I was blind but now I see: how to maintain visibility over your technology stack

| 5 min. (939 words)

When software teams build software products, they start with mighty ambitions. Every team member has their own role to play in fulfilling the vision, but how can we maintain visibility over your technology stack, right from design to build? A typical process may look like this: the CTO may have to find out how to meet the company’s goals with technology, the product manager may have to work out what features need to be built and their expected timeframe, then the developer may be assigned a brief of what to build to meet the needs of the product. The tough part is getting the entire team to hold true to that vision through the duration of the build process.

How can software teams stay focused on the goal through the entire tech stack?

(Learn how you can use ChatOps software like Slack and HipChat to maintain healthy software  with our free ebook: The Ultimate Guide to ChatOps Software.)

At the start of any new project, team members need to look at the ‘whole pie’ so to speak, then break things down into individual projects and tasks. The overarching vision for the development of products is important, mainly to prioritize tasks, but also to keep the team on track and pointing in the right direction collaboratively.

From initial concept right through to shipping day, each team member will be looking to contribute to the goal for the project.

If teams have the ability to see the bigger picture, things will run a lot more smoothly in the development lifecycle, and as the pieces of the puzzle come together, they will slot in more smoothly rather than become a jumbled up mess that are brute forced into place, or in the wrong order. 

This is a very common approach to building new software, but often isn’t so organized when maintaining it. Teams and individuals tend to have visibility on a small part of their software, but not the whole pie.

For developers it may be the code they are working on today or specific parts of the application technology stack. For CTOs the focus may stay on the backend, with little knowledge of the full front-end setup. Support staff may deal with tickets and software bugs reported by users, but are only able to pass these details on to the developer team with little context.

Though team members are responsible for their own areas, they all care about the quality of the software they put into user’s hands, but may only have visibility of their own parts of the system. When inevitable software problems arise, or for teams that rely on their customers to report software bugs and problems, they are of often blind to the real picture that is happening for their users, because they aren’t monitoring the entire stack as a whole.

If you manage just a small part of your application or monitor certain parts, you’re situation looks a bit like this:

Individual team members may only be getting visibility over certain parts of the application. When effective monitoring is in place, each individual team member can maintain visibility over your technology stack.

As error and crash reporting experts here at Raygun, we have heard from customers time and time again that plug in an error monitoring solution, they are amazed by how many issues they simply did not know about. They were blind to software errors, but now, they see!

From our experience, only 1% of users actively report software bugs and crashes. How do we know? Well, we of course have Raygun, integrated with Raygun, so when errors are found in our own software (yes we’re not perfect), our Slack channel pings with the notifications in real time. It’s amazing to see just how many errors we pick up and fix, yet we do not receive a support ticket reporting the same instance.

Technology teams care deeply that their software is performing for users, but how can you maintain visibility for your entire team across everything you’re doing? If your technology stack is big, you might have many different languages, platforms, front-end, backend and other more convoluted systems running your application. The answer to seeing full stack errors and crashes would be to flip the visibility model on it’s head.

If error monitoring and reporting is installed across your technology stack, visibility on software errors can be given to your entire team, with instant notifications letting you know the moment any issue arises. Integrating with your ChatOps tool of choice also gives everyone a notification at the same time, so not only will the CTO be aware there is an issue in the front-end code, the front-end team can jump on it within a heartbeat. 

Every team thinks their applications are relatively error free if they do not have effective monitoring in place, it’s only once they plug in a tool do they realise just how many issues are present. Why not try out a free trial of Raygun, (or book a demo with one of our team) chances are, you’ve completely underestimated the amount issues in your application.

Having full visibility of software errors and helps teams ship faster, with more confidence and with better collaboration. The across the board visibility approach taken to new software projects should also be given to maintaining visibility over your technology stack plus maintaining software quality across your development team. If not, your team might not be seeing the true picture.

Would you like to learn more about how ChatOps can help maintain visibility over your software stack? Download our The Ultimate Guide to ChatOps to find out how.