Workflows that do not hinder developers


Development Workflows in large companies

I have been frustrated a couple of times by workflows that are in place in large companies. I am talking about workflows, where you need to pass through a gazillion number of stages to ship your code to the end user.

Do they have their purpose? Maybe. But let me rant a little.

"Isn't it ridiculous through how many stages we must go through?"...

... This was a question I once asked in a meeting, where we discussed our workflow. Everything felt a little bit overly complicated to me. How many stages does one need to ship a feature? Answer: All of them.

Create a ticket. Then fill that ticket with life. Then talk about the ticket in a meeting. Then estimate that ticket in another meeting. Then discuss those estimations with all other team members. Then pick up the ticket, create a branch, and do the work. Then make test that feature locally to make sure it is working as expected. Then add test coverage. Add Unit Tests. Add E2E tests. Add integration tests. Then write documentation. Then, if necessary, make sure K8S reflects all the necessary changes. Then create a changelog. Then release it to DEV to test it there. Then release it to STG to test it again. Then, finally, release it to PRD.

Just to find out that there was still an issue with the feature, and users demanded something different, so you have to go through these steps again.

I do agree that most of these steps have their purpose. But at times this just feels like it is overcomplicating things.

There lie many problems in this workflow, one of them being that it is hard to iterate quickly on a feature.


I have experienced this simplicity once in a company I worked for. We did not have a lot of stages to go through. We had a trunk-based development workflow. A developer would simply commit to the trunk branch, and the code would be deployed to dev automatically. If the feature was ready, it would be deployed to production, since the DEV was mirroring the PRD instance. Tickets existed in the form of Linear tickets, where you could just pick up a ticket and work on it. No guesstimates, no meetings, no unnecessary discussions. No need to write documentation for something that might not even be used later on. If something did not work in DEV, it was noticed either by yourself or some other developer who also worked on the trunk and maybe had some of his parts broken by your code.

It was simple. And beautiful.

It allowed us to iterate quickly on features, ship code faster, and get feedback quickly.

Trunk-based development

I am a big fan of trunk-based development. It does add a bit of skin-in-the-game. Because if you push something that breaks your deployment, it's going to be broken for everyone else as well, and they will tell you.

You also prevent long-lived feature branches, which can be a pain when it comes to bigger merge conflicts. Instead, you are simply working on the latest version of your codebase all the time.

It also forces you to make tasks non-dependent on each other, which is a good thing. Huge refactorings that take months become a thing of the past, instead you refactor small parts of your codebase at a time.


Depending on what you are working on, you might need a more complex workflow. But do not overdo it. This is maybe a wild take, but I think that in some environments, it is totally ok to push to production and see if it still works.