6 Threats to Development Team Productivity

Productivity rates are critical to success in any industry. That is true of software products, too, that not only need to be efficiently produced but secure from cyberattacks as well. If you’re considering how to improve your software team’s productivity, then you will want to know the top threats impacting software development team productivity and how to solve them. The following paragraphs address six of them.

1. The Need for Speed

The enemy of quality software development is often the unrealistic and impossible deadlines set by project managers. The sleight of hand happens this way: In response to client requests, managers often press developers for delivery estimates. They often push for the lowest possible delivery estimates. The mistake they make, though, comes when they consider those delivery estimates to mean delivery deadlines agreed upon by the developer team. Managers pass along the “deadlines” to senior management, leaving developers feeling stressed, and leading to the developers’ inability to perform at optimum levels.

It comes down to managing the client’s expectations. Take the time to make sure that the client understands that a slower work pattern due to rigorous testing results in a better quality product. That communication and understanding can make a world of difference for the development team.

2. Poor Code Quality 

Poor code quality appears in various forms. It may mean code that is difficult for other developers or team members to read and therefore affects the ability to make necessary changes. It may mean that the development team rushed to meet deadlines and, in doing so, released the software without testing and without fixing any bugs that existed, or that they could have prevented.

Poor code quality decreases production agility and impacts the project’s development over the long-term. Code quality is positively impacted by:

  • Following code standards
  • Testing code
  • Selecting a project manager to monitor project quality.

3. Outdated Technology  

Updated technology helps employees do their jobs more efficiently, saves valuable project time, generally keeps customers satisfied, and provides businesses a leg up over their competitors. Successful development teams have the modern tools they need to work quickly and securely. 

Price Waterhouse Cooper (PWC) conducted a study of 12,000 people in Canada, China, Hong Kong, the US, the UK, India, Germany, and Mexico. The participants worked in roles ranging from the C-Suite to administration and in various industries. PWC found that 90% of C-Suite Executives believe they take into account the technology their people need to do their jobs. Only 53% of their workers said the same. And while 92% of the C-Suite Execs were satisfied with their company’s experience with the technology provided to carry out the most important projects, only 68% of their workers felt the same way. It’s easy to understand the disconnect. When technology fails, C-Suite Execs hand the problem to someone else to solve. The worker bees are left to deal with the aftermath of outdated technology.

4. The CI/CD Pipeline 

As the name implies, the CI/CD Pipeline consists of two components: CI and CD. Continuous integration (CI) refers to the software development practice that requires frequent code checks during software development and producing small code changes as the team discovers them. It also requires integration among the various tools and platforms developers use when developing code. 

Continuous delivery (CD) is the automated delivery of application packages to the various environments that form the substructure of the production process, such as testing and development. CD automates the manner in which code changes make their way to those substructure environments.

Both CI and CD require continuous testing in a combination of regression, performance, and other rigorous tests while the software product is within the CI/CD pipeline (that series of required steps before software delivery to the client).

CI/CD DevOps practice often uses continuous code change deployment through the CI/CD pipeline to production and passes the builds directly to the production environment. CI/CD DevOps practice means better code quality and better communication among team developers.

5. Secure DevOps

In today’s increasingly digital world, cybersecurity is a challenge all industries face. For software companies, cybersecurity is not just a challenge for clients after they buy the software package. Cybersecurity infiltrates every aspect of software development and requires that software companies incorporate security measures at every development step, such as:

  • Concept inception
  • Design
  • Builds
  • Testing
  • Release
  • Support and maintenance.

Naturally, developers want to distribute code quickly. Speed does not help, however, if the code deployed is insecure. Without application security scanning in place, DevOps can launch vulnerabilities directly into the software. Many times security is not addressed in the process until the end of development. There is also a tendency for developers to “workaround” security controls and that merely results in bigger problems. Secure DevOps seeks to close the crack between development and security.

Automating security testing early in the development cycle gives the developers the opportunity to spot code flaws before the code leaves their desks. Secure DevOps moves the process toward speedier delivery of source code.

6. Vulnerability Testing

With today’s intense focus on cybersecurity, a vulnerability assessment is a critical step in software application security. A vulnerability test pinpoints risks, threats, vulnerabilities, and countermeasures. Automated vulnerability testing has distinct advantages over manual testing.

Automated vulnerability testing can take the form of one-time scans or continuous scanning. The scans may use a SaaS model or a stand-alone, on-premise model. Automated vulnerability testing gives businesses the ability to scan and block bad code. Vulnerability testing helps developers make their code as efficient and secure as possible.

Kiuwan’s code security solution scans code using SAST technology (White Box testing) to analyze source code and to identify where the code is susceptible to cyberattacks. The product conforms with strict security standards, such as the Open Web Application Security Project (OWASP) and Common Weakness Enumeration (CWE).  Code Security recognizes all the important languages and integrates with all DevOps tools.

One-time scans perform best for security audits. They provide 1-5 scans and base pricing tiers on lines of code. One-time scans also provide customers with technical support.

Continuous scans provide an unlimited number of scans and are best for continuous monitoring of security. Continuous scans provide technical support as well as the integrated development environment (IDE) plug-ins, lifecycle management framework for software (from inception to the end of life), and CI integration.

In addition, Kiuwan’s Insights product automates security at the component level as it helps reduce the risk from third-parties, fix vulnerabilities, and monitors license compliance.

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