Enterprise Technology

Panacea for Code Integrity Challenges

With the technology landscape undergoing transformation on multiple fronts, it is worthwhile to look at one crucial change that is transforming the way in which multiple teams interact with each other along the Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC).

In the traditional test and development environment, the most critical challenge is a lack of ownership in siloed code transactions. Stand-alone groups of development and test teams with narrow perspectives often struggle to comprehend the big picture due to the focused nature of their roles. Code goes through multiple iterations of development and testing without much value addition when the developer assumes responsibility for software configuration management. The quality of the code also gets affected due to this fragmented approach.As described by ITIL, SCM provides a logical model of the IT code repository by controlling software components and maintaining accurate configuration information.

As an integral part of Infrastructure and Operations Management, Software Configuration Management (SCM) helps avoid the chaos when there is a change in software code (Configuration Items). It also enables traceability of code changes by providing required information about the development states the applications go through in a SDLC. Along with Agile methodology, SCM facilitates the distributed development while maintaining control of the code repository along with the historical data.

Need for a dedicated SCM Team Model

To minimize communication gaps and/or errant communications to the wrong person or group regarding the code transactions in SDLC, it is recommended to have a dedicated Software Configuration Management Team in the development ecosystem.

This SCM team will be responsible for maintaining the code repository and the software build environment. The team should also implement and manage SCM tools and processes that help developers work in their own workspaces and avoid overlap. This would significantly reduce the development cycle time while maintaining the code integrity and tracability.

Pros:

  • Dedicated team for software configuration and application build management
  • Single point of contact for any SCM tool and application build environment related issues
  • More focused approach on continuous improvement on the delivery

Cons:

  • Scarcity of experienced resources with knowledge of SCM and Application Build tools for a diverse development environment

Continuous Integration Model

In a real-time development environment, various developers across the globe commit their code changes simultaneously into the repository. When combined with simultaneous communications regarding application builds, tracking and execution becomes difficult for the SCM team. Using a continuous integration framework, all the application build and related workflows can be automated.

Pros:

  • Early notification of broken/incompatible code
  • Early notification of conflicting changes
  • Quick feedback to developers on the quality, functionality, or system-wide impact of code they are writing

Cons:

  • Initial planning and setup time required
  • Requires a well-developed test-suite to achieve automated testing advantages

Currently, development environments are undergoing many technology and process changes. Still, the most critical challenge is related to communication between teams and lack of ownership. For several organizations, a lack of commitment and effort to address this challenge can be costly. In modern engagements, wherein outcome-based pricing is commonly used, this negligence can lead to escalations — which in turn trigger penalties.

Syntel Software Configuration Management (SCM) leverages people, process and technology to deliver value to clients by optimizing the build and release management process. Our commitment to focused automation helps transform IT development and test environments in client organizations for faster and more efficient deployment.