Here at Quality Clouds we are firm believers in sustainable CI/CD pipelines. This means embedding quality right at the heart of a continuous process with effective quality gates. QA and testing should be a priority right the way through your SDLC. As should being proactive in technical debt prevention and having an effective release management strategy.
Part of this solution is having the right tools – managing such an intricate process manually is impossible with the resources most companies have at their disposal. And a key part of this toolbox must be quality gates deployed in the right place.
What are Quality Gates?
Quality Gates have long been recognised as an essential part of IT projects. At their simplest, they are a checklist at specific stages of a project. This means you review what you have achieved so far, measure it against certain requirements. If the work is up to the necessary standard then your project can proceed to the next stage. If it doesn’t, then work needs to be done to meet the required standards.
At a very basic level, a quality gate could be a project review which you keep track of in an excel file, or in their more common form they could be a code review. Developers often have their code reviewed to ensure it meets a certain standard before it is approved.
Why are they important?
With many teams adopting an agile approach to software development, quality gating is more important than ever. Agile emphasises speed, responsiveness and functioning software over comprehensive plans and processes. While that undoubtedly has its advantages and can be successfully implemented for SaaS, agile teams nonetheless often run into issues if teams are not careful.
These issues tend to occur the longer an implementation has been around. The lack of focus on planning and quality leads to mounting technical debt in the background which starts to hinder further development. This can lead to the agile team slowing down, missing deadlines and delivering brittle solutions. The responsiveness turns from proactive to reactive, constantly fighting fires and trying to regain control.
It’s in quality gating, and adding the continuous quality to the continuous integration and continuous delivery process, that the solution can be found…
So how do Quality Gates fit into modern development?
As with many solutions in the modern IT environment, automation is the answer. The current business reality sees us asked to do more than ever with limited resources, so time is a valuable commodity. Which is one of the main reasons why agile saw such a massive rise in popularity. Having an automated quality management system does much of the leg work for you. This can ensure you release high quality code while maintaining your velocity.
You can use automated quality gating to set limits on what you will and won’t accept throughout your process. Given that costs skyrocket the longer you wait to fix a software defect this is well worth doing. A defect in production costs more than 6x to fix than one in testing.
What does Quality Clouds offer?
Quality Clouds offers its very own Quality Gates for Salesforce and ServiceNow. This is an optional part of Quality Clouds’ static code and configuration analysis software and is available throughout your process – from initial coding, to build reviews, to full instance scans.
By baselining the legacy best practice issues in an instance, Quality Clouds gives the ability to focus on new issues. It qualifies them against a user-configurable severity and then highlights whether or not the scan passed or fail the quality check. With control mechanisms available for software builds within your SDLC, quality gates can be used as a way to ensure only high quality code enters your platform with minimal fuss. This provides a proactive and preventive way to build a sustainable development process without losing valuable time on manual reviews.
If you’d like to hear more about how Quality Clouds can boost your CI/CD velocity with quality, you can read a case study here. Or book a meeting where you can find out more about how our Quality Gates can help your DevOps pipeline!