Why Freeing Developers Requires Taking Control

Balancing freedom and control in software delivery

Welcome to Part 1 of “Who, What, Where?” a series of blog posts that offer advice and solutions for meeting compliance and security requirements as you develop software at enterprise scale. In this series, XebiaLabs experts cover everything you need to know to take the pain out of audit tracking and reporting. Check out Part 2 here.

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Control and freedom are two principles that come together in life all the time. Whether you’re raising kids, standing in front of a classroom, or coaching a football team, they are there. Control and freedom are like a couple: they need each other, but sometimes there’s tension between them.

Balancing control with freedom is a major theme for us at XebiaLabs. How can we help organizations deliver software faster and help developers build more efficient Continuous Delivery processes—without compromising security, audit, or governance needs? This is a challenge that most of our customers face. It’s also a very relevant topic for analysts such as Gartner and Forrester, and the subject of talks at conferences such as the DevOps Enterprise Summit and DevOps World.

The good news is that control and freedom are not at odds—rather, both are needed to enable faster software delivery.

Control: The Importance of Company Governance

These days, it doesn’t matter what business you’re in: control of your software development practices and application delivery processes is critical to your success. You need to know exactly what is being done, who is doing it, and when it’s happening—whether it concerns development practices, automated testing, security analysis, or release and deployment activities.

Security analysts, IT auditors, government agencies, and your customers require that you have full control over the quality and security of your software. The risks of not doing so are high: huge fines for organizations that don’t conform with regulations, security breaches that put customers and the company at risk, loss of business, and a damaged reputation.

Traditional processes usually require developers to do the legwork to meet security, audit, and compliance requirements, which is a huge burden on development teams. However, the reality is that these requirements must be met. The key is to shape the process so that it supports—rather than obstructs—engineering speed and innovation.

Freedom: Helping Developers Work Faster

To deliver applications more efficiently, developers need freedom from burdensome tasks, such as manually executing security tests, waiting for compliance checks to be completed, and running audit reports. Development teams want to focus on reducing the time it takes to build, test, and deploy software—and for that, they need adequate time, resources, and training to build repeatable release pipelines, to create deployment logic that isn’t hand-scripted, and to automate as much testing as possible.

To give developers the freedom they need, organizations must eliminate the bureaucracy that crops up around corporate governance and put effort into streamlining and automating compliance and security processes. This effort must aim to continuously collect and evaluate evidence as the software delivery process runs. Without continuous auditability, you don’t know if there’s a security or compliance problem until after the fact, when the application is out the door. Developers benefit most from software delivery pipelines that deliver fast feedback—so if any part of the process does not meet security or compliance requirements, the pipeline stops, red flags are raised, and the team can take action immediately.

Convincing Developers that Company Control is Good Thing

The secret to accelerating software delivery is to create a process that gives the organization a huge amount of control but that people perceive as being a system without boundaries. It’s easier said than done, but it’s essential to speeding up your software delivery.

How do you convince your development teams that automated control means freedom for them? By explaining that increasing control is not about controlling developers—it’s about automating tasks and processes that distract them from delivering features faster. When you automate security, compliance, and audit activities, developers don’t have to do them manually. In fact, if these things are really well-automated, developers may not even know they’re happening, or they “forget” about them because they trust the automation.

Automated compliance frees development teams from burdensome tasks and activities that don’t add business value, such as scripting controls into the pipeline and manually running reports for managers and auditors. In other words, the activities they hate doing and that slow them down.

How XebiaLabs Perfectly Balances Freedom with Control

XebiaLabs has built the first automated software delivery system that enables companies to accelerate software delivery by balancing the need for corporate governance with developers’ need for freedom to define and execute Continuous Delivery.

At XebiaLabs, we focus on building features that enable “hands-free governance” to ensure that compliance criteria are met “automagically,” without requiring additional work from development or operations teams. Our goal is to help you build compliance into your teams’ DNA, so it’s something that happens in the background, automatically and continuously.

With the XebiaLabs DevOps Platform’s baked-in security and compliance capabilities, you can:

  • Ensure the separation of concerns and segregation of duties using, for example, strong role-based access control and granular permissions
  • Enable fast feedback cycles and incorporate build breakers by using quality gates
  • Build manual and automated approvals into the release process within the XebiaLabs DevOps platform, or drive them from other tools such as your ITSM system
  • Automatically collect all required data for auditing purposes—from Jira tickets, to Jenkins builds, to Fortify tests, to Terraform deployments in the cloud

Want to see the XebiaLabs DevOps Platform in action? Visit us at Jenkins World, booth #1436, and see how XebiaLabs helps you take control of your software delivery processes while freeing your development teams to deliver high-quality, compliant software, faster than ever.

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Try the XebiaLabs DevOps Platform for free!


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