Azure DevOps Best Practice Guide

  1. Plan sprints effectively

  2. Define sprint goals, prioritize activities, estimate efforts, track tasks, and create sprint backlogs in Azure DevOps. After each sprint, do a sprint retrospective to analyze the activities done in the sprint. Plan for the next sprint effectively based on the sprint backlogs.

  3. Create a wiki

  4. Creating a centralized knowledge base helps in improving collaboration and communication between team members. Creating a wiki in ADO also stores project architectures, personas, and knowledge base artifacts. Here are some steps to take:

    1. Create deployment documents to guide team members on how to build and deploy applications in the environments.
    2. Create SOP (Standard Operating Procedure) documents to provide clarification on the accountability of team members on the tasks.

  5. Implement Continuous Integration/Continuous Delivery (CI/CD)

  6. CI/CD is a key component of DevOps that emphasizes automation, collaboration, and fast feedback. In general:

    1. Focus on continuous delivery by planning and setting up policies to develop the code.
    2. Secure critical files by adding mandatory reviews for each release.
    3. Validate each build before sending it to the next stage.
    4. Configure pipelines to run environment setup scripts as part of the deployment process.

    Continuous integration can be done through the building and testing of new code, and the following steps:

    1. Create different task groups if multiple pipelines run the same tasks.
    2. Automate quality checks that catch quality issues on the dev servers.

    Advancements in tools and cloud infrastructure have made continuous integration easier than before. Through all this, customers benefit from timely access to the latest release.

    Similarly, there are also steps that are taken for continuous deployment:

    1. Deploy code changes to production automatically once they have passed the necessary tests. This enables teams to release code faster and more frequently. However, it also requires more robust testing and monitoring processes to ensure that issues are caught and addressed quickly.
    2. Store no secrets in the release pipeline.
    3. Upload required certificates and signing keys to secure files.
    4. Identify post-deployment scenarios and run them after deployment.

    Links to setup CI/CD pipelines:

    Overview of CI/CD data pipelines on Microsoft Azure - Azure Pipelines | Microsoft Learn
    Configure CI/CD with Azure Pipelines - Azure App Service | Microsoft Learn

  7. Implement security practices continuously

  8. Ensure continuous implementation of security practices in DevOps by integrating security into every aspect of the software development lifecycle. This should occur from planning, all the way to deployment and maintenance.

    Incorporate security testing into the CI/CD pipeline. This approach enables you to test and detect security vulnerabilities early in the development process. You can identify potential security threats and risks by conducting threat modeling at the beginning of projects.

    Secure Configuration Management (SCM) ensures that all software and hardware configurations are secure and up to date. This includes managing access controls, encryption keys, and other security-related settings.

  9. Monitor the right metrics continuously

  10. Continuous monitoring is the key to ensuring that the software is working as expected. You can continuously monitor the software's performance and progress using burn-down and burn-up charts. These charts provide visual representations of the work completed and the work remaining—enabling effective tracking and monitoring.

    Setting up dashboards in Azure DevOps is another option. Use the dashboards to track key project execution metrics, including capacity, velocity, and other relevant indicators.

  11. Focus on quality over quantity

  12. Prioritizing quality over quantity is essential when delivering software. To achieve this, teams must focus on building software that meets or exceeds expected standards for functionality, usability, reliability, and security.

    By emphasizing quality, teams ensure that the software delivered is more reliable, secure, and user-friendly. They achieve this by:

    • Implementing code review practices through pull requests.
    • Conducting thorough testing using well-defined test plans and test suites.
    • Identifying and addressing issues early in the development process.

    This approach minimizes the need for rework and enables faster and more frequent releases, delivering exceptional software that builds customer trust and loyalty while reducing the risk of errors, downtime, or security breaches.

  13. Focus on concepts first, and then on tools

  14. In DevOps, selecting the right tool can improve the collaboration and efficiency of the team. It helps them to build great software. Follow these steps to optimize your process:

    1. Define your requirements first and do deep research on available tools in the marketplace.
    2. Do the feasibility analysis of the tool based on your requirements.
    3. Check how the tool can be integrated with other tools in the project.
    4. Review all security and data protection features to avoid any vulnerabilities.
    5. Assess the cost matrix to select the product with the best value for money.

    Repeatedly pursuing new tools will force the team to redo the steps mentioned above. That would result in wasted cost, time, and effort.

  15. Put the customer’s satisfaction first

  16. Ensure customer preferences are prioritized throughout the SDLC (Software Development Life Cycle). Begin by gathering customer requirements and regularly seeking feedback from them. Doing this will help ensure alignment and satisfaction from the customer throughout the development process.

    Implement continuous delivery practices to provide value frequently and focus on creating user-friendly software. Continuously collect user feedback through surveys, customer interactions, and collaborative workshops. You can utilize tools such as checklists and templates to streamline the process.

  17. Switch to microservices

  18. Microservices are small services combined to make a larger project. Switching to them will provide greater agility and scalability. Identify the boundaries and plan for the architecture for a smooth delivery of the project.

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