Avoiding Nightmares During the Handover

Closure of a project is marked by the handover, which involves the transfer of power and authority from one team to another. This crucial aspect of software development demands meticulous planning and execution to ensure a successful outcome.

As professionals in the field of software development, we frequently collaborate on diverse projects and teams. To ensure our productivity and efficacy, it is imperative to have a well-structured onboarding system in place. Careful management is imperative during this process, which may be time-consuming and present certain obstacles. Therefore, it is essential to undertake the requisite measures for a smooth assimilation into a new project or team.

The said elements comprise of:

  • Documentation of the project and its infrastructure.
  • Accounts and subscriptions pertaining to the project.
  • Rules and regulations concerning the product, and so on.

As engineers, we frequently invest considerable effort in devising novel features and augmenting the existing ones, overlooking the possible outcomes of a future handover. This lack of foresight might exacerbate the handover experience, making it rigorous and uninviting.

As a DevOps Engineer, I was recently entrusted with overseeing a handover process, and I have since been ruminating on this topic. My primary objective was to aid in the process and ensure a seamless transfer with negligible interruptions. However, there were some problems that could have been avoided if the handover had been dealt with earlier in the project timeline.

To ensure a successful transition, I would like to share with you some of the insights that I gained during the handover process and how they should be implemented from the initiation of the development phase. I am convinced that this measure will ensure a more efficient and hassle-free transfer.

Stick to the basics

The software architecture might become more intricate as the product’s scope expands. While this may be inevitable in some scenarios, engineers must endeavour to minimize such complexities to the extent possible.

It is effortless to make anything overly complicated; true creativity involves discovering methods to make something genuinely complex appear simple. – Charles Mingus

Overengineering might impede the progress of a project by necessitating an unnecessary outlay of time and resources. If the project’s scope appears to be veering towards chaos, it is advisable to partition it into more manageable units. Instead of trying to reinvent the wheel, it is recommended to employ pre-existing services or Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) to facilitate the product’s development. Check out our blog on Reasons why software developers need knowledge of multiple languages.

When it comes to video conversations’ hosting and financial considerations, it might be tempting to develop your own service. However, this alternative is not the most judicious decision. Existing options like Twilio or Google Hangouts possess a proven track record, saving you significant amounts of time, money, and energy. Ultimately, choosing the latter option is the more sound decision.

Detailed records of everything are essential.

Comprehensive documentation has always been a top priority for software developers. Generally, projects with detailed documentation are easier to understand and maintain.

In the absence of comprehensive documentation, an intricate codebase can overwhelm a new developer easily. It is impractical to assume that everyone can comprehend the thought process of the original developer. Even experienced programmers find it challenging to comprehend their code if it lacks appropriate documentation or if the variable and function names aren’t self-explanatory. However, with proper documentation and descriptive variable and function names, navigating the codebase and identifying and fixing bugs becomes more manageable for a developer.

The absence of paperwork is making it increasingly challenging to obtain approval. – Wietse Venema

Attempting to work on a codebase without documentation is akin to being provided with a raft but no compass and being expected to reach a destination within a restricted time frame. To avoid such a daunting task, it is imperative to create a well-organized and comprehensively documented codebase that is easily understandable. Such a measure would enable developers to promptly detect and resolve any problems that arise with ease.

It is highly advisable to document any additional services being used, allowing the newly assigned team to make modifications with a comprehensive understanding of any interdependent components that might be required.

Implement efficient work methods and adhere to current standards.

For any programmer employing a specific language or framework, complying with established procedures and best practices is imperative. Such adherence enhances efficiency and simplifies maintenance efforts. Certain technologies benefit from these practices to guarantee their consistent use, leading to widespread acceptance of such procedures.

Obeying the processes and guidelines recommended by the development community can significantly simplify collaboration on your codebase by other developers. While thinking outside the box may be necessary for certain initiatives, ensuring that the process is documented and consistent remains vital. This guarantees efficient cooperation amongst all stakeholders engaged in the project.

