Automation is finding its way into every part of business, and for good reason. From improving sales processes and marketing newsletters to aiding production and project management, automation simplifies and minimizes tasks, removing some of the stress from your team.
New automation tools are constantly being created to better manage business workloads and complete more tasks efficiently and independently.
One area where automation is particularly useful is in agile workflows, particularly those used by your product developers. In this instance, implementing automation can help make the process more efficient and create high-quality products, improving your quality assurance and solving problems with manual data processing.
However, for businesses not yet familiar with how to use it in an agile workflow setting, incorporating automation tools may be a daunting transition. Here’s our guide to help you implement automation in agile workflows.
What are agile workflows?
Although the concept of agile working can be found in many areas of a business, agile workflows in development are particularly important.
These allow changes and progress to be made on a project by completing multiple tasks simultaneously rather than waiting for one thing to finish before starting the next. This requires a lot of time and task management in order to keep track of what’s been done and how far into the project you are.
Working on different tasks simultaneously allows your teams to identify issues sooner and make changes to the project as you go along.
Since you’re constantly reviewing your progress and where your team is with various tasks, developers are able to reflect on the product using agile testing and discover where improvements could be made. This helps to ensure the best version of your final product, having been tested and reviewed throughout the project.
5 ways to implement automation in agile workflows
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Automation can assist your agile workflows in various ways, helping to improve your team's efficiency and the standard of your final product.
Whether or not you already use automation in your business, these are some ideas of how you could implement automation tools. Start by adding one or two automation processes and gradually implement more as you become familiar with how they integrate into your workflow.
1. Bug fixes
With software products, your development team needs to keep an eye on the performance of the application, spotting areas where bug fixes are needed or improvements could be made. Generally, these changes will wait until the next update, which could be a week or month away depending on your software’s schedule, even though the updates tend to be simple fixes.
Implementing automation to assist with your bug fixes can resolve repetitive problems that require easy fixes. When they arise, your automation deals with the issue instantly, meaning your users don’t have to wait for updates for the bug to be sorted. By managing these issues, automation takes the stress off your developers, so they can focus on any major bugs.
There’s a range of testing involved in agile workflows, allowing your teams to review their progress and make improvements as they go along. Automation can complete these tests without interrupting your team, for example by testing with different call center staffing models to see how the software works in practice or isolating different units and testing their functionality.
Automation also helps to increase the accuracy of your results, as you can program your tests to be repeated with precision and follow your instructions exactly. This takes human error out of the equation, avoiding the wrong files being used or your team forgetting to highlight issues. When it comes to releasing your software, you can be certain that it meets your standards.
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Testing covers a variety of aspects of your software, including the application programming interface (API), the graphical user interface (GUI), the load and performance, as well as the individual components. A lot of these tests can be repetitive and developers need constantly updated results to ensure they’re working, making testing automation ideal.
3. Security checks
Both developers and users want to be sure that their data is secure when working on and interacting with the software. Implementing automation can add to your security, alerting your team to any breaches and filtering out potential spam or harmful bots. If there’s a particular risk you’re aware of, you can adapt the programming of your automation to target that risk.
Furthermore, adopting tools like Privileged Access Management (PAM) automation software will help you replace cumbersome manual tasks with automated processes to remove administrative busy-work for developers, as well as streamline credential management, bolster security and improve policy adherence.
4. Data comparison
To review whether the changes made to your software are working as well as your team’s efficiency, you need to compare the performance before and after.
Automation can collect information about your software as well as user experience with your team, focusing on metrics such as average handle time (AHT) in the call center or bugs reported within a specific period.
The data collected can then be displayed to show the changes over time and when the software performed at its best. As your automation can be used to store previous data, this can be brought up to compare directly with the live results.
You may also use your automation to highlight data that is similar or completely different, aiding your developers in their data analysis.
5. Searching files
Building software requires a lot of files to be available. Naturally, this becomes more complicated the more files there are to search through, particularly after cloud migration.
To avoid searching through all your file destinations, automation can find files quickly by using filters to identify what you’re looking for. You can also set up automation to recommend files to your developers based on recent searches or relevant tasks.
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Improve your agile processes with automation
Whether you’re well established in developing software with an agile workflow or are still new to the scene, automation can improve your processes and reduce your workload.
By performing repetitive tasks with high precision, automation frees up more time for developers to focus on other aspects of your software, whilst still reviewing and improving as they go along. In addition, more of your workflow can be done simultaneously whilst being tracked.
There are many automation tools available to choose from. If you already use automation in your business, finding tools that integrate with your existing systems or new technologies for software engineering that you use may help.
Adding lots of automation to your workflow at once can be overwhelming, so focus on one tool at a time to allow your team to become familiar with it. From here, you can build up to automate your agile workflow.
Need more help? Check out the Zentao blog. They have more articles on project management, software management, building cross-functional teams, and so much more.
Author bio :
Grace Lau - Director of Growth Content, Dialpad
Grace Lau is the Director of Growth Content at Dialpad, an AI-powered cloud communication platform for better and easier team collaboration. She has over 10 years of experience in content writing and strategy with features like dual phone numbers in Dialpad. Currently, she is responsible for leading branded and editorial content strategies, partnering with SEO and Ops teams to build and nurture content. Grace has also written for other domains such as Codemotion and Bplans. Here is her LinkedIn.