Top 5 Tips and Tricks for Better Development Lifecycle

According to Forbes, software developers are essential as businesses embrace digital transformation. For developers, the successful implementation of a software development life cycle is essential to the success of a project and future deployment. In the software development world, the Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC) helps flag errors during app development. It provides a plan for getting everything right from the onset. In this post, you can learn about the top 5 tips for a successful development lifecycle.

Secure software development lifecycle (SSDLC)

In software development, security is an essential component that affects the functionality of any application. With secure software development life cycles, developers have access to a collection of the best practices that focus on including security to the standard SDLC.

Creating a secure SDLC process demands dedication and effort in each phase, from a collection of requirements to deployment and maintenance. It requires a change of mind in the development team to focus on security at every project stage rather than focusing only on functionality.

With dedication, development teams can address security issues in the SDLC before applying the application to production. It reduces the likelihood of finding vulnerabilities in the app and helps decrease the impact if found.

The aim is not to eliminate traditional security checks like penetration testing but to add security to the responsibilities of the developer while at the same time empowering them to develop secure applications.

Create a workflow

It may seem trivial, but it is important to have a workflow. Generally, workflow refers to the process a company follows to do things. Usually, software development tasks go through various phases before they can be declared complete. Software development also has several stages, among them planning, reviewing, producing, and deploying.

Context notwithstanding, the context should be clear and explicit. Today, some tools allow customization of workflow. After creating a workflow, look for bottlenecks and inefficiencies. To do this, look out for:

  • Painstakingly slow stages in the workflow or where work is piling up
  • Tasks that re-open after they are marked as done
  • Dead tasks - tasks that are killed before they are classified as done

If the process is transparent, it becomes easier to see anomalies and deal with them.

Clear your backlog

As a developer, it is easy to fill your backlog. Refining a backlog helps pay attention to what is important while keeping up with less critical pieces of work that come from various quarters. It is common for a software developer to have a backlog containing many tasks that will never materialize.

It is better to split the backlog into near-future work and work you may do someday. To avoid distractions from low priority work, keep them on a separate backlog. The someday backlog includes tasks that will attract attention in the future. Such a backlog includes interesting ideas as well as low-priority features that do not need immediate attention.

However, the backlog should not be a junkyard of tasks that will never see daylight. Often prune the backlog by deleting tasks that seem unfeasible or irrelevant. The someday list should be of manageable size and not an ever-expanding list.

Maintaining the backlog makes it an invaluable resource when choosing what to work on during software development. The phrase “less is more” applies to backlog management. So, no need to worry about deleting something important - it will come back if it is important.

Clear definition of done

In software development, the definition of done (DoD) is the acceptance criteria for ensuring that when tasks are completed, they are truly done in terms of functionality and quality. The definition can be in terms of rules such as:

  • Implemented feature
  • Passing unit tests
  • Up-to-date documentation
  • QA review a feature
  • Code is part of the master branch
  • Code is in production

The definition ensures every team member understands what exactly it means to be ‘done.’ It removes ambiguity. Without a clear definition of done, it would be hard to know if the developer did the core coding section of the work or if a feature is ready for use.

Having a clear completion criterion decreases the ping-pong effect that arises when QA repeatedly re-open complete tasks because of unmet criteria. It is faster to spend extra time finishing a task once instead of continually revisiting it multiple times.

After agreeing on the definition, it should prominently be visible to all development team members. If possible, it should be somewhere near the visualization of workflow. The DoD forces developers to structure their work habits and processes to decrease work in progress and rework old tasks.

It forces a developer to think about what they are trying to achieve constantly. A clear definition of done helps articulate the value a development team adds to the business in terms of outcomes.

Control work in progress (WIP)

In software development, multitasking interferes with efficiency. It is akin to overloading any system, with the result being a decrease in total output. As well, overloading developers with work slows their throughput and increases the number of defects.

The more a person multitasks, the longer it will take them to finish one task. To avoid this, consider having WIP limits to the workflow. Start by reducing cycle times by having lesser tasks in progress at the same time. For instance, a rule that limits the number of tasks in progress per developer to two makes it easier to complete tasks faster. It is true since there is less context switching.

What’s more, as a developer, there will be less hassle and task juggling. Happy developers deliver better quality work. However, setting WIP limits should not indicate that a developer cannot start a new task before completing the current tasks. The WIP limits should serve as guidelines instead of being absolute rules.

Nevertheless, as a developer, when you go beyond the WIP limit, try to understand how that happened and how to avoid it in the future. If tasks often get stuck as WIP, it may indicate the task size is too large. So, consider breaking the task down.

Top 5 Tips and Tricks for Better Development Lifecycle
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