Establishing a precise set of rules and regulations and adhering to them strictly from the initiation of the development process to its deployment’s culmination is crucial. Such adherence ensures optimal outcomes and fosters collaborative cooperation amongst all team members throughout the entirety of the project.

Employing best practices is advisable to ensure that only high-quality code is released to users, and necessary upgrades do not cause significant interruptions in service. Incorporating best practices guarantees that users receive the most secure, dependable, and efficient code. Furthermore, it minimizes the likelihood of any major service disruptions when system upgrades are essential.

Utilize a “Wall of Separation”

In the field of computer science, Separation of Concerns (SOC) is a design concept that advocates dividing a program into separate units, each addressing a distinct issue. This approach enables the development of a comprehensive system that is simple to maintain and modify as program requirements change over time.

In the regular application development process, this technique facilitates the efficient division of complex tasks amongst teams, creating a more manageable application. Consequently, it will lead to greater operational efficiency and reduce conflicts between teams.

The separation of concerns concept is exemplified by microservice architecture, which divides a monolithic program into smaller, self-contained components that can be combined to create a functioning software system. One practical example of this concept is the Django applications, programmed using Python.

The separation of concerns is particularly advantageous regarding application hosting infrastructure. It is advised to maintain a clear separation between production and research and development funding to avoid contamination within the production environment while facilitating streamlined management of both areas. This approach mitigates risks and consolidates administrative functions associated with managing production and development funding.

Avoid utilizing personal login information or accounts.

In this day and age, implementing continuous integration is critical for any professional, particularly a DevOps Engineer. We believe that trialling different technologies related to monitoring, logging, deployment, testing, etc., is of utmost importance. In several instances, creating multiple accounts is necessary when the service cannot be hosted independently.

In general, we use a unified account for all our projects to prevent potential complications. This method offers benefits, including a centralized dashboard that simplifies management. However, it may be less effective when transferring projects to third-party groups.

Heroku offers an account migration service for users. Nevertheless, this service is not available to everyone, necessitating the tedious and time-consuming approach of creating new accounts and adjusting associated services for some.

We suggest creating separate accounts for each project to prevent potential problems. By confidently storing credentials in digital vaults like LastPass, it is simple to assign responsibility for individual accounts to team leaders or technical officers by granting them access to the appropriate folders containing the credentials.

Strive to automate as much as feasible.

In the present world, applications heavily utilize a diverse range of external services to ensure seamless operations. While manually maintaining these services is feasible, it can be a burdensome and dull job. One such example is Amazon Web Services (AWS), which offers various software development services that can be manually provisioned if required. Nonetheless, in scenarios of infrastructure failure or corruption, this method can be problematic since it is challenging to replicate the precise environment, leading to downtime and decreased productivity.

Amazon Web Services (AWS) has introduced remarkable tools that simplify service provisioning using configuration techniques, such as CloudFormation. This potent service presented by Amazon Web Services empowers users to author and manage their cloud infrastructure as code. By utilizing Infrastructure as Code (IaC) methods, users can effortlessly establish and maintain production, development, and staging environments by executing scripts and commands. Furthermore, the cloud service provider community has developed tools dependent on CloudFormation that further enhance infrastructure versioning and rollback.

Here are some resources at your disposal:

  • Ansible
  • SparkleFormation
  • Terraform
  • Chef
  • Puppet

I regret to inform you that once you undertake the process of automation, it is irreversible.


Create code of exceptional quality.

My coworkers and I occasionally jest that writing code is similar to writing poetry; it must be created to impress the computer. It should be uncomplicated, eloquent and possess a structure that is simple to comprehend.

An anonymous source once said to envision the reader of your code as a psychopath who knows your whereabouts.

To make handoffs seamless for both you and your team, it is crucial to plan ahead and develop your applications with handoffs in mind. The following options can aid in this process: – Develop an effective communication system between team members. – Use a shared project management system to guarantee that everyone is on the same page. – Execute a standardized development process. – Invest in appropriate tools and technologies to ensure smooth handoffs. – Record all procedures to guarantee consistency. – Incorporate automated testing to verify quality.

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