Improving the efficiency of your software engineering team has many advantages, prime among which is the ability to make up for problems in other areas.
Whether you’re facing budget constraints, having problems sourcing and retaining talent, or simply want to boost product iteration, focusing on increasing your engineering efficiencies will yield strong results for a long time to come.
Here are four ways to start optimizing your engineering resources:
Analyze your development workflow
CI/CD pipelines are generally slow and break often, leaving developers frustrated and looking for problems.
A recent report found that 47% of surveyed companies took days to deploy CI/CD pipelines, and only 10% could do it within minutes, which is what time-efficient pipelines should be able to do.
Focusing on increasing your engineering efficiencies will yield strong results for a long time to come.
Why is that important? Puppet found that high-performing IT teams – which could deploy and push code to production faster than their peers – experienced 60 times fewer failures, and recovered from them 168 times faster. It’s paramount to have in place tools that can help you analyze and fix your development workflow.
The first step is to map out all the steps of your CI/CD pipeline. Pipelines today are becoming increasingly complicated: unit tests, integration tests, security tests, compliance checks, load tests, and so on. There are countless ways things can slow down or break.
The second step is to put in place tools to monitor and analyze these pipelines. Datadog, Splunk, Athenian and open-source DevLake are some tools that can help get you there.
The third step is to spot what is broken and improve what is slow. What’s the PR cycle time? How often do you release? Are there specific parts of the pipeline that are problematic? These are the questions to ask, answer and act on to increase your shipping pipeline velocity.
Make your development environments reproducible
Reproducible development environments are slowly becoming an industry standard, but it can be difficult to make an existing environment replicable. Whether it’s to allow a new hire to push their first commit on day one or enable your engineering organization to have an identical development environment — replicability is critical.
Containers — democratized by Docker in the last decade — offer one way to reach reproducibility. But because their focus is on application portability, some argue that it’s not always the best approach for making development environments reproducible.