Has your business ever dealt with a buggy program produced by your team? The worst part of when that happens is that you don’t even know who’s responsible for what. The result is a big headache and a lot of time wasted on fixing something that shouldn’t have been broken in the first place. Luckily, there’s a solution for avoiding this problem, and simultaneously getting a few more benefits, too. It’s called source control, and I’m going to teach you why your business needs it.
What is Source Control?
Source control/version control is when you track changes to your code. Source control management (SCM) systems systematize recording your code’s development history. You can use this development history to resolve conflicts when you merge contributions from varied sources. As a result, developers always work on the right source code. Source control also has other benefits.
Benefits of Source Control
There are the 9 most profound benefits of source control:
Traceability means you can track all changes to your code over time and identify the file’s development through different stages. Naturally, you can also track changes made by each user and see in what order they were made. So, you can immediately identify each team member’s contributions and instantly assign credit for changes to each team member.
Cataloging changes let all team members easily access any previous version of the code and have an overall perspective of the file and its trajectory. That’s bound to reduce a lot of headaches during work and better help your team understand their overall goal for that file.
2. Document History
A file’s history reveals each member’s contributions, letting you easily assess who contributed to what. The biggest benefit of this is that you’ll identify which team members made the most and least contributions–you can then reward hard working members accordingly.
You’ll likely see an overall improvement in morale among your programmers when they know everything they do is tracked. They’ll be strongly incentivized to provide as much value and reduce their likelihood of making mistakes.
3. Better Branching with Source Control
Source control lets multiple team members simultaneously edit a single document without affecting each other. Each contributor independently edits the document creating a separate stream–or branch–of contribution to the document. The project gets completed fastest when there are multiple branches since every branch is independent.
As a result, each team member is empowered, and you can easily merge their contributions. Ideally, the end result should be a strong productive environment where each team member independently handles that part of the project they’re most suited to. The result is a better and faster completed project.
One of the most profound benefits of source control is providing clarity regarding the software’s development. Each team member easily views, analyzes, and edits the source code independently, so everyone gets familiar with the entire project.
The result is a better integration of diverse contributions from multiple team members instead of the usual disjointed software many companies produce. The best part is always that every version of the file is identifiable from every other version, and you can identify each contributor’s changes.
5. Reduction Of Duplication and Errors
I’m sure every project manager can relate with this one. Duplicated code or information is the worst because it was wasted on something that didn’t need to have been done at all. Source code control can save you from the headache that is finding out multiple team members did the same work.
Version control completely eliminates duplicated and outdated information. Every team member gets independent access to every part of the project, so they can’t accidentally duplicate information. Plus, you can easily mark completed and functional parts of your code as ‘read only’, preventing undesirable alterations.
6. Management Overview
Source control improves overall project management by providing a unified and detailed perspective of the project. Management can see the author of every change and judge the entire project’s timeline via document history.
One huge management benefit of source control is that management can more easily identify systematic or recurring errors. These mistakes frequently cause immense issues to many project development teams, so it’s super beneficial to spot them early.
7. Open Channels of Communication
Version control creates transparency for your entire team since everyone can see what work everyone else did. So, they can easily understand who’s doing what, and whom to contact for a specific part of the document. The result is faster and more relevant communications. Team members won’t have to go around asking everyone for who made a specific change.
The open communication also lets team members work in greater harmony and better sync since everyone knows what everyone’s doing. As a result, your team can work better as a united and integrated unit.
8. Adherence To Compliance
Recording details of your project for compliance control is one of the least fun aspects of building software. Thankfully, source control takes care of that for you too. All you have to do is implement a good source control system, and it’ll do the rest for you.
Resultantly, you’ll have meticulously stored and relevant version history to ensure compliance. Version control makes being accountable easier.
The biggest single benefit of version control is undoubtedly the increased efficiency. Source control simplifies the entire process of building software and many inefficiencies from the equation. You get better and faster work as a result with fewer needs to edit.
I can’t mention enough how massively beneficial it is to build complex software quickly and efficiently. Version control lets you just avoid all of the hiccups and slowdowns in conventional work practices.
How to integrate source control into your business
To be effective, you have to integrate source control in every aspect of a project, including all code, files, and relevant assets the project’s team uses. Your source control system should also achieve more than just improve tracking changes. You should actively feel its impact in improving how quickly you develop and ship products.
Essentially, the right source control system:
- Improves visibility
- Accelerates product completion
- Improves team collaboration
Thankfully, there are many great version control systems out there you can choose from–some are distributed and some are centralized. My favorite, and personal recommendation, is Git, which is an open-source freeware that you can combine with HelixCore for scalability.
Putting everything together, you should get a source control system. Version control makes managing a program easier, increases accountability, and helps you complete your projects faster.