Evolution of development process


If you've followed our series on the evolution of IT, you know that we still need to talk about how the development process has changed over the years, which is where we pick up today. Improvements in the development process have shortened the time to create software and decreased fragmentation between different departments in a company.

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The 1980s to Late 1990s—The Waterfall Method

In the 1980s, developers worked sequentially. Each step of the process must be finished before the next could happen, and work always occurred in the same order, earning the name "waterfall method". In this method, developers outlined requirements before designing, coding, and testing their products. Maintenance followed. Because of this, development was quite a lengthy affair, and needs often changed before they finished software. Communication between developers and other was typically sparse, if it happened at all. The limitations led companies to seek more flexible methods.

Pros of Waterfall

  • Clear goals
  • Defined structure

Cons of Waterfall

  • Rigid
  • Poor communication
  • Costly

2001—Agile Methods

Changes arrived in the 1990s when developers moved toward agile software development. We saw a rise in communication between developers and other departments and even customers. The process became more collaborative. Development itself focused on iterations and frequent adaptations that decreased the time required to produce software, and documentation took a backseat to functioning software. These ideas were all outlined in 2001's Agile Manifesto that included 12 principles of agile development.

Two particular methods, Scrum and Kanban, were especially popular. The former outline teams that created and owned software and utilized metrics to ensure agile development. Regardless of the method, agile development typically meant cost savings because it took less time.

Pros of Agile

  • Responsive
  • Flexible
  • Saves money and time

Cons of Agile

  • Decreased understanding
  • No predictability

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2010 to Present—DevOps

While agile software development was certainly an improvement over the waterfall method, there was room to further streamline the process to save time and money, a must to beat the competition. This brings us to the 2012 conception of DevOps was conceived by Alanna Brown at Puppet. Under DevOps, software development is even more collaborative because the people who use and troubleshoot software work closely with developers. DevOps means more than a change in development. It also changes the surrounding culture and organizational structure. Central to the ideology is communication, learning from failures, increased information flow, and welcoming new ideas.

The development life cycle has shrunk even more thanks to DevOps, which also reduced the time between fixes and software products' failure rate. Organizations that employ DevOps might even release daily updates, known as continuous delivery. DevOps employs automated testing and system monitoring to achieve some of these goals as outlined in the CALMS model. Yearly reports detail the state of DevOps and the state of DevOps over the past 12 months, and companies can use this information to develop software more efficiently and even improve IT performance.

Pros of DevOps

  • Collaborative
  • Shortest development cycle
  • More stable environments
  • Increased productivity

Cons of DevOps

  • Requires organizational change
  • May decrease security

A variety of tools can help developers abide by DevOps best practices. IronWorker can further help companies scale up and spend less while relying on DevOps practices. Start your free 14 free IronWorker free trial today!

Evidence suggests that DevOps is and will continue to be an effective development method. However, an increasing emphasis on data could change the face of software development. Whether we use DevOps in the future or another method, it's clear that speed and efficiency will be prioritized


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