Hey, devs! Today we want to talk about your development workflow. How’s that going for you?
It’s not breaking news that your development workflow requires a solid toolkit and strong coordination within your team. You need a consistent routine to be agile whatever the deadline or the client’s last-minute change requests.
That being said, it’s always kind of a big deal to deliver a good quality product, whilst juggling all the unexpected events, the resource shortages, and of course the tight deadlines.
So why do we like it so much? Because we are developers, and solving problems is what we do! That plus creating awesome products of course… And taking care of our clients’ issues.
Before we go further, let’s be very clear: Keypup does not ambition to replace your current apps, to break your habits, or even to tell you what to do to improve - not at all! We are developers ourselves, and frankly - we don’t like other people telling us what to change or how to do things more than we do.
Every team has its working routine depending on the projects they are working on and that’s just fine.
Keypup is however a helping hand to optimize your development workflow - and get you some precious development time back. We offer a new way of cleaning up the mess around pull requests by providing you with clarity in your software delivery process… and also some automation here and there, that can help you stay on top of what matters, and be overall more productive.
So - time to show you the best of Keypup features. We bet they’ll help you decrease your day-to-day struggles as a development team, a freelancer, or even a software agency.
Whether you need us or not, we’re pretty sure you’ll take something away about workflow optimization by the end of this article. Challenge accepted? Let’s go then.
Analyze your SDLC and know where your pain points are
The software development life cycle (SDLC) comes with a series of processes and steps that your team has to meticulously follow. Of course, even if the cycles follow a chosen pattern, each one is unique due to the project particularities. From planning to deployment, each step is tailored to collaborate efficiently with all the project stakeholders.
But what if a step takes more time than anticipated? What do you do to recalibrate your schedule?
So here’s a start. Identifying your gaps will help you focus on bridging them. Where do you lose time? What can be done faster?
To achieve this “audit”, you need a broad view of your workflow. There are a lot of tools that allow you to see your team’s progress but only a few allow you to have a bird sight view of all opened pull requests and issues from the viewpoint of a developer, that is - yours. It’s like sailing in a sea full of icebergs and not being able to control your trajectory (and that didn’t end up so well for Leo…).
Kind of frustrating. We know… more than you could imagine!
Sometimes things don’t go the way we want and we lose time going back and forth between apps and people. Pointless meetings missed deadlines and a lack of communication between development teams (or within) lead to delayed delivery.
How does Keypup help? One view, all your tools connected and their data aggregated, and multiple development items in the pocket. Plus some nice-and-easy bulk actions. Read on!
A powerful toolbox is already a good start
Using the right tools to develop is essential. But because no tool is perfect, we tend to resort to quite a few of them. And too many tools can be extremely confusing and generate a lot of spam.
So it’s all about finding the right tools and the good balance between them. Or having one that can help you orchestrate them all (see where we’re going, right?).
We figured out that there were a lot of collaboration tools, development tools, and software tools to carry development projects. But only a few were providing enough visibility for the developer to action items rapidly and get rid of the white noise to focus on their own activities.
So we designed the Priority Inbox. What is it?
The Priority Inbox gathers all items in one centralized feed. It’s like a big control tower where you can get all pull request statuses, discussion feeds from all your apps, and recommended actions sorted in criticality order. It shows you only what you can or need to action. The rest is parked. That’s a lot of noise sorted already.
It basically fetches your data from your git repos (GitHub, GitLab, Bitbucket) and associates them with your PM tool data. The good thing about the Priority Inbox is that the UI is clean, you can effortlessly access what you need at your fingertips. Here you can see any updates, comments and link your issues to pull requests. Our app integrations lead to the most effective collaboration you have ever seen (no kidding).
The best part is that your data is dynamic, you don’t have to cross-post your actions because it will be automatically disseminated in your tools.
So if you use combos such as Jira and Bitbucket or Trello and Gitlab, all you need to do is to connect your apps in Keypup and enjoy an overall view of all items. It especially comes in handy if your team is handling several projects at the same time (which is pretty common).
What about an Agile collaboration?
Speaking of teams, you might have implemented an agile process for your developments. It’s a great way to optimize your workflows because Agile is about breaking down projects into small steps (sprints, retrospectives, stand-ups…) to control each milestone, facilitate client feedback, and help the team deliver more effectively.
A good Agile team has to be inclusive and know when the members need more support. You don’t do Agile for the sake of it or because the PM said so. If you want to optimize your development workflow, you must choose the Agile solution that matches your work pattern.
Well, at least that’s the spirit...
At Keypup, we believe that Agile has turned into a whole lot of process, adding meetings to meetings and taking time away from actual work. The current agile tools are not bringing much value to developers (they’re turned out to be more “let’s micro-manage developers” tools than anything else) so we created one.
We designed an Agile board in the Keypup platform. It’s a bit like your Priority Inbox except your activities are organized in boards. You can filter the board to see either your own development data or your team’s. The big plus here is that you do not need to take time to move cards to reflect progress. Our engine does that automatically for you, in accordance with what happens in your repos.
The board is completely editable, you can implement your scrum or your Kanban settings, making it a flexible Agile tool rightfully adjusted to your workflow.
Get a nice development assistant that works for you
It’s the last step! On top of having an agile-friendly platform that beautifully displays all your data, you get to adopt a development assistant that works for you because another way of optimizing your workflow is to identify the tasks that can be automated.
That’s right. Your very own, smart, quiet development assistant.
Having an automation process facilitates the detection of bugs before they become a much bigger issue. Also, it avoids stale pull requests that could have been merged earlier. The more you automate these tasks, the more time you have to focus on your code (or something else mind you).
You can perform several remote actions from Keypup’s personal assistant (which little name is Keybot).
For example, you can link your issues to pull requests so that you can have an overview of everything your pull request addresses. Trust us, this feature is a lifesaver if you have to handle dozens of PR at the same time. You can also comment on specific items that will automatically be updated in your usual tools.
Need to merge a pull request? Keybot got you covered. He sends Slack notifications when an action is required. Ask him to merge green PRs for you, he’ll do it with pleasure! You can also ask him about the progress of your project so you don’t have to jump across apps to find the answers. A true assistant.
There is more about Keybot! He sends a daily digest of your top priorities straight in your mailbox so that your team starts on the right foot and focuses the efforts on the hot topics. Nice, right?
Wrapping up your workflow optimization strategy
You don’t need a magic wand to optimize your workflow - and that’s good news! After identifying the gaps in your software development life cycle and choosing the right tools for your team, you’ll get a more precise vision of what’s to improve.
You can constantly optimize your workflows depending on what you are working on. Consider it an ongoing process. One thing for sure: you can always count on us to help you through with it. There are a lot of features now in Keypup, so feel free to give it a try (yep, you get a free trial, and we even have a free-forever plan), or to ask us for a demo.
If you have identified other pain points in your development process, we’d be happy to connect and chat about it with you anytime! You can contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Interested in Keypup? Get started for free.
Photos from Marvin Meyer and Leon on Unsplash