by Samer Fallouh
This is Part Two of our series discussing the modern enterprise. In Part One, we talked about the organizational challenges standing in the way of modern software engineering. Here, we’ll look more at specific modern methods enterprises should adopt to drive successful product development within a digital transformation.
When you use a beachhead to kickstart digital transformation, you can show the enterprise at large that it’s possible to overcome organizational challenges to modernize software engineering.
However, revamping development processes, preparing for management changes, and eliminating fear of failure are all more difficult at scale — that’s why modern software engineering can be so difficult.
It’s not enough just to recognize the organizational challenges. Enterprises must take steps to adopt the modern methods that disruptors use to build successful products. These modern methods will vary depending on the business needs, but there are a few ideas that every enterprise should adopt.
THINKING OUTSIDE THE BOX WITH ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE
When I go to work with a new enterprise client, I appreciate that there’s already a push to adopt agile pipelines and automation. Enterprises are already extending analytics capabilities beyond traditional A/B testing, too.
It’s great to see pipelines, automation, and analytics become more modern even in the most traditional enterprises. Though, modern software engineering means continually pushing further.
Artificial intelligence should be used to find new and unique ways of streamlining agile processes and analytics. Don’t just stop at optimizing processes and systems, though. Every penny makes a huge difference. Using AI to improve internal systems and save money can have a compounding effect across the enterprise.
DON’T LIMIT YOURSELF TO ONE PROGRAMMING LANGUAGE
In the past, you would center an enterprise on a single programming language. Whether it was Java, C, or anything else, the model worked. And for the most part, working around a single programming language still works.
However, modern enterprises won’t force themselves to work just one language. If a situation is more suited for a different language, your software engineering processes should be able to support it.
Enterprises have such deep pools of engineering talent and it’s best to let those employees build their skill sets and learn new languages. When you have a culture of continuous growth, you’ll be better prepared to scale and maintain a modern, global enterprise platform.
Making this work across a massive team of engineers — one that could be considered an enterprise all its own — isn’t easy, but it’s necessary to support modern software engineering.
DESIGN THINKING IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN EVER
With such a large engineering department, it’s easy to get lost in the technical requirements of a project. Don’t let engineering capabilities overshadow the design perspective.
Modern software engineering requires deep integration of design and engineering teams. Let the design team unleash their creative side in the early stages, thinking of ideas to drive business outcomes. Then, have a process in place to shift from the design stage to build stages.
Having design teams involved will help ensure the enterprise remains flexible. For example, you can utilize tools that enable multi-cloud deployments and plan for CI and CD pipelines that don’t rely on single hosting providers. Situations change so quickly now, even in the enterprise. Modern software engineering has the flexibility to maintain agility despite disrupting changes.
THE IMPORTANCE OF SITE RELIABILITY ENGINEERING
While the debate between agile and waterfall continues in certain situations, keeping up with rapidly changing markets requires an agile mindset. But it’s not enough to just have an agile mindset — it’s important to hedge against technical debt, too.
As you adopt an agile mindset, certain tools and processes can keep you from having to rework entire architectures late in development:
- Code analysis for continuous pattern recognition throughout development
- Site Reliability Engineering to ensure stability in production
- Penetration testing tools for security of platforms
Avoid thinking that you can move fast and deal with problems later. Even small problems can break the agile cycle if they’re left unresolved until the end of development.
MAKING THE MOST OF MODERN DEVELOPMENT TOOLS
For many enterprises, this discussion about modern methods often turns into questions about which development tools are best. When you’re so accustomed to legacy tools and processes, the vast number of modern development tools can seem overwhelming.
Which hosting provider is best? Is Visual Studio or Atom a better editing option? Will JIRA work better than Trello for project management? These are just a few possible questions modern enterprises have to answer.
Unfortunately, there isn’t a definitive checklist of modern development tools. The reality is that you may want different tools for different projects and you’ll find that every engineer has personal preferences.
If you’re struggling to narrow down your options, we have a list of the 33 software development tools the Dialexa team uses to serve clients. It’s broken down into the following categories:
- Hosting Providers
- Software Project Management and Agile Boards
- Continuous Integration
- Content Management Systems
- Docker Repositories
- And Miscellaneous Options
Don’t get bogged down in which tools are right and which are wrong. Be flexible and willing to choose the right tool for each new project.
ADOPTING MODERN METHODS IN CONTEXT
Part of the challenge of modern software engineering is organizing the widespread department around the right tools and processes. Simply having an agile mindset doesn’t necessarily make an enterprise modern.
That’s why it’s often helpful to get an outside perspective on your existing methods. The Dialexa team has extensive experience in enterprise situations and can help set you up for modern software engineering that lasts.
If you want to learn more about how Dialexa can help, reach out and hear how our approach fits into the modern enterprise.
Originally published at https://by.dialexa.com/modern-methods-for-building-successful-enterprise-products.
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