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Silicon Valley weighs speed versus risk in app dev

To explore advanced development practices, why not turn to dynamic tech companies tasked with delivering sought-after software for the industry itself? That was the thinking, anyway, when I agreed to host a panel recently that featured representatives of Atlassian, GitHub, HackerOne, and Rainforest QA.

It was clear from the start that these companies saw themselves as part of the vanguard. For example, all four panelists claimed their company’s developers were immersed in CI/CD (continuous delivery/continuous integration), employed automated testing, and organized their dev organizations into small, semi-independent teams.

The putative theme of the panel was “deploying faster while mitigating risk.” But Derek Choy, VP of engineering for Rainforest QA, kicked off proceedings by laying out the real proposition: Delivering good software quickly is mainly about optimizing processes and properly organizing teams.

Keeping up the pace

Ever since the Agile Manifesto, developers have been encouraged to increase the frequency of delivery as they decrease time to market. But as Atlassian’s head of software teams Jens Schumacher asked, “would we not be creating bugs and problems if we didn’t move this fast?” Echoing Choy, he identified the lack of processes and collaboration as the chief pitfalls as opposed to speed, which actually offers benefits:

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