By Frank Oelschlager
One of the neat things about my job is that I get to talk to lots of different people about what is top of mind in product and technology. Many of the folks that I have been speaking with recently are in various stages of agile adoption and practice, continuous integration, and system modernization efforts, not to mention ongoing continuous improvement initiatives. While the variety of environments and current priorities are diverse, a topic that is taking a lot of time and attention these days is Continuous Delivery.
Interestingly, this conversation is being driven not only from technology and operations folks, but also from product and business. As an emerging best practice (really an orchestrated collection of best practices) the benefits to a diverse set of stakeholders are both compelling and relatively easy to articulate, attracting attention and sponsorship from cross-functional leadership as well as the practitioner in the trenches.
What product manager doesn’t want a reliable and predictable product pipeline that produces exactly what is expected, every time? On the flip side, I’ve yet to meet a developer or systems engineer that enjoys multi-hour product release exercises that run late into the night and are fraught with surprises, periods of intense troubleshooting, emergency patches, or the ultimate- rollback.
Continuous Delivery however, much like agile and other best practices, is not a destination or a goal unto itself. Nor is it the same for everyone. It is better thought of as a capability that is achieved via an incremental shift along a continuum representing the alignment of the ability to produce value in a reliable, predicable manner with the needs of the consumers for the produced value. Put another way, the ability to deliver quantifiable value on demand. In some organizations, on demand may mean at the press of button, anytime; in others, a predetermined period that aligns with some business driver; in still others, it may mean with each and every change to any part of the whole.
This means that before undertaking an implementation of Continuous Delivery, some up-front legwork needs to be done in order to define the business drivers and needs, to assess where the organization currently stands in relation to a number of best practices, processes, and even tools utilization, and then to prioritize and plan the successive movement toward the needed capability. On this last, it is important to keep in mind that the movement toward Continuous Delivery must occur in steps, increments if you will, with each iteration providing some definable, immediate benefit while at the same time moving the pointer ever closer to the desired set of capabilities. It is not an all at once kind of thing, flick a switch and you’re done; it is, rather, a measured approach over time with a focus on value creation.
Ten Mile Square can help your organization evaluate and adopt Continuous Delivery. We provide expert-consulting utilizing a Continuous Delivery adoption framework based on best-practices and decades of experience helping customers sustainably adopt best-practices across product and systems lifecycles. To find out more about how Ten Mile Square can assist your organization with Continuous Delivery or best practices adoption, drop us line.