Explaining Harness to Your Grandma

Continuous Delivery is an advanced software development. But I'll guess not everyone in your life is a technology genius. Here's how you can tell your non-techy friends and loved ones about CD/Harness.

By Dan Lamm
October 22, 2019

At a family wedding, I tried to explain my new job at Harness to my eighty year old grandmother. I work in marketing and have zero technical background. Midway through my stumbling explanation, she stopped me and asked, “Are you sure you know what you’re doing? Cause this sounds awfully boring.” She then turned to my little brother to have a more engaging conversation about his part time grounds-keeping work.

Maybe its just because I didn’t have the technical knowledge to explain the tool, or maybe the age gap was too much to overcome. Either way, from one non-techy to another, here’s how I’d explain Harness to the technologically inept.

What Harness Does Explained with Chairs

Harness is a tool for software developers, but let’s imagine that software developers are chair makers. These chair makers are experts in turning wood into chairs. But they struggle to bring their finished chairs to stores.

In order to make it to stores, the chairs must go through various tests. The chairs must be tested for weight tolerance, durability, and longevity. Each test requires complex procedures, specific tools, and a physical testing location.

If the chair passes all the tests it can be shipped to stores, but everyone must be ready in case a missed defect prompts a recall. Now let’s translate the words from chairs to tech and map out the process.

 

Chair Craftsman= Software Developer                  Unfinished Chair = Code

Shipping to Stores = Shipping to Production       Finished Chair = Artifact

Physical Test Location = Environment                  Procedures = Workflows

Chair testing tools = Software testing tools           Tests = Stages

Identifying a Defect = Verification                          Recall = Rollback

 

This process is manually coded together, which poses many risks. A finished group of code could take two weeks to be implemented. If something breaks in production, then you could lose potential revenue.

Harness is the equivalent of putting the chair on a conveyor belt: automatically performing tests using your tools, automatically taking your chair to the store, automatically detecting defects, and automatically recalling if needed.

For current customers like NCR, Home Depot, and Build.com we’ve taken a two-week process and condensed it down to hours.

Who Uses Harness

Today every company must be a software company. Every company needs a digital presence that requires updates. Companies like Alphabet, Amazon, Microsoft, and (insert >100 billion-dollar tech company) solve software delivery using hundreds of engineers and proprietary technology.

But for businesses that don’t have millions of extra dollars or traditional companies with less tech experience, software delivery is a huge problem. Harness helps these companies stay on technological par with the tech giants (even though the tech giants could learn a thing or two from our tool).

Harness’s Competition

Harness’s biggest competition is internal engineers custom coding delivery (the equivalent of someone’s spouse trying to fix the plumbing instead of calling the professional plumber).

Netflix also created an open source tool called Spinnaker that addresses delivery (which is the equivalent of someone’s spouse receiving free pipes, toolbox, and paper instructions to build the plumbing for the house).

The older competition has been around since the mainframe era and their tools struggle to adjust to modern cloud standards (the equivalent of hiring a plumber who builds you an outhouse.)

Part of our job at Harness is to educate the market about a better solution.

Solving Real Pain

Once I wrapped my brain around the problem, I saw real pain. Business pain and personal pain. Delivering software is costing businesses millions of dollars and engineering resources. For the engineers themselves it means long nights and working weekends.

So if you read this and chuckled at my lack of technical knowledge but also shed a tear knowing you’ll have to go into work tomorrow and deal with all this crap, then check us out. We’ll help you get your ship done.

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