I’ve been using deployment pipelines since 2011 starting with GoCD and then other tools. A few months ago, I joined DevOps experts Helen Beal of Ranger4, and Sam Fell & Anders Wallgren of Electric Cloud to discuss deployment pipelines for modern software delivery as part of the Continuous Discussions (#c9d9) series (episode 88).
(YouTube video segments below)
- The concept of the deployment pipeline was defined and popularised by the 2010 book Continuous Delivery by Jez Humble and Dave Farley.
- Deployment pipelines are a really key concept for modern software delivery – all changes flow through the deployment pipeline.
- The fast feedback from deployment pipelines can and should completely change the way we approach software. We can expect rapid feedback on changes which encourages us to make smaller, more frequent code check-ins.
- Value Stream Mapping can be a powerful way to uncover large wait times in the delivery flow.
- A “walking skeleton” deployment pipelines – essentially modelling the current approval/change flow but with empty stages in a tool – helps us to sense-check the current state: “do we really need an approval gate at this point?”
Continue reading Why are deployment pipelines important?
I have been helping to promote greater