About 3 years ago, SecureLink began modularizing their monolithic codebase to create more flexibility within their products. Over the 17 years previous, they spent their time building new products and features but that meant their existing codebase became increasingly unwieldy.
As they began making changes to the code, however, he realized he needed a way to measure the team’s progress – He wanted to know if the extendibility, flexibility or the understandability of their code was improving over time.
After multiple attempts at finding the right solution, Joel discovered the understanding and visibility he needed with Sema’s software solutions.
Updating the core of their code
While the SecureLink team had been continuously updating and growing their codebase, the basic structure of the core was over a decade old. This meant that updating and adding products was both frustrating and inefficient. To quickly and effectively update and extend their code, they first needed to modernize the codebase and give it the flexibility needed for future expansion.
To reach this goal, the team first needed to measure the results of the work they’d already been doing.
“We didn’t really have a way to understand the depth of the progress we’d made, it seemed like we were doing a good job and doing the right thing, but we didn’t really have a way to measure if we were actually fundamentally impacting this codebase that had been around for so long.”
Gaining data, but still lacking code insight
With this need for greater understanding, Joel began looking for a reliable way to monitor their progress and success. He attempted to track the information himself but quickly realized the level of complexity required more time than he could spare.
Next, he turned to a developer productivity-focused platform that offers insights into software engineering. As he used it to analyze SecureLink’s projects, however, he grew frustrated with the limited data he received.
“Other solutions showed that our developers were working, but that didn’t really mean much, it told us that there was a lot of activity within our codebase but didn’t give us any other information we could use. I don’t really care that much about activity metrics if they’re not useful.”
While this approach showed the amount of work completed by each team member, it didn’t analyze the quality or usefulness of the coding. Without insight into each developer’s work and strengths, Joel struggled to assign each team member to the project most suited to their skills. Their small team of developers continued to update the codebase, but Joel felt they were working blind.
“We had all these intuitions, guesses, and thoughts on how we’d like to organize the team and what we would like to do with our codebase, but we had no way to measure what we were doing”
Third Time’s the Charm
After discovering Sema and conducting a pilot analysis with their software, Joel knew he’d found what he was looking for. Joel sent Sema a project he was particularly confident his team had done a good job with and wanted to see if they agreed. He was excited to learn that Sema quickly measured the codebase’s functionality, analyze developer skills, and validate the work they’d done so far. What took Joel and his team months to figure out, Sema accomplished within days. For Securelink’s next project, they’ll have this information coming into the project, when it’s most helpful to them.
“This thing that we knew we were trying to do and that we were fairly confident we were accomplishing, Sema confirmed it,” Joel said. “It was a good way to justify all the effort that was spent on it — you guys made us feel good about ourselves.”
Looking to the Future
Now confident they’ve found the right partner, Joel and his team have continued updating and expanding their products. Armed with Sema, they now have the tools they need to measure and develop architectural quality targets for each project. They’re able to develop code that is both functional and simple, allowing for future expansion and updates that any developer can implement with ease.
Moving forward Joel plans to set Architecture Quality Indicator targets for their products. Different types of projects require different targets. For APIs they plan on setting extendibility goals but for simple but mission-critical parts of their products, extendibility doesn’t matter, it’s understandability that does so that it’s easily maintainable.
With Sema’s clear, comprehensive visibility, SecureLink is able to move their projects forward with confidence. Using in-depth metrics, the team is determining multiple goals for each product and using this understanding to develop and reach new targets. Joel is able to show their results to the board and support the work they continue to do. Sema has given them the tools they need to effectively reach their goals, improve their solutions, and provide better service moving forward.