Continuous engineering is an iterative process for product development that accelerates delivery and accommodates mid-stream changes. Instead of rejecting changes mid-project, it enables developers to embrace change while still maintaining rigorous quality control. Continuous engineering is also part and parcel of the revolutionary DevOps engineering process.
All that said, what exactly does continuous engineering entail – and what is its impact? Continuous engineering is the future of product development, so you need to know how it works and how to employ it in your organization.
What is Continuous Engineering?
Gartner predicts that in 2024 30% of IT operations management will be refocused from support to continuous engineering. What does this mean?
Continuous engineering is a development approach that converts product requirements to product features as quickly and as often as possible. It enables smooth and efficient progress from concept to creation – and the ability to respond in real-time to changing market conditions.
This type of continuous engineering is a necessary response to today's changing environment. To remain competitive, companies need to deliver new products and features on increasingly shorter time schedules – and to be flexible enough to adapt to change in real-time. Continuous engineering enables shorter product development cycles and increased frequency of deployments, all the while ensuring robust and reliable releases. It helps speed time to market for increasingly complex products while efficiently managing cost and risk.
Continuous engineering is an iterative process, that embraces constant change via techniques derived from lean engineering and agile development. Instead of employing a traditional sequential series of steps, continuous engineering involves repeating steps between related activities, often in parallel. This way when new requirements are introduced, the process does not have to restart at the beginning. Instead, the new requirements can be incorporated into the latest iteration.
Impact of Continuous Engineering
Continuous engineering has a considerable impact on the way new apps and products are developed and delivered. There are six essential benefits.
Less Obtrusive Code Changes
By updating code continuously, each change can be small and easily digestible. The days of huge and problematic code changes are a thing of the past; only small chunks of code are changed with each iteration.
Increased Fault Isolation
If and when errors are introduced with new code, the damage is limited in scope because of the relatively small amount of code that was changed. This fault isolation reduces the risk of updating, making systems easier to maintain.
Because smaller code changes lead to easier-to-detect fault isolations, the average time to fix any broken piece of code is dramatically reduced. This results in faster mean time to resolution (MTTR), which means you recover from failures faster.
More Rapid Releases
Continuous engineering means faster product updates and releases. Instead of waiting on a fixed release schedule, you can now release updates as fast as necessary.
Increased Customer Satisfaction
With more rapidly updated features, more reliable updates, and fewer and smaller faults, customer satisfaction is bound to increase. Customers also tend to prefer smaller, less intense updates to more disruptive larger ones, which is part and parcel of the continuous engineering process.
Reduced Costs and Increased ROI
By minimizing errors and speeding time to market, continuous engineering significantly reduces your product development costs. The continuously improving quality of code will result in a noticeable increase in ROI.
Challenges with Continuous Engineering
No new technology comes with out challenges. There are a few challenges to integrating continuous engineering, and these include:
- Poor performance. To avoid potential poor performance, learn from your data, do software development housekeeping, analyze risks, and know the limitations of your tools and technology.
- Flawed tests. Flawed tests can prevent accurate recognition of bugs. To solve this challenge, stet up the right processes, take test results seriously, and test optimizations thoroughly.
- Unreliable security. Security is especially important during the chaos of production rush. To prevent security risks, do the job with fewer security privileges, and maintain security hygiene.
Use Cases of Continuous Engineering
How is continuous engineering used in the real world? Here are four key examples, all Encora clients.
Logistics Industry + Continuous Engineering
Encora's client, a leading logistics and shipping company with global operations, was inefficiently special handling " incidents" in its operation. Embracing continuous engineering improved incident resolution time and operational efficiency.
Real Estate Industry + Continuous Engineering
Movoto is an online real estate agency that needed to streamline its increasing number of core assets. Continuous engineering enabled the company to quickly improve the digital experience for both home buyers and brokers, as well as provide more focused analytical insights for management.
Healthcare Industry + Continuous Engineering
Encora's client, a specialized United Nations agency, found its response to the COVID-19 pandemic constrained by its non-integrated legacy systems. The agency employed continuous engineering processes to create an integrated platform for rapid response and quick communication across borders.
Travel Industry + Continuous Engineering
Switchfly, a leading provider of loyalty solutions for the travel industry, found increasing demands on its core technology platforms overwhelming. The switch to continuous engineering helped the company refactor legacy code to improve platform reliability, revamp existing products, and accelerate the pace of new releases.
How is Continuous Engineering Used in DevOps?
Companies like Encora employ continuous engineering alongside DevOps services to improve agility and reduce response time to shifting market conditions. To remain competitive and responsive to customer demand, product development must be accomplished on shorter schedules. By coordinating development and operations and employing continuous engineering, Encora can help you shorten your development cycles, improve time to market and deliver more robust and dependable releases.
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