A few years back, I was part of a group of developers who sat together in a small conference room. We met to brainstorm ways to increase the speed at which we were shipping product features for LeanTaaS, a Silicon Valley software innovator that helps hospitals and health systems increase access and lower cost through predictive and prescriptive analytics.
A bottleneck was identified — LeanTaaS developers were operating with one test environment in which one instance of the application runs at any given time. When multiple developers were working on different application features, each would take turns to put their feature in the test environment for testing their functionality in their microservice architecture. This limitation was significantly blocking developer productivity.
We started thinking about how to make each of these feature development cycles go in their own swim lane. We asked the question: “What if every Jira ticket (feature) is a git branch so every branch can be in a separate environment?” That conversation led to the idea of creating an on-demand feature-specific working environment.
We asked the question: “What if every Jira ticket (feature) is a git branch so every branch can be in a separate environment?”
In today’s highly competitive business environment, releasing a fast-paced flawless application is essential. Moreover, continuous delivery and faster time to market are equally important to stay ahead of the competition. This is where the on-demand feature environment comes into action. An on-demand feature environment is one in which ad-hoc features can be tested without any dependencies.
Read on to discover the top five efficiencies we identified with an on-demand feature environment:
1. More Testing Opportunities
The on-demand feature environment can be easily configured to unleash various quality assurance and testing opportunities. It allows performing cross-browser testing to ensure that the product is able to operate seamlessly on different devices and browsers. By facilitating usability testing, it helps address usability issues before the release. Moreover, it also provides opportunities for accessibility testing to ensure that the product can easily be accessed by disabled individuals.
2. Increase in Productivity of Developers
The on-demand feature environment provides developers with opportunities to develop multiple features environments as per their requirements. The ability to generate new servers is a significant feature that developers like about the on-demand feature environment. Without having to spin the servers through manual tasks, developers can easily create feature environments and enhance their productivity.
3. Reduces Barrier for Peer Code Review and Feedback
It can be quite challenging for developers to review the code of others. It interrupts their entire workflow and requires them to pause what they are doing to review the peer code. However, this situation can be enhanced with the on-demand feature environment.
The running brand of the feature environment enables the developers to easily verify the peer code and provide appropriate feedback. It allows the developers to proceed directly to the deployment preview instead of restarting the development server or checking out any file.
4. Faster Delivery
Faster time to market is key to the optimum success of a product. Releasing a product in the market before others can help businesses gain the competitive edge. The on-demand feature environment helps ensure faster delivery of the products.
With these environments, developers avoid the worry of deploying untested features or cherry-picking features for testing. An on-demand feature environment makes certain that all the features are aptly tested as they are integrated with the main branch. This ensures that all the features operate in the desired way and enables a successful release.
5. Saves Time and Money
A single staging environment remains available ‘round the clock on dedicated servers, resulting in resource wastage. However, this can be prevented by leveraging the on-demand feature environment. These environments are only available during the pull requests. Once the pull request gets closed, the on-demand feature environment automatically shuts down, thereby allowing a significant savings of both time and money.
Better Solutions Through Innovation
Gathering together a group of talented developers helped solve for a tech organization’s “Holy Grail” – a faster “go to market” strategy. These brainstorming sessions resulted in greater agility, effectiveness, quality and a better bottom line. Any organization can follow these five efficiencies using an on-demand feature environment to help your business succeed too.
LeanTaaS provides software solutions that combine lean principles, predictive analytics, and machine learning to transform hospital and infusion center operations. The company’s software is being used by over 100 health systems across the nation which all rely on the iQueue cloud-based solutions to increase patient access, decrease wait times, reduce healthcare delivery costs, and improve revenue. LeanTaaS is based in Santa Clara, California, and Charlotte, North Carolina. For more information about LeanTaaS, please visit and connect on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
Feature image via Pixabay.
The New Stack is a wholly owned subsidiary of Insight Partners, an investor in the following companies mentioned in this article: LeanTaaS.