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There have been lots of articles and discussion how mobile DevOps practices can be adopted, integrated with existing processes, and even how to make use of resources efficient and beneficial for organizations. On the contrary, there has been very little discussion on WHY mobile DevOps can make a difference to organizations striving to enable their IT, operations and development, to be well integrated with their business goals.

In this article, we’ll take a look what are top reasons for mobile development teams to adopt efficient mobile DevOps practices in order to become more productive with their execution – and WHY this all makes sense for mobile development.

Why Mobile DevOps and What Are The Top Priorities

The discipline for Mobile DevOps requires important technical and business decisions to be usable and to provide value for organizations. In order to get all critical pieces together and enable continuous mobile DevOps workflow the problem and potential bottlenecks must be identified. However, mobile DevOps has its pros to offer and we’ll look at the top ones here:

Mobile DevOps Shortens Time-to-Release

It’s been said that DevOps is about collaboration across teams, something that wasn’t properly managed with the old waterfall types of practices, but actually mobile DevOps is more than that. These streamlined processes – when development and operations come together – can enable organizations to share information between these teams and others and significantly shorten the time from the design-development phase to an actual release.

mobile devops shortens dev and test cycles

These iterative cycles during the development enable more frequent deployment of the code, get new regressions tested, verified and released much faster than a regular phase-by-phase type of process. Continuous delivery for mobile apps is enabled with cross-functional teams that include operations, development, product owners, QA and others. Collaboration is still the epicenter of efficient mobile DevOps and prevents teams struggling complex software and hardware issues later in the development cycle.

Also, mobile DevOps provides a faster path to fix occurring problems with the product. Once features and enhancements implemented for each build are done, the continuous integration phase integrated with proper test setup offers a faster resolution to problems and with integration testing, regression testing and acceptance testing taking a place for each build significantly shortens applications time to release.

Mobile DevOps Save Time and Makes Use of Resources Efficient

Faster delivery of features, new build and updates are achieved when operation environments (development, staging, production) are stable and operating environments work seamlessly for development. This itself makes the entire mobile app development process more productive and helps to maximize business advantages.

One of the enablers for the mobile DevOps process is automation. Automation is available from source code management to development tools and testing, and further to actual monitoring of mobile app in production. For instance, mobile test automation really helps in enabling continuous, frequent and instant releases that can be then quickly integrated, deployed and testing in automation context, and in a timely manner.

Mobile DevOps Enable Creation of Better Apps

More time that is spent on the creation of new features, benefits and advantages for users are simply enabling the creation of better user experiences. The user experience is today’s true differentiator in the competition of the popularity of mobile apps. Only those that enable deliver experiences that users expect can remain the competition. If you think about the competition of similar apps available in the market place, there are barely a few apps that are unique – and if so, the competition is quickly building for those sort of apps.

One of the most important things when doing DevOps is enabling instant reporting and feedback, getting transparent visibility into development and regression testing is very important. This provides mobile teams an easy way to troubleshoot issues quickly, and then fix, refactor and optimize the user experience.

Regarding app quality and enabling better user experiences, building enterprise apps is no different from building consumer-facing apps. Though development and delivery process can be more complex with enterprise apps, the same tools and practices are typically in use by both development-testing (continuous integration tools like Jenkins, test automation frameworks etc.) and operations (native app monitoring products like Bitbar Monitoring, cloud products and performance monitoring tools). While the mobile DevOps workflow varies, there has been a trend of using overlapping products that contain similar features.

Mobile DevOps Provides Plenty of Option with Tools

There are thousands of tools that mobile apps are developed with every day. For any type of feature, there must be a tool that can help to build, test and deploy a certain feature or part of the application. However, for a good reason, certain tools are commonly used by the mainstream. We’ve seen some users that are using more than 40 different tools as part of their toolchain when developing, testing and maintaining their mobile apps.

The good thing, of course, is that there are plenty of great tools available but the downside is that not all of them are functioning well in development workflow where gradually development, testing and operational things should flow across toolchain and improve the productivity. Most of the used tools and mobile DevOps processes that establish the core of mobile DevOps facilitate continuous integration, continuous release, and continuous deployment. Part of this process is application release automation tools that help with packaging and deploying the application from development to production with automation.

These sort of tools aid mobile DevOps flow to produce capabilities to implement continuous delivery for even large number of releases. In addition, release management and deployment planning with every release requiring collaboration across stakeholders. Release management tools allow organizations to plan and execute releases, provide a single collaboration portal for all stakeholders in a release, and provide traceability for a release and its components across all stages of the build and delivery pipeline.

For each and every tool your organization use you need to make sure you’re getting the best performance possible, and operating them as efficiently as you possibly can. As you execute them, the ability to see those executions live as they happen, then collect information about them and optimize your pipeline helps to make the entire process more efficient.

Mobile DevOps Can Dodge Bottlenecks and Inefficiencies

The main idea behind mobile DevOps is to make things efficient, transparent, improve internal communication and help to build better products (apps) faster. When mobile DevOps processes, practices and tools are well aligned, the following bottlenecks and inefficiencies can be avoided:

  • Inconsistent Development Environments. Development environments are consisted of tools, frameworks, hardware and software, that all form the actual development environment. In many cases, it’s mobile DevOps that is responsible to maintain or at least maintenance of the workflow and how different pieces work together.
  • Manual Interventions. When the environment is planned for full automation all manual interventions are bad. Typically, any sort of manual intervention can quickly lead to errors (done by humans) and cause a non-repeatable behavior that impacts the entire workflow.
  • Stability and Maturity of Workflow. The old saying “the chain is as strong as its weakest link” works pretty well also in software development. If you use tools or exercise practices that do not build up the product and distract the actual development (and operations) the results aren’t necessarily what you look to achieve from your effort.
  • Integration of ‘Old Way’ and The New Way. Certain organizations have their habits to do things. And when something new comes up in terms of process, it’s still quite common to drag the old way of doing things with them into the new process. According to various studies, this has been the number one distraction of adopting mobile DevOps and gaining the benefits it can offer.
  • Lack of Operational Practices. Transforming the organization to utilize mobile DevOps practices, new and different approaches to operational practices are required. A new mindset with the management of changes, problems, requests, access and others need a modern way to do things to ensure an agile, transparent and efficient way to tackle those challenges.
  • Old-Fashion (or Manual) Testing Process. Testing and quality assurance are critical in an effort to build better apps and to deliver unique and innovative features as part of those apps. If things aren’t working as expected, the outcome is typically something you would want to avoid all costs.
  • Competing/Misaligned Procedures and Lack of Ownership. This is very common with large organizations that not everyone knows who owns the process, certain pieces of it, and who will be responsible to get it straight. When formulating the right mobile DevOps process for your organizations, it’s worth of considering the ownership and define those clearly.

Now, are your organization inlined well with mobile DevOps practices, culture and does your infrastructure support scaling up? Let us know in the comment section below!

Ville-Veikko Helppi

Mobile Testing Product Expert