Having a custom-built software is a privilege. With a little investment, companies can enjoy all the benefits that such technology entails because it has been tailored to their needs. Before however, they start bragging about it, they need to know how to implement it so that there are no delays and extra costs.
Let’s say you’ve already established the details about new software. You evaluated your client’s needs, discussed them with software developers, and have a pretty clear idea of what to expect, and what the final product will be like. This being said, you shouldn’t be worried about anything, right? The worst part is behind you and you can now sit and relax while your new software is being developed.
Unfortunately, you’re wrong. The only thing that’s behind you is the tiny first step into an implementation process. You’ve just found the tip of an iceberg and what’s truly important remains hidden underwater. So dive in to discover ways for better software deployment.
Have a Plan and Stick to It
One of the first things you should be working on is the deployment schedule. There’s no better way to estimate the development process and release date – having a detailed plan is crucial, and it reminds your team to complete various tasks on time.
You should also make a list of your KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) to ensure a smooth process. Key metrics allow you to spot any performance issues. They include database performance, log volume, server utilization, and exception rates. Tracking these aspects informs you where the problem is coming from and makes it easier for you to act on it.
Release Cycle – Frequent Check-Ins and Testing
Without prior testing, you cannot deploy any software. This step is crucial to be involved throughout the process, as often as it makes sense. The common approach in software development is to do a little, review it, and fix the issues or proceed with another “batch”. If you repeat this process regularly, the deployment stage will be much easier and you will be able to react on any occurring issues straight away, which saves a lot of trouble. After all, it’s better to find solutions to small problems than to change the code entirely.
Consider using a continuous integration server. Experts at Entrance indicate that custom-built software requires much more effort than an off-the-shelf solution and testing it after every change ensures the process runs smoothly. CI continuously tests software and the feedback is further collected by teams allowing them to act on it. CD (continuous delivery), on the other hand, prepares the code for deployment.
It is not rocket science that proper communication is essential in a work environment, especially when several teams are involved. When it comes to developing software it is of even greater importance. Questions about solutions will surely be arising throughout the entire development process, and you should make sure they’re answered instantly so that there are no misunderstandings.
A lot of companies use apps such as Slack as the hub of their communication. You can create several channels for various stages of the deployment and discuss issues with staff. This way you’ll be able to monitor the process and adjust timelines, which should be discussed with your client as well.
Automate Whatever Can Be Automated
Automation has been proving to be extremely helpful and efficient in various industries including software development. Try to apply it wherever possible to save a lot of precious time. Automating repetitive tasks will be much more effective than valuable human resources.
The easiest form of deployment automation is the use of scripts, which allows you to implement software across various environments involved in the process. Deploying new versions of software manually is not a smart practice. Implementation is a too complicated process to leave it in the hands of employees. After all, you want to avoid human error at all times.
Sometimes a small change in the code can ballast the central processing unit significantly. This, of course, slows down the system and should be avoided at all costs. That is why monitoring the CPU usage after every tweak in the code is crucial. Keep an eye on it as there may be a way to reduce it or the number of servers for that matter.
Expect Errors and Act on Them
Knowing your error rates is essential. This should be done by collecting data on every issue that has occurred. Errors will occur and you simply can’t avoid them. You should, however, be able to foresee any issues and create a contingency plan. A copy (or a few) of all data and a back-up are absolutely essential in case the system crashes down or there’s any other downtime. Sometimes it’s a good idea to switch back to the last version of the software.
It turns out an error-free software deployment is very rare, if not an impossible phenomenon. Developers and companies need to be aware of the fact that such issues are quite common and should be treated as guidelines rather than failures. The end result of your hard work, therefore, depends on various factors.
You can’t expect a completely stress-free software deployment, but with a little bit of common sense and patience, you can expect a successful release and client satisfaction.