Thinking big often begins with thinking small. Many people will be familiar with the butterfly effect – small events having much larger effects. Sometimes, it’s not just recognising the small bits but joining them together that allows the magic to happen.
That’s where Continuous Delivery (CD) for software comes into play. CD is about frequent, repeatable processes, delivering small changes often, rather than large changes occurring less frequently. This is a much more exciting shift than it may seem on the surface – CD is essential to moving swiftly in today’s digital market.
The key to effective continuous delivery
Automation is at the heart of the CD model. Without exceptional automation, the processes could not exist. This includes test automation: the pre-written tests that check the software is in working order before it is delivered to the end user, much like an inspection at different stages of a conveyor belt.
Manual testing is incapable of occurring at the same sort of speed and the required frequency; a key result of implementing CD is an extraordinary change of pace. It’s about infrastructure automation, creating environments and deploying to them without any manual intervention.
CD enables software to be delivered hourly, daily, weekly – whenever it suits the business. It can be as simple as checking in code or clicking a button. This is a big change from how software has been delivered in the past, when it would only be delivered once every few weeks or months.
Traditional software teams work in silos, passing software back and forth in preparation for a big release. The parts are often put together just before delivery, increasing the pressure and risks of issues – ultimately becoming very stressful events.
Continuous delivery methods enable cross-functional teams to create smaller pieces of working software that can be delivered rapidly. Time is saved by creating software that is always ready for release, instead of putting extra manual effort into every deployment. Everyone becomes part of the same process as the changes flow through the continuous delivery pipeline.
Where people previously honed in on their own little cog within the system, they can now collaborate and have a greater sense of big picture purpose. Developers understand the operations, ops specialists understand the architecture and software design. More importantly, everyone understands the test automation coverage and key areas for the business.
Automation with a human touch
Effective automation is a big step though. While on the surface the concepts are straight-forward enough, actually implementing the processes required for CD can be quite a challenge. It’s a journey – and it’s not something that companies can take on lightly. It’s important to note that ClearPoint’s enthusiasm for CD isn’t us jumping on a new trend. It’s the result of extensive experience and a culture of versatility positioning us as digital leaders in this field. We have been working with Agile cross-functional teams for years – and CD is a natural fit.
We love taking our clients through the CD journey, especially the business stake holders and product owners. Empowering them with the ability to rapidly get their latest ideas to market and giving them feature toggles that separate deployment from release means they have more control of when things get in front of customers. We also find it highly rewarding seeing the teams constantly releasing in a stress-free, no-issues situation.
Where to from here
While CD is particularly useful for digital solutions with a lot of change, the approach can be implemented on a variety of scales. Initially, it can feel like a big leap to take. There are often infrastructure and architecture changes that need to occur before CD approaches can be put into place. However, the shift from traditional delivery to CD can be like night and day. We’ve already seen it happen with our clients.
So, if you want to see your digital sphere evolve into something more efficient, nimble and more effective than ever before, get in touch with ClearPoint.
This is our third of three blogs exploring CD. We have examined how CD fits in with the rest of the ClearPoint digital systems, and we’ve shown how CD works in relation to our partnership with GlobalDairyTrade.