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How we are implementing innovations in our Agile software development process

Magic Console and couple of Chatbots for distributed software development teams.

marketing manager at DIGITALOUTLOOKS Yuriy Lozinsky May 21, 2016

The introduction of the innovations is considered to be mature for companies as a part of an overall strategy, and added value is required when working with the IT-outsourcers as well. The most effective way to get the innovations as an added value of the cooperation with IT-outsourcer is to hire an appropriate IT-company which facilitates an atmosphere of innovation among its own employees and development teams. By the level of the innovations' infiltration into operations of IT-outsourcer some conclusions could be made on whether the concept of "Innovation" which is declared with a marketing message or real basis and an outlook of development teams.
Our company, like any other business, also has some routines and challenges, and we start innovative progress from ourselves.

Magic console

During implementation of the MicroServices architecture or any interaction using REST, we create a simple REST API representation console.

The main purpose of this tool is to reduce the time spent by distributed software development team on consideration of the changes in particular REST-service API. The functionality of this console increases with the set of product features, it allows to detach the work of frontend and backend software developers, as well as to test the functionality in early stages.

For Integration Projects managed with DevOps, Kanban and Lean methodologies, our software development teams prefer the writing of a code in order to build a REST representation console instead of creating specifications. The second advantage is the elimination of unnecessary activity in the Agile software development process and human factor of business analyst's role, which positively affects the final cost of the project.

For SCRUM projects it would be efficiently to use Postman or similar 3d party Rich REST Client software.
After that, in both cases, the best way to describe the API we consider automatic generation of html-document using Swagger or similar tools.

Chatbots for distributed development teams

For routine communicational processes our Agile software development teams use such tool that is mostly convenient for the –°ustomer. Generally it appears to be one of the messengers. Recently, traditionally used Skype comes short to more technological solutions, such as Telegram, which offers the possibility of using chatbots.

One of the two our implemented chatbots is Gitlabot. This robot notifying to the software development team that one of the team members has made a commit in GIT repository (GitLab). Creating such a chatbot is not difficult, in case if you are using a source code repository manager which enables creating a hook to the event.

The second chatbot is called Cibot. This chatbot is created for notices to the software development team of action, when the committed functionality has already been deployed on Development Environment with the help of continuous integration (CI) tools. This chatbot appears to be more complicated of his "colleague" and is unique for each project, as the Continuous Integration procedures depend not only on the technology of implementation of the software, but also on the chosen framework.

The above-described process improvements are aimed primarily at reducing overheads and costs for daily communication in distributed Agile software development teams when developing, implementing and supporting of the software solutions. According to our measurements, such small improvements make it possible to increase the efficiency of the distributed software development team and reduce the overall budget of the project up to 3.5%.

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