Creative Ways to Automate Developer Workflows

Spread the love

When an organization begins an Agile or DevOps journey, the process can be overwhelming and often creates uncertainty for teams throughout not only IT but in other areas. But Agile and DevOps aren’t merely about systems. A move to DevOps or Agile requires a “fresh mindset,” as Schneider Release Manager Amanda Heintz recently noted in a webinar on DevOps adoption

One of the objectives of DevOps is to create a collaborative and seamless process that extends end-to-end through the entire software delivery pipeline. Automation is critical to the overall DevOps process and allows for easier implementation of key Agile practices, including continuous integration/continuous delivery, continuous deployment, change control, and continuous monitoring. Automated web development and workflows allow teams to accelerate their processes and software delivery, resulting in greater efficiency and scaling of software delivery.

However, moving from a traditional project development environment to DevOps can be a complex endeavor and many organizations don’t know where to begin. Successful DevOps adoption often begins with gradual approaches focusing on quick wins and smaller projects.

GitHub makes a case for small automation successes, noting in a recent article, “Whether you’re new to DevOps or migrating from another set of automation solutions, testing new tooling with a small project or process is a great place to start. It will lay the foundation for scaling and standardizing automation across your entire organization, including how to measure effectiveness and progression toward your goals.” 
One strategy that organizations can use to quickly demonstrate the benefits of automation to their teams is finding creative and non-traditional ways to use automation tools. Creative but simple ideas for automating repetitive and manual processes work well to build successes early in the journey.  Some creative ideas include using DevOps automation tools to: 

  • eliminate redundant mundane tasks
  • automate infrastructure 
  • Automate code review
  • create new developer self-service options

How automation benefits developers

Automation provides benefits to developers by creating efficiencies and increasing velocity in speed and processes in a number of ways. Ultimately, automation improves the overall process of building and delivering new applications and the software delivery lifecycle and pipeline. When workflows are automated, processes become more efficient and less prone to error. 

Here are some specific ways that automation improves developer workflows and the SDLC process:

  • Frees up developers’ time and reduces their involvement in repetitive, boring, administrative, or other manual processes
  • Allows developers to spend more of their time on higher-value work (ultimately creating more value for the entire organization)
  • Boosts developer productivity levels 
  • Eliminates bottlenecks and extra red tape that slow down processes
  • Eliminates obstacles in workflows and processes
  • Standardizes processes and responses
  • Builds governance throughout the organization 

Using automation tools for quick wins, quick successes in DevOps 

One of the more challenging aspects of adopting DevOps is orchestrating an organizational and culture shift. Quick wins early in the process can help to establish patterns that can help to build the foundation of DevOps culture and foster confidence in the journey throughout the organization. Some teams have found innovative ways to use automation tools to create quick wins with smaller projects. 

For example, Schneider found creative ways to use the Digital.ai Release and Deploy Toolset to create early successes that enabled their developers to progress. Early wins on Dev teams also help to advance the DevOps process in the entire organization. Effective creative and innovative techniques include automation that takes various manual and redundant processes off developers’ plates and produces immediate efficiencies. 

Some examples of automated redundant processes include: 

  • Automatically update status: when the developer completes unit testing and moves the software to the next level of testing, the status automatically updates (Service Now)
  • Automating notifications when something is ready to test 
  • Eliminate manual status reporting
  • Automate code review, automate security review
  • Automate Azure infrastructure
  • Update and automate change control process to eliminate time-consuming and repetitive emails or updating Word documents

Another innovative technique involves using DevOps tools to create self-service options for developers. Organizations/teams can look at areas where there are bottlenecks and slowdowns and then automate those processes by providing self-service capabilities.

Some examples of innovative automation techniques for self-service include:

  • Git-Hub self-service to manage repositories
  • Kubernetes namespace onboarding
  • User access requests
  • Change request creation
  • Add/update encrypted dictionaries
  • AKS self-service
  • Promoting Jenkins jobs to the active environment

Automate and accelerate with Digital.ai Release 

With Digital.ai Release, organizations can automate manual and repetitive processes, accelerating their delivery processes and reducing risks. Digital.ai Release seamlessly integrates with organizations’ existing DevOps tools such as Jira, Jenkins, Git, Sonarqube, ServiceNow, and hundreds of other tools. A customizable dashboard allows teams to identify additional automation opportunities and increases the overall reliability of software deliveries. 

The next step to success is using VSM in addition to DevOps and Agile in order to boost your software delivery systems. Download our VSM eBook now for the inside story.