the foundat...
"NetApp's vision is how we help organizations manage data - delivering the right data in the right place, in the right time, to the people who need it, and doing it agnostic to what the platform is," explained Josh Atwell, Developer Advocate for NetApp, in this interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
Sold by Nutanix, Nutanix Mine with Veeam can be deployed in minutes and simplifies the full lifecycle of data backup operations, including on-going management, scaling and troubleshooting. The offering combines highly-efficient storage working in concert with Veeam Backup and Replication, helping customers achieve comprehensive data protection for all their workloads — virtual, physical and private cloud —to meet increasing business demands for uptime and productivity.
"Cloud computing is certainly changing how people consume storage, how they use it, and what they use it for. It's also making people rethink how they architect their environment," stated Brad Winett, Senior Technologist for DDN Storage, in this interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
A look across the tech landscape at the disruptive technologies that are increasing in prominence and speculate as to which will be most impactful for communications – namely, AI and Cloud Computing. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Curtis Peterson, VP of Operations at RingCentral, highlighted the current challenges of these transformative technologies and shared strategies for preparing your organization for these changes. This “view from the top” outlined the latest trends and developments i...
The Internet of Things is clearly many things: data collection and analytics, wearables, Smart Grids and Smart Cities, the Industrial Internet, and more. Cool platforms like Arduino, Raspberry Pi, Intel's Galileo and Edison, and a diverse world of sensors are making the IoT a great toy box for developers in all these areas. In this Power Panel at @ThingsExpo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists discussed what things are the most important, which will have the most profound e...
In his keynote at 19th Cloud Expo, Sheng Liang, co-founder and CEO of Rancher Labs, discussed the technological advances and new business opportunities created by the rapid adoption of containers. With the success of Amazon Web Services (AWS) and various open source technologies used to build private clouds, cloud computing has become an essential component of IT strategy. However, users continue to face challenges in implementing clouds, as older technologies evolve and newer ones like Docker c...