Headspring Team at KCDC2019

Left to right: Jimmy Bogard (Chief Architect), Jason Sanders (Client Director), Vasudha Prabhala (VP, Service Delivery), Yogi Aradhye (Principal Consultant)

As first-time sponsors of the Kansas City Developers Conference, we were floored by the culture we encountered there. People flocked from all over, curious and enthusiastic about building better technology.

Our team had the opportunity to talk to individuals across the industry about their unique challenges. Topics revolved around modernization and enterprise architecture—music to our consultants’ ears! Organizations that are pressing towards the future are also experiencing the burden of big change: Not knowing what to do next, grappling with a multi-year backlog, etc.

We learned a lot from three full days of on-the-floor conversations: Namely that developers love free beer—and also Jimmy Bogard. 

Jimmy Bogard Beer Tasting
If you beer them, they will come… Jimmy fans form a Super PAC. Jimmy2020!

But even more important were the common challenges we identified, which span organizational processes and architectural strategies. In our “Top three takeaways from KCDC,” we address the three big questions that came out of our many conversations:

#1 “How do we do DevOps—right?”

Many businesses want to “do DevOps,” but aren’t clear on how do it the right way. Those who haven’t yet started are looking for a set of best practices that cover all aspects of the process—from establishing CI/CD pipelines to implementing automated testing.

Some teams already have components in place, but need the tools to make the processes more sustainable. For example, they don’t know how to integrate with releases, or they’re not familiar with the toolsets that support DevOps. 

If this all sounds familiar, you might want to take a peek at the DevOps Solution Sheet we developed, which is a set of principles and practices based on our experience getting our clients to embed DevOps within their organizations. It offers some expert guidance on how to create a true DevOps culture and scale your efforts successfully:

#2 “How do we optimize our development practices?”

As more and more organizations are moving off-prem and into the cloud, they’re forming an overarching vision of where their applications are heading. That means there’s a greater focus on establishing best development practices that will propel them into the future. 

Junior team members are taking up the mantel and trying to hone their practice knowledge to build more effective teams. And though many organizations understand the importance of Agile, not many are all the way there yet. True agility takes work to achieve!

That’s why establishing a solid foundation is so important, because it gives you the right tools, tests, communications, and checks to optimize development and deployment. Building automation into your processes also creates ongoing efficiencies. 

Establishing this foundation bridges learning gaps. It helps teams develop and standardize methodologies, embedding quality and agility into their practices. We teach these tools and tactics are part of a “mindful onboarding” process that assimilates our junior developers quickly and strengthens the entire team. Read more about it here

#3 “How do we build a solid microservices strategy?”

Microservices is a hot topic right now—and it’s more than just buzz. Organizations that are considering microservices are genuinely interested in being more forward-thinking with their architectures. 

A lot of organizations we talked to though are still on a mainframe, or simply don’t know how to start. Even once you start, how do you sustain success? Testing is a critical part of any microservices strategy. But most people we talked to didn’t have a strong testing strategy in place, or needed help getting buy-in.

Our recommendation is to break it down: You don’t have to dismantle the whole architecture at once. Carving off pieces and developing a strong testing strategy for those parts is much less daunting.

During his KCDC talk, our Principal Consultant Yogi Aradhye revealed a testing solution that helps manage contracts between services, supporting choreography over orchestration. He’ll be posting more on the subject of microservices along with exclusive updates on this new testing tool, so follow him on Twitter!: @yaradhye

A huge thanks to everyone who came by our booth, attended our talks, and swung by for a beer or a Jimmy button. If you missed out on the KCDC experience, we’d love to fill you in on all the learnings and talk about how these takeaways can be tailored to your organization. Drop us a line at info@headspring.com

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