I was recently asked to answer some questions about Continuous Delivery for someone’s undergraduate university research. The questions were interesting, so here are my answers 🙂
- What do you feel are the benefits of adopting Continuous Delivery?
- How do you feel adopting Continuous Delivery has affected your development cycle?
- Do you think Continuous Delivery is an important approach for a company to pick up, If so Why?
- How do you think Agile compares to more traditional models like Waterfall?
- What is the biggest change you’ve noticed since adopting Agile?
- What do you foresee in the future for these models in the industry?
1. What do you feel are the benefits of adopting Continuous Delivery?
The benefits of Continuous Delivery are huge:
- Greater focus on finishing and shipping.
- Increased awareness of need for setting up the work to enable feedback and learning.
- Sense of ‘flow’ within teams.
- Decisions made using actual data rather than opinions alone.
- Higher quality software.
- More joy in work.
(Can I stop yet?)
2. How do you feel adopting Continuous Delivery has affected your development cycle?
(Answering on behalf of our clients) Continuous Delivery has helped us to increase the ownership over software and focus on the value-add things that our organisation produces, rather than ceremonies around testing and releasing.
3. Do you think Continuous Delivery is an important approach for a company to pick up, If so Why?
Yes: adopting CD properly can be truly transformative for the organisation as a whole. IT becomes a means to receive rapid feedback on product/marketing/service offerings, allowing the business to invest more wisely and do more with less risk and lower costs.
4. How do you think Agile compares to more traditional models like Waterfall?
Agile is woefully misunderstood (as was Waterfall) so in that regard, they are similar (!). Truly agile organisations are rare because agility challenges entrenched, comfortable positions within an organisation. Agile done well really makes the nature of an organisation transparent.
5. What is the biggest change you’ve noticed since adopting Agile?
(Answering for our clients) We’re able to improve the software delivery part of the process, but this has highlighted the lack of clarity and vision in the Business.
6. What do you foresee in the future for these models in the industry?
We’re starting to see a backlash against Agile and DevOps already, because people misunderstand or misrepresent what’s going on. Things like SAFe seem to be rebranded PRINCE2 which is a shame. Essentially, many organisations are going to fail because their management does not see the need to change.
At Skelton Thatcher Consulting we have put together a handy Continuous Delivery checklist template (on Trello) to help you assess the things you need to address within your organisation:
I gave a talk at Continuous Delivery Amsterdam meetup group on 08 Feb 2017:
Using Rancher for highly available deployment services with GoCD and TeamCity
Tools like GoCD and TeamCity are excellent components of advanced Continuous Delivery deployment systems. They help us focus on deployment pipelines and the flow of changes, rather than “builds” or “environments”. We can further enhance these tools by using frameworks like Rancher to manage GoCD and TeamCity as highly available, always-on deployment services. In this talk, we’ll see how to use Rancher to run deployment pipeline tooling like GoCD and TeamCity, and how this lets us focus on the important parts of Continuous Delivery: getting changes to Production safely and rapidly.
The slides are here:
(Thanks to my colleague Rich B for his sterling work on Rancher+AWS)
The other talk (from Wouter Lagerweij) on testing in a CD world was really excellent – the slides are here: http://www.slideshare.net/wouterla/testing-in-a-continuous-delivery-world-continuous-delivery-amsterdam-meetup
I gave a talk at DevOpsCon Munich on How and why to design your teams for modern software systems – here are the slides:
In the talk, I covered various angles including:
- Conway’s Law
- Cognitive Load for teams
- Team Topologies
- Guidelines for team design
I will be giving a full-day workshop on Organisation Design for Modern Software Systems at Jax DevOps London 2017 (3-6 April) and DevOpsCon Berlin 2017 (June 12-15). Booking is open now for both events.
I gave a talk at Velocity Conference Europe 2016 called How to break apart a monolithic system safely without destroying your team based on work we have done at Skelton Thatcher Consulting over the past few years with various organisations.
The slides are on Slideshare at http://www.slideshare.net/SkeltonThatcher/teams-and-monoliths-matthew-skelton-velocity-eu-2016 and the video of the talk will be online soon.
The main take-aways from the talk are:
- Recognise that by starting with the needs of the team, we can avoid cognitive overload, thereby making future development more sustainable
- Understand the type of monolith you are dealing with (there are many kinds of monolith)
- Consider using Code Forensics (see Your Code as a Crime Scene)
- Find the natural ‘fracture planes’ in your code and work with these
- Instrument the monolith before splitting it up
- Understand data flows and fault responses
- Split off one segment of code at a time, considering the cognitive load for the team
There is quite a bit more in the talk itself, including the effect of Conway’s Law, the benefits of monoliths, and real-world examples from client engagements.
A big thanks from me to the organisers of VelocityConf for their hard work, to the audience in my talk for some excellent questions, and to the speaker selection panel for choosing my talk (!).
Modern log aggregation & search tools provide significant new capabilities for teams building, testing, and running software systems. By treating logging as a core system component, and using techniques such as unique event IDs, transaction tracing, and structured log output, we gain rich insights into application behaviour and health, especially cross-component visibility. In this article on InfoQ – co-authored with my colleague Manuel Pais – we explain why it is valuable to test aspects of logging and how to do this with modern log aggregation tooling. This approach makes logging a channel or vector to make distributed systems more testable.
InfoQ: Why and How to Test Logging by Matthew Skelton and Manuel Pais
Bonus: check out these slides from a talk I gave at Testing Showcase North in February 2016 on Why and how to test logging