The Evolution of Methodologies That Lead to DevOps

Photo by Basel Habayeb

The Information Technology industry especially Product Development in the Software space has experienced and is still experiencing incredible changes which are continuously evolving the technologies and methodologies used in delivering quality products to customers. It is agreed that for an Enterprise to Deliver Quality Software, one or several methodologies have to be implemented.

These methodologies have shifted focus from a one-time development and deployment to continuous development, integration, and deployment approach solely because there was a constant request from stakeholders and end-users for upgrades to the solution to meet ever-changing market demands.

This shift has added something vital which is the involvement and communication with stakeholders and end-users in the process of developing the software solution because there was a need for feedback and its implementation in the solution.

The Software Development Life Cycle refers to a methodology with clearly defined processes for creating high-quality software. This started with the Waterfall Model which has evolved to what we know today as DevOps. Let us briefly look into this evolution.

Photo by Basel Habayeb

The Waterfall Methodology

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The Waterfall Model is a traditional methodology, plan-driven practice, and a first-of-its-kind software development model that follows a linear software development approach as the name implies.

Each phase in the Waterfall Model is distinct and has to be completed with a list of deliverables at the end before moving on to the next phase. Due to its inflexible nature, it doesn’t give room to make changes to previously concluded phases, this was a major reason why this model became obsolete and because other dynamic development processes emerged which were adaptive to constant changes in implementation. The phases for this model are Requirements Gathering, Analysis, Design, Development, Testing, and Deployment.

The Waterfall Model is best suited for projects that are well defined, predictable, and unlikely to change significantly. This nature of unresponsiveness to adjustments affects budgets and delivery timelines when business requirements change during the cycle.

Projects that adopt the Waterfall Model have a high degree of process definition, little or no variability in output, they do not accommodate feedback and communication with stakeholders or end-users during the development cycle.

Let digress at a few modern software development models extensively followed in today’s industry.

The Agile Methodology

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The Agile Methodology is a continuous development, integration, and deployment approach which is iterative and incremental, this methodology rapidly delivers a viable business product. The Agile Methodology derives some of its principles from Lean methodology. This methodology breaks the software product into smaller modules.

Agile projects don’t start with clearly defined outcomes since its flexible, adapt to changing business needs and variability through the development process is expected. As compared to the Waterfall, this methodology incorporates continuous feedback into the development process. This adaptability feature allows for flexible realignment in development and it’s often cheaper to adapt to customer feedback than it is to get everything right from the onset.

There are two primary frameworks used in Agile which are Scrum which key components are iterations and velocity and Kanban which key components are working in progress status.

DevOps

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DevOps is an engineering culture that emphasizes constant collaboration and communication between the unified development and operations teams with the sole aim of a more efficient and seamless development process and automation of processes. When done effectively, it results in faster, more dependable software releases that align with business operations.

The goals of DevOps are

· Fast delivery of completed code to production and stable infrastructure

· Minimal production failures and immediate recovery from failures

The various phases in the DevOps life cycle are focused on constantly monitoring, operating, implementing, and responding to the end-user feedback to ensure continuous integration and deployment.

The following are the phases in the DevOps life cycle:

  • Continuous Development: this phase consists of planning and coding activities.
  • Continuous Integration: this phase comprises integrating code changes as per any added functionality.
  • Continuous Testing: a phase that involves continuous testing of the developed software. The testing is usually carried out with the help of automation tools to save time and effort.
  • Continuous Feedback: in a testing environment, the users of the application provide valuable feedback on the performance of the application.
  • Continuous Monitoring: Monitoring the performance of the application is a crucial step towards building efficiently performing software.
  • Continuous Deployment: each time a change has to take place, the software needs to be updated to incorporate the newly added functionality. Once a code is released, the same gets uploaded on the server, which takes care of the updates on individual devices.
  • Continuous Operations: this phase is about maintaining consistency in updating the changes with every new release.

Finally, I hope I’ve been able to concisely explain how methodologies evolved over the years due to challenges that professionals experienced which has led to this beautiful model called DevOps that we see today, going down history lane would help us appreciate what has been done in the Information Technology industry and even help us understand the buzzworthy model better.

Thanks for taking out time to read through my article.

I crave your indulgence to leave a comment with either suggestions or additions to this article in ways I could do better. I am open to learning and I also welcome constructive criticism.

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