The Underbelly of the Software Development Lifecycle

No one wants to talk about it and everyone has it. It’s a topic of discussion no engineering organization can avoid, yet most teams don’t have a way to understand and quantify it. Welcome to the underbelly of the software development lifecycle — operational issues, security issues, quality issues, reliability issues, and overall technical debt.

Generally, in the application development process, there are a lot of conversations around features and feature velocity. Yet, in many organizations, quality, performance, and operational issues take up most of the engineering team’s time, leaving very little time for new features.

One of the biggest responsibilities of an engineering leader is to essentially balance the feature velocity and the underbelly. In many businesses, where time to market is of utmost importance, product management is solely focused on the features and customer acquisition. The technical support or customer success organizations on the other hand are mostly focused on customer satisfaction issues. The engineering leader has to bridge these two entities and play a delicate role in balancing these opposing forces.

When should we bite the bullet and move to a new database? How do we ensure downtime is minimized? How can we push back on these new features to fix this growing performance issue? These are conversations I am sure every engineering leader is familiar with.

Understanding the underbelly by extracting themes, articulating the impact of each theme to internal or external stakeholders, and using the impact to strategically prioritize technical debt, is a complex but important problem.

For example, to understand the technical debt of a service in production, we have to intersect data from various sources

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Furthermore, we need to distill bits and bytes of information, into themes and trends, which could be easily acted upon.

We at LevelOps, are fascinated by this problem and working hard to provide engineering leaders with the intelligence and automation to gain visibility into the software development underbelly, irrespective of the color of the technical debt — quality, reliability, or security. We offer frictionless multi-mode deployment and out-of-the-box integrations with most commercial, open-source, and custom tools, irrespective of where they are deployed. Start a free trial and bring data to your next engineering meeting. Contact me at

Written by

CEO and Co-founder of LevelOps Inc. Helping customers ship securely, predictably and reliably.

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