7 Ways to Automate Your Startup's Software Development Process
Starting a business can be challenging, and you'll want to do everything you can to ensure it succeeds. Having as few manual processes as possible is one strategy to improve your chances of success. Your time and money should be spent on creating and selling the product, not moving papers around or conducting repetitive tasks. Of course, some things need to be done manually, but you can find ways to automate many of the software development processes at your startup. Here are 7 of the best tactics to speed up software development.
1. Implement an issue tracking system
If you're starting a software development process from scratch, one of the first things you need to do is set up an issue tracking system. Doing so will ensure that all tasks are logged and assigned in an organized manner so that developers know what they should be working on at any given time. It also helps with tracking bugs and following up on them if they don't get fixed during a sprint or iteration. There are many different issue-tracking systems out there, like JIRA, Asana, and Trello, to name just a few. Depending on the size of your startup team and your demands, each has advantages and disadvantages, but it's advisable to start small before implementing anything intricate or pricey for your company. Plus, once you have your processes nailed down, it might make sense to switch over to a more robust solution as your startup grows.
2. Implement feature branching with Git
If you're not already using Git for your software development projects, now is the time to start. Git is an effective tool that can be used to manage and track changes in your codebase. The feature branching model is one way you can use Git to automate your project development process. Branching allows you to maintain different versions of your project simultaneously, which is ideal if there are multiple features in progress at once or if features take different amounts of time (or if it takes longer than expected). It also simplifies merging since, instead of waiting until every branch has been merged before releasing an update, you can merge as soon as each branch has completed its tasks. Finally, branches allow developers to test features independently without breaking anything else in the codebase—making testing more effortless and less likely to disrupt production.
3. Set up continuous integration
Setting up continuous integration (CI) is a key part of automating your software development process. CI will help ensure that your code is always up-to-date and error-free. Plus, it can help you avoid the potential for human error when manually deploying code changes. Set up an automated test suite before pushing anything live if you have any concerns about the integrity of your code. You should also consider using version control tools like Git or Mercurial so that developers can track each other's work without fear of overwriting one another's contributions. And if you're working with a team in another location, consider hosting the central repository in the cloud or on a networked drive so that everyone has access to the latest updates. It'll be essential to update the list of contributors on GitHub so that everyone knows who did what and when. Make sure to tag all releases so that collaborators know what they're installing, too. Lastly, schedule regular check-ins where stakeholders meet to evaluate their progress and decide whether or not it's time for course corrections or just more fine-tuning.
4. Use feature toggle
If you're starting a software development process from scratch, one of the best ways to automate is by using feature toggle. This gives you control over the features in your software that are enabled or disabled. Additionally, using a feature toggle can help you manage multiple development processes and track progress easily. Here are six ways to use feature toggle in your startup.
- Revert back to older versions: If you need to test an older version of the software, you can easily switch back.
- Switch between branches: Want to see what a feature looks like with another branch? You can switch between branches with ease.
- Check for regressions: You'll be able to check for potential bugs that might have been introduced without having to manually go through all the code.
- Use it as a feedback loop: What if people love your new feature, but it turns out it has some major problems?
- With component testing, you'll be able to revert back quickly and work on improving the problem area while still keeping other parts of the system stable.
- And finally, many startups choose to make changes incrementally over time, so they don't introduce too many changes at once. Automating this process with regression testing will allow you to keep better track of what needs to be done when there are issues and will make it easier for your team members to know where they should spend their time.
5. Reuse library code
- Find and use existing library code whenever possible. By doing this, you'll not only save time, but you'll also increase the dependability of your code.
- Set up a continuous integration server to automatically build and test your code every time you make a change.
- Automate common development tasks like linting, compiling, and testing using a task runner like Grunt or Gulp.
- Write automated tests for your code so you can catch bugs early and avoid regressions.
Invest in UI/UX design and A/B testing tools, so you don't have to rely on developer intuition when deciding what users want. 6. Employ the latest technologies available like webpack, ES6, -React, Redux, Flux, and CSS preprocessors to develop better software faster.
Finally, invest in a real-time collaboration tool to allow teams of developers to work together easily and efficiently.
The Atlassian suite has all these features and many more. With tools like Jira and Bitbucket, you'll be able to communicate better with clients and teammates, track changes, review code before submitting a pull request, find free open source code libraries (like jQuery), install an instance locally for fast setup, monitor key performance indicators (KPIs) remotely using dashboards, and much more.
While some startups may be hesitant about investing in too many automation solutions at once since they cost money upfront, Atlassian offers generous plans with no long-term commitments: If you are unsatisfied with any of their products within 14 days after purchase, they will refund 100% of your money!
6. Use pre-built code
- Automate the build process.
- Use a continuous integration tool.
- Create and use unit tests.
- Use static code analysis tools.
- Implement a code review process.
- Use an issue tracking system.
- Deploy frequently and automatically.
- Keep track of versions with a revision control system.
- Start small with one new technology at a time, then gradually add more over time as they mature and improve in quality.
- Build a team with solid communication skills that is open to change, making it easy for new technologies to be introduced without the need for lengthy explanations of how they work or fit into your processes.
- Make sure you have automated backups of your data, both on-site and off-site so that you're protected against data loss in case of disaster or other problems.
7. Automate regression testing using the Pytest framework
Regression testing can be time-consuming and laborious, but it is an essential step in the software development process. The good news is that the Pytest framework can be used to automate this process.
- Get the Pytest package from GitHub and install it with pip.
- Write your test code in Python
- Invoke your tests by running: pytest my_file.py (or just typing Pytest on your command line).
- Watch as your tests run in succession!