As a relative start-up with a very lean development organization, Skopos can’t afford to waste any time in its software development processes, something its Director for Business Applications Michelle Lawson is very aware of: “We were using Git to manage our code. As a start-up our priorities, and therefore our code, were shifting constantly. Rolling back code in a branch situation took far longer than expected and our Git repository would get out of sync, taking hours to sort out again. I soon realized we need tools to help us, not hinder us.”
Lawson had come from a much larger organization where AccuRev had been in use. AccuRev is a software configuration management tool that addresses complex parallel and distributed development environments with streambased architecture to accelerate development processes. At her previous employer, Lawson spent time and effort selecting AccuRev over other options and, following implementation, had seen the productivity of her development team double within eight months. Although the challenges at Skopos were very different, Lawson saw that here too AccuRev could be the answer.
Skopos acts as a data hub between many companies that it partners with to perform various underwriting and loan servicing tasks. As a result, Skopos applications deal with numerous, technologically varied, external integrations. While Skopos’ software development lifecycle is still relatively immature, Lawson employs an agile approach using the Eclipse development platform to build applications based on a micro services architecture. Jenkins and JIRA integrated with AccuRev allowing Skopos to enjoy an end-to-end development and version management solution.
Lawson on the day to day use of AccuRev: “With a small team, it’s imperative we use our time extremely wisely. AccuRev lets us easily change the code stream inheritance and move code around to adapt to changing business priorities. Accurev’s inheritance process is painless since it merges non-conflicting changes automatically. Even when there is a conflict, the process of reconciling is a snap. As we grow, we can develop multiple layers of streams to create a separation of duties between our architects and the deployment team. The pre-promote and post-promote hooks within AccuRev ensure everything happens in the correct order and as the team gets bigger we can allow AccuRev to take over some of these processes.”
With AccuRev, Skopos has the flexibility to set up code review processes, trigger automated integration testing, and stay in full control of deployments. Lawson: “I appreciate that I don’t need to keep to a strict deployment schedule and can deploy from AccuRev whenever I need to. That means we can issue new releases when the business demands it. Rolling an emergency to production and then having that code automatically inherit down to ongoing development and testing streams is an invaluable timesaver over the branching model used by other systems such as Git.”
AccuRev is also used for versioning the code base behind the Skopos intranet and internet sites, including versions of third party plugins that are utilized within those systems. If ever Skopos needs to rebuild these environments, having this record will make life much easier.
As Skopos grows, it will continue to develop best practices and define its software development lifecycle structure. AccuRev plays a vital part in this process and is saving the team time on a daily basis, as Lawson attests: “As soon as we moved to AccuRev our development environment became much clearer. We don’t have any of the problems we used to have with Git and my team can actually get on with their development task which is great news for our productivity levels. I have no doubt that the AccuRev tool is flexible enough to support any processes that we define going forward.”
She concludes: “We had some exceptional support from Micro Focus when we first started working with AccuRev. Because the solution is so versatile, there are many ways in which to set it up. Having a Micro Focus consultant walk through our specific development process and come up with a unique solution was just great and has really set us up for future success.”