The Best Way to Automate Software Development Cycle Reporting

Celine NabaisLink to author's LinkedIn profile
January 2, 2023
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Automate Development Cycle Report

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Software development is often a long, difficult, and meticulous process, as most of you will agree. In today’s business environment, It’s challenging to create and maintain full-scale high-quality software  without having a diverse and extensive team of developers and  experts relying on software development cycle models to organize and manage this  process. 

Role of reporting and analytics in software development cycle 

As you may  know, there’s a wide variety of software development cycle models. Some of the ones that are most commonly used today are Agile, Scrum,Kanban, Waterfall, Iterative and Incremental, V-Shaped, and Spiral. 

Regardless of the specific software development life cycle (SDLC) used, the whole process has to be divided into a number of phases or stages. Most typically, you would see 5 to 8 separate stages of a software development cycle in one project: 

  • Planning (planning software development isn’t always viewed as part of SDLC, but it is the initial stage of any project);
  • Requirements gathering and analysis;
  • Feasibility study; 
  • Design and prototyping;
  • Coding;
  • Testing;
  • Deployment and integration;
  • Software operations and maintenance. 

We undertook this brief overview of  the fundamentals of SDLC just to illustrate the main point: cross development stack reporting is essential to monitor and improve the software development cycle. A huge number of versatile formal and informal reports are normally generated throughout any SDLC. 

It should also be fairly clear why reports and analytics are such important components of the development process. They are generated as a way to communicate the overall project status to the stakeholders - and in a perfect world, should also be used as a component of the performance improvement process of the development teams. Different teams create reports to exchange information with each other, informing everyone about the progress made, as well as issues and challenges occurring at any stage of the software development cycle. 

Why manual reporting and analytics are still so common in software development 

Large proportion of reports generated throughout a software development cycle are still created manually. Which could come as a bit of a surprise, considering how the trend for automation is rapidly gaining momentum these days, and software development is one of the industries that is  at the forefront of this process. 

Despite this, manually created reports that require developers to use several tools, exporting data into them and formatting it, are very common across different fields of software development. Needless to say, this activity always consumes quite a lot of effort and time, which could instead be spent on more productive work. And frankly, developers hate it, and who could blame them?

One of the reasons why many companies and teams are having a difficult time automating this part of the project work is that the demand for the types and frequency of the reports may vary significantly from project to project and from team to team. Therefore, one-size-fits-all reporting tools rarely meet team specific requirements.

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Why implementing third-party reporting automation tools is a bad idea

Nevertheless, the need to optimize the process of report creation, making it more automated and less time-consuming, is a well-known challenge in the industry. And addressing it early-on, when still in the stage of planning software development process, would be a smart strategic idea. 

The problem is, however, that simply introducing a new third-party tool for automation of reporting in the software development cycle very often doesn’t produce the desired results. The integration of a separate tool into the existing software development infrastructure can itself be a time-consuming process, thus reducing the benefits of adopting it. At the same time, no proper integration with the system means developers would still have to duplicate and arrange the data for the report manually. 

Additionally, there are a number of other issues that typically arise when teams are trying to automate the software development cycle reporting. Problems with sharing reports due to different formats and/or large file size, poor choice of collaboration options, big delays in data arrival leading to reports containing out-of-date information, or simply data not matching between the different connected sources, are some of the most common challenges associated with mainstream project reporting solutions. 

Not only can this lead to erroneous reporting, but it can also generate a fair amount of confusion in your organization… and there you have the “biting back” effect that so many engineering leaders dread.

Automate reports with cross development stack analytics 

Naturally, the alternative to using a separate tool for automation of software development cycle project reports would be to have this functionality integrated into one of the main components of the development technologies stack. 

Based on our own experience and opinions from a number of software development industry experts, centralization of development analytics is the best way to approach this issue today. This is why unified development analytics intelligence platforms, able to aggregate data from all dev tools, analyze it and automatically produce various kinds of reports, are rapidly gaining momentum across the industry. 

Here are several benefits of utilizing such a solution.

  • Increased software engineer productivity as no time is wasted on manual reports;
  • Data from all the tools related to the software development cycle is gathered automatically - and harmonized, for the most powerful ones;
  • All information is analyzed and presented in real time, allowing all stakeholders to access relevant insights about the progress any time. 
  • Any critical change related to the software development cycle can be identified immediately;
  • Team members can simultaneously work on same reports and exchange communication;
  • All software development cycle reports can be standardized to make them easier to review and interpret. 
  • Stakeholders can see only what is relevant to them when they need it, and not just access one-size-fits-all reports where extracting personal value can be time-consuming.

How to automate development cycle reporting with Keypup

As a development intelligence solution, Keypup recognizes the importance of automatic real-time generation of reports and dashboards related to the software development cycle. 

Keypup easily integrates with most popular software development tools - without any effort., providing teams with flexible reporting and dashboarding capabilities.The platform supports automatic creation and sharing of custom dynamic reports and dashboards based on real-time development data. 

83% of developers who tried using Keypup said that it helped them to resolve project tasks backlog and establish timely reporting. While tech leads note that software development dashboards automation with Keypup leads to boosted engineer productivity, resulting in 21% merge rate increase on average in the first month of using the platform. 

Don't take our word for it, try and see for yourself — a free trial of Keypup is available!