Software Factory Best Practices
A software factory is a collection of assets and tools which mimic a traditional manufacturing plant. It follows a set of processes and techniques to develop faster and high-quality software applications. This approach improves the consistency, quality, and productivity of applications and organizations when compared with traditional approaches. Because of these benefits, software companies are now moving into developing software factories.
However, it will be challenging to adapt to this approach while getting the maximum possible business value and keeping the software manufacturing costs under control. There are a lot of best practices you can adhere to and we will discuss key practices which will help your software factory to thrive.
DevOps and Agile principles are at the heart of the software industry which helps rapid and high-quality software development and delivery. DevOps culture makes efficient communication between traditionally siloed Development and Operations teams possible. Much similarly to an industrial assembly line, mainly, in order to maintain an acceptable production speed, and the proper communication between workers, it is important your organization adopts DevOps culture along with Agile software development practices in the first place.
In doing so, you will be able to identify the right topology for your DevOps culture to flourish in the same way traditional manufacturing plants organize their team structures within their cultures for better outcomes. Additionally, identify the right team members including specialized workers as needed and the right team sizes. These practices will help you to develop a more effective software factory.
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Maintaining high-quality reusable assets
Software factories cater to reusable assets like code components and documentations which encapsulate business knowledge and experience. They save developers’ time from unnecessary research, innovation, and training consequently increasing their productivity.
As best practices, organizations need to understand what assets exist to leverage reusability across the organization. When choosing such assets, always look for recurring problems and avoid assets that do not provide a good value to the organization. For example, when developing reusable code, they need to be designed and developed hiding the complexity and eliminating the need for customizations as much as possible. However, there should always be room for customizations when required.
Furthermore, you need to test components like reusable code thoroughly to reduce the risks of any errors to ensure their quality and standard. In addition, always maintain proper documentation about these reusable assets because it saves time and effort of learning how to use them.
Automating Processes And Tasks
Automation is a crucial part of every manufacturing plant to perform repetitive labor-intensive tasks. The same applies to a software factory for faster software delivery. A software factory should automate its every routine task such as continuous integration, build, and release to minimize human intervention and errors.
Many areas of testing such as UI, Regression, Integration, API, load, and endurance testing needs to be automated to minimize bugs at every stage of the production line. Not only that, for successful software factories, automate operational tasks such as monitoring application health and security and compliance. Moreover, AI and Machine Learning can be leveraged for automation to yield higher accuracy.
Thus, you can easily establish quality control at each part of the software factory. When tasks and processes are automated it ensures the quality of the end product, as well as the productivity, is maintained from the beginning. Also, developers have more time to focus on innovative software design and development and to improve their knowledge and master skills further in other areas.
Keep Track of Metrics
Furthermore, at each step until software delivery, gather relevant metrics like performance, usage patterns, etc automatically. From this, you can measure how well the application and the infrastructure perform from the beginning until the end of the production line. These measurements can provide insights into the effectiveness of the processes and find out areas of improvement.
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Continuously Refining The Processes
The other important best practice is that all the organizational processes from software development and delivery to human resources need to be continually improved. Because there can be changes introduced into any of the business processes to improve their capabilities and those changes need to be incorporated at any time.
For example, if a security process needs an update, it should reflect in all components in the software factory. Another example, say the factory’s human resource department introduced an update in the division of labor to improve the work-life balance of employees. Then, you need to assess the impact it has on other parts and change them accordingly. Therefore, your organization needs to continuously monitor for any changes and refine the related processes of the factory without affecting the overall production process. For such constant improvements, it is necessary to have clearly defined processes always in hand.
Conclusion for Software Factory Best Practices
In this article, we have discussed some of the general best practices your organization can follow to optimize software development and delivery more effectively within a software factory context. Software factory best practices are continuous learning and evolving processes. By adopting this concept of software factory itself, organizations can continuously learn what practices specifically for their organization can provide the best outcomes.