Application development is the stage of application lifecycle management where planning stops and work starts.
But good application development is about more than just coding. In order for a team to produce a high-quality product, businesses must still give thought to things like coding standards, review checks and DevOps best practices.
In this article, we will explore:
- The vital role that application development practices play in an application lifecycle management (ALM) assessment.
- What good practices should look like.
- How we assess those practices as part of our technical due diligence report.
6 Ways to Assess Application Development
Our ALM assessment sees us analyze the processes, people and tools a company uses in their application development practices in the following areas.
Coding standards are a set of rules and best practices for specific programming languages that help developers create cleaner, more readable code.
There are a lot of coding standards out there, and development teams need to be using them. Unfortunately, a lot of teams still don’t have coding standards in place or, if they do, they have them filed away in a folder where nobody ever looks at them, says Bill Clerici, CEO and partner at Kingsmen Software.
Coding Style Guidelines
Coding style guidelines are not as strict or as rigorously enforced as coding standards, but development teams should still have established best practices that tell developers how to go about things, says Bill Clerici.
A good style guide will tell programmers things like acceptable naming conventions, code formats and ways to store source files, explains David Carty, site editor at TechTarget. “A programming style guide can also set the course for easy adoption of new language features, or simply maintain consistency across many teams and projects.”
Code Quality and Reviews
Code quality checks and regular reviews are essential to deliver an excellent end product. Processes should be in place to check code prior to pushing and all the way up the pipeline during production.
Technical Definitions of Done
How does the software team know when requirements are met and features are fully developed? They have a technical definition of done.
We expect developers to be able to explain exactly what this definition is and see processes in place that make it easy for teams to understand that requirements have been met.
Object Oriented Best Practices
Object-oriented programming is a software development model that organizes design around objects rather than functions and logic. It’s become a fundamental part of programming, which makes it essential for teams to adopt object-oriented best practices.
The benefits are significant, says Randy Costner, head of engineering at Kingsmen Software. Modular programming makes it much easier to troubleshoot issues, reuse code and solve problems faster.
DevOps Best Practices
DevOps is a set of best practices that shortens the development lifecycle and provides continuous delivery through things like automated build and deployments and continuous integration.
Automation is essential, and it’s one of the most important things we analyze when carrying out an ALM assessment. A lack of automation is one of the biggest application development issues we see time and time again.
Without automation, everything will keep falling over, says Bill Clerici. One developer will manually push builds, another will compile code on their machine, and a third will push code into production. When something goes wrong with the code, the company will have three different versions and no way to trace them back.
Assess Application Development With Kingsmen Software
Our analysis of application development is one of the most in-depth parts of our application lifecycle management assessment. We score each of the six disciplines above on a range from good to bad, color-coding them on a heatmap so investors can see at a glance how their acquisition target performs.