At Garmin, Developers Are Learning to Let Go and Love Automation

June 7, 2018 Pivotal Software

How automation is making life easier for developers at Garmin.

Letting go is sometimes difficult. But that’s what developers at Garmin are learning to do.

The only way to release software on a daily basis, and sometimes multiple times per day, is to automate as much of the delivery pipeline as possible. At Garmin, developers are used to shepherding code from idea to production manually. To respond to customer feedback and get new features to market faster, Senior Software Engineer Jonathan Regehr and team are slowly introducing automation into the company’s development process.

This includes automating unit testing, which is where letting go comes in.

“That’s going to be a huge cultural shift as teams are like, ‘Nobody’s touched this [code]? We don’t have to test it?’ Well, yeah, we’ll test it, but we’re going to try to do it in as automated a fashion as we possibly can,” Regehr said in an interview at Cloud Foundry Summit 2018.

It’s all part of Garmin’s digital transformation initiative, which began in earnest in 2016. Since then, the company adopted Pivotal Cloud Foundry as their cloud-native platform of choice. The operations team uses the platform to automate a number of tasks, such as automatically scaling application instances up and down as traffic fluctuates — this keeps Garmin running during the holidays, when lots of new devices are being activated. Now it’s the developers’ turn to get in on the automation game.

“We’ve been working really hard to make sure that we have things tested to the point where, ultimately, we get… all of the manual steps out of the pipeline and we’re actually deploying from development to production with no manual intervention in between,” said Regehr.

By letting go of manual testing, developers at Garmin are spending more of their time learning from customer feedback and developing new features.

That’s not all Regehr had to say. Watch the full interview below for more on Garmin’s transformation efforts.

Change is the only constant, so individuals, institutions, and businesses must be Built to Adapt. At Pivotal, we believe change should be expected, embraced, and incorporated continuously through development and innovation, because good software is never finished.


At Garmin, Developers Are Learning to Let Go and Love Automation was originally published in Built to Adapt on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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