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DevOps and continuous assessment: How to continuously improve your apps

MichaelGarrett

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I’ve written recently about various on-ramps to DevOps, including continuous testing and continuous deployment. In each area, HPE Software Services teams have helped some of our enterprise customers improve their go-to-market time while also improving application quality and business productivity.

But the DevOps journey goes much further than continuous testing and deployment. For true end-to-end DevOps, you must practice continuous assessment, creating feedback loops through all your DevOps disciplines:

  • Test to development
  • Development to test
  • Operations to test and development
  • Planning and portfolio through all phases

The idea is to make continuous improvements, no matter where you are in the application development cycle.

It’s through continuous assessment that you’ll get the KPIs and performance metrics to demonstrate results from your DevOps initiatives. Here are a few ways our customers are using continuous assessment tools and methodologies.

 

Continuous assessment is essential for mobile apps

On a recent flight, I saw a woman using an app on her Apple Watch to check in at the gate. Apps are increasingly essential to business success. As we’ve written before on this blog, an “app store mentality” is transforming IT.  

The rising importance of mobile apps means that enterprises need a way to monitor performance and get actionable intelligence very quickly. A mobile app survey from Dimensional Research reports that 49% of users expect an app to respond in two seconds or less. If an app takes too long to respond, users abandon it. And there goes your customer.

Because mobile is so important to your future, it’s imperative that you find a way to get feedback back to development in a timely manner. In the mobile space, our customers are using tools like HPE AppPulse Mobile to understand how their users experience their apps and then make changes to improve customer satisfaction.

 

KPIs and continuous assessment

The importance of continuous assessment extends beyond mobile apps. In our experience, CIOs are very interested in continuous assessment. They want to know things like, “How do I know DevOps helps me? Can you give me some sort of matrix to show me if testing is the problem? Or a way to see that my development is okay, but operations has issues?”

The need for DevOps metrics has led us to develop recommended KPIs in key areas. We’ve organised these metrics into the following three categories:

  1. Velocity: Measure the rate at which your organisation can deliver software change
  2. Quality: Measure how well the software change being delivered meets business requirements and performs satisfactorily
  3. Productivity: Measure your organisation’s capacity and efficiency in  delivering software change

Within each category, we provide detailed KPIs—a key part of continuous assessment. When we’ve worked with customers on continuous assessment implementations, we give them a high-level dashboard to see where the issues are.

For example, one company we worked with had significant issues in production. They wanted to understand why they had so many issues. They used continuous assessment on the operational side to understand incidents. Using HPE Big Data solutions they were able to trace down to the specific module and the dev team that produced it to say, “This is the most troubled area.”

 

End-to-end insight

Whatever area of DevOps you look at, continuous assessment provides insight from beginning to end.

  • In development you can see how frequently developers check in, how frequently they deploy, how much code they check in, and so on.
  • In testing you can see frequently they build and how many defects are created and assess the test data coverage.
  • In operations, you can see problems and incidents and understand the source of the problem.

Increasingly customers are looking for ways to pinpoint issues and troubleshoot incidents faster. Continuous assessment is how you do that.

 

To learn more read our white paper on DevOps metrics: Measuring DevOps success. Or check out our video: Break down siloes and improve app releases with DevOps.

 

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About the Author

MichaelGarrett

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