March 11, 2020

How low-code can power your Agile DevOps teams – WaveMaker

In the 13th Annual State of Agile Report, 97% of respondents report that “their organizations practice agile development methods.” 22% of the respondents said that all of their teams are agile. We don’t need evidence to show that the adoption of agile methodologies for software development is on the rise. Look around you and you’ll find that everyone is going agile in one way or another.

An important reason teams adopt agile practices is it helps accelerate software delivery—it changes organizational processes and steers teams towards technology excellence. In fact, that’s how the agile movement began. The principles of the agile manifesto set development teams up for success in the fast-paced modern world. It encourages teams and leaders to welcome changing requirements; build projects around motivated individuals; communicate face-to-face; and plan for sustainable development.

Alongside these mindset shifts, the practice of agile also needs a fundamental transformation in the way teams are organized. Bringing business people and developers to work together throughout the project was the first direct challenge to the plan-build-run model. This has been the foundation of IT organizations of the previous generation.

Plan-build-run, the predominant model of the waterfall development era, broke IT into three units. The planning unit included the business people, responsible for strategy, demand planning, financial management, etc. The build unit performed software development. And the run unit took care of operations and maintenance.

As the agile movement gained ground, the plan and build teams came closer, bringing major changes in how teams formed and worked. Agile development teams were cross-functional and often self-contained, in that they can develop and deliver a product all by themselves. In agile teams of today, business and IT teams are often co-located, making it easier to communicate face-to-face. Unlike the waterfall era which enabled extreme specialization, agile teams are made up of ‘generalizing specialists’, that is software professionals who have specialist skills in more than one area and a generalist knowledge in software development and the business domain. It would look a bit like this.

In most agile teams, operations are still an independent silo, leaving much room for improvement in the software delivery process. As a solution to this problem, we see DevOps taking shape since the last decade, especially among agile teams. The agile manifesto says “Deliver working software frequently, from a couple of weeks to a couple of months, with a preference to the shorter timescale.” To do that, bringing together business and development teams alone is hardly enough. Enabling frequent delivery, which has since come to be known as Continuous Integration/Continuous Delivery (CI/CD) needs a closer collaboration between developers and operations as well. A modern agile DevOps team would look like this.

If you’ve ever tried to build an agile DevOps team, you’ll know this isn’t an easy cocktail to brew. Bringing together a cross-functional team of motivated professionals to deliver great quality software, consistently in short delivery cycles, needs more than just intent.

What you need is a low-code application development platform designed to accelerate development processes for agile DevOps teams without adding to the cost of efforts needed in doing so. Low-code application development is the process of using development environments with Graphical User Interface (GUI) and pre-built configurations, instead of hand-coding software. Low-code is distinguished by:

  • Visual programming
  • In-built integrations and pre-fabs
  • Out-of-the-box security tools
  • Development and deployment automation

In essence, low-code platforms abstract and automate a significant part of the application development lifecycle.

How Low-Code Can Transform Agile DevOps Teams

Accelerate development by empowering developers, whatever their skill level

The fundamental change a low-code platform can bring to application development is that it makes it easy and convenient for developers across skillsets, including citizen developers and non-technical developers to write code. It eliminates the need for ‘specialists’ and enables ‘generalizing specialists’ to perform all their tasks..

Even for complex tasks requiring specialized skill sets, a low-code platform can enable you to be a self-contained team, democratizing application development. It also helps build reusable components, making them easily available for enterprise teams through the platform, and making it significantly easier and quicker to scale.

Accelerate development and shorten delivery cycles

Whether you are modernizing legacy applications or building state-of-the-art apps, low-code will expedite your coding process, by allowing your developers to use a simple drag-and-drop interface that will auto-generate code. Out-of-the-box widgets, templates, and native UX for mobile apps in line with best practices and design guidelines ensure consistency across applications and teams.

The common platform also brings business and development teams on the same page for feedback, iteration, and improvement. This will accelerate staging and testing cycles, by offering a visual prototype of the application in progress, improving collaboration and cooperation.

Streamline deployments

A low-code platform can enable instant multi-cloud deployment across public and private clouds, and on-premise. With a singular shared code-base, it can also enable cross-platform mobile app deployments, while maintaining code quality. It can offer innovative release management possibilities, version control, high availability, application portability, and a lot more. Through deployment automation, a low-code platform can streamline your deployments and give you better control over your application.

Ensure better security and governance to your application landscape

In a world where applications are constantly under attack, enterprises can no longer afford to consider security as an afterthought. A low-code platform integrates security protocols throughout the application development lifecycle such as authentication, authorization, certification, security architecture, auditability, performance monitoring, etc.

Enterprises focused on application development are moving towards agile DevOps to address the challenges of bringing complex ideas into reality. As the agile manifesto recommends, “To empower individuals, give them the environment and support they need, and trust them to get the job done, without compromising on consistency and quality of code across hundreds of teams deliver software rapidly without investing in large development and operations teams. Harness the change required to gain a competitive advantage while also ensuring utmost security and governance

A preferred solution to address these challenges is low-code platforms. By abstracting and automating complex development and deployment tasks, a low-code app development platform can accelerate your application development without compromising on quality, security, governance, and scalability.