Low Code Development Platforms and Continuous Delivery

23 November 2018 Authored by Consultancy.uk

Low Code Development Platforms can compliment Agile Methodology delivery, supporting collaboration and transparency throughout the application development lifecycle. First Consulting has worked with a range of organisations in the UK on the implementation and application of Low Code Development Platforms. 

Low Code Development Platforms (LCDPs) provide an environment that individuals can use to create application software through graphical user interfaces and configuration, instead of traditional computer programming.

First Consulting, a consulting firm that specialises in business and technlogy, is an expert in implementing LCDPs and building associated applications to deliver benefits for their clients, in partnership with Mendix, a leader in the field. These platforms enable the business to engage a wider range of stakeholders in the application’s development, including those without formal programming skills or experience. This facilitates collaboration and sharing of information between business users, as well as improving the transparency of the process. Ultimately this enables the accelerated delivery of an optimal business application which realises benefits faster.

DevOps

DevOps, on the other hand, is a fundamental value-adding delivery methodology for LCDP solutions and underpins modern Agile development; it promotes closer collaboration between lines of business, development and IT operations to improve agility and reduces the response time to customer feedback. The term DevOps has emerged from the combination of ‘development’ and ‘operations’ engineers, working together throughout the development process and into production support. 

One of the main benefits of DevOps, and the origin of its speed to market, is the use of Continuous Delivery. Continuous Delivery is a software development practice championed by First Consulting in the use of LCDPs: any changes that are made are tested, pushed to a non-production testing environment and are then ready to be released for production at any time.Continuous Delivery - the eight principles

Continuous Delivery: the eight principles

Based on the firm's experience in the field, experts at First Consulting provide eight principles for roll-out:

1. Repeatable and reliable process for deploying software
In order to ensure easy deployment of the software, it is important that the same release process is used in all environments to help maintain consistency in a highly fragmented deployment process.

2. Automate everything
Manual processes are commonly time consuming, prone to human error and less efficient. It makes sense for organisations to create automated processes that can perform repeatable processes faster, with greater reliability, accuracy and consistency.

3. Keep everything in version control
A key aspect of continuous delivery is to store all development, deployment and testing aspects of the application in versioned storage. The use of strict version-control ensures a stable foundation for creating processes, with each iteration used to focus on performance and efficiency.

4. If it hurts, do it more frequently, and bring the pain forward
It is important to deal with the time-consuming or error prone tasks first; the repeated application of these problematic procedures will enable faster detection and repair of the underlying issue.

5. Build in quality
The underlying feature of continuous delivery is to identify and eradicate errors within the code as quickly as possible. Short feedback loops to developers ensure bugs are detected as soon as they appear, enabling faster production of quality code.

6. Done means released
It is vital for continuous delivery that there is always a clear definition of what the final version of the software should be for production. This removes any ambiguity and improves communication, helping everyone to reach and deliver the agreed upon final version.

7. Everybody is responsible
One of the greatest changes in recent times to software development is the mitigation of the conventional ‘silo’ way of working. The boundaries between the processes and development departments are no longer visible, with everyone working alongside one another. The old common saying of “it worked in my area” need no longer be relevant, with everyone involved taking full responsibility and accountability throughout the whole process.

8. Continuous Improvement
Continuous improvement is the most important principle that prevents you from falling behind with the ever-evolving advancements and changes in technology. Continuous improvement ensures that you constantly monitor change and improve your processes to match it.

Realising the full potential

"At First Consulting we help our clients achieve the full potential of Low Code Development Platforms by working with them to build their own ‘Continuous Delivery’ capability. We ensure that there is alignment across the goals of the project and the business strategy, and that the solution is solving the ‘right’ problems," explained Jon Nelmes, Managing Director of First Consulting UK.

He continued, "We look at process design and optimisation to ensure that there are no barriers to communication and that everyone is clear on their responsibilities, which helps to maintain the most effective ways of working throughout the project. Utilising our Low Code certified consultants, we are able to build and test applications in an exceptionally collaborative way, and then provide the training to help clients become autonomous in running their own sustainable capability. These services help us to lower the initial cost of setup, improve training and accelerate delivery of applications for our clients."

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