This article provides a recap of our webinar on April 29, 2020, Continuous Delivery: A Digital Transformation Accelerator, plus offers additional resources. Watch the recording below:
Now more than ever, digital product and IT leaders need to release more efficiently while mitigating the risk factors that come with moving quickly. However, the majority of software projects, in fact up to 84% of software projects, fail to live up to expectations, whether not being delivered on time, on budget, and/or within scope. Adopting continuous delivery is a proven organizational strategy to not just release software faster, but release better software, faster, thus reducing the rate of failure.
Evolving capabilities to build, test, learn, and iterate quickly is especially important during this time, as the COVID-19 pandemic has drastically changed how many organizations operate, from both a customer-facing and a backend systems perspective. We see continuous delivery as a crucial approach to adapt to the rapidly changing world around us.
“All the timelines for embracing DevOps, generally, and continuous integration/continuous delivery (CI/CD) have shrunk.” - per InfoWorld
The book Accelerate by Nicole Forsgren, PhD contains a study done on 2,000 organizations across various industries, identifying the highest performing and lowest performing organizations among them.
Key metrics that determine the organizations’ performance are:
The organizations that have higher deployment frequency, less time from implementation to go live, and less recovery time between failures, see significantly lower failure rates in their software projects. These factors that measure software delivery are the difference between high performing and low performing organizations.
If it hurts, do it more often. Putting off software delivery is akin to putting off a toothache — someone begins to experience tooth pain, and they don’t address it right away because they don’t want to go through the time, money, and pain of going to the dentist. They continue to put it off, until finally they are concerned enough about the situation that they have to go to the dentist, where they end up having to pay for and suffer through a double root canal. Just like a toothache, stress around software delivery is best mitigated when addressed quickly and head on, through frequent deployments and rapid recovery.
With more frequent releases over time, software products are consistently validated and tested, thus reducing the risk of building the wrong product or building a low-quality product over time.
Software delivery is just a single facet of implementing continuous delivery — the culture that delivers the software also has to change. Cross-functional collaboration must be encouraged and rewarded, leading to a culture of shared responsibility. People tend to support what they help to create. The Westrum Cultural Model outlines three categories that cultures tend to fall into.
Pathological: This category is power-oriented, with little cooperation between departments. Scapegoating happens across teams, and responsibilities are shirked. In the pathological category, there is less innovation happening because siloes prevent the exchange of ideas and information across teams.
Bureaucratic: The bureaucratic category is rules-oriented — there is more cooperation across departments, but generally comes from the top down, with little cultural buy-in across the organization. Bridging between departments is tolerated but not necessarily enjoyed or encouraged among the teams themselves.
Generative: The generative category lends itself to the highest performing teams — this culture encourages high cooperation between departments and teams, and the risks and failures are shared across teams.
Team members having a sense of identity within a company culture is another core facet of implementing continuous delivery. How do your employees feel like they fit into and contribute to the overall organization? A continuous delivery approach prevents employees from feeling like “stone movers.” A culture of “stone movers” in which employees are handed down requirements, working in large chunks, and have long feedback cycles reduces job satisfaction and happiness, and thereby productivity. Continuous delivery helps organizations operate in shorter sprints, with transparency around requirements, and constant feedback cycles that make the team members, and the product, better.
Ready to get started? Reach out to our team to learn about our CI/CD transformation services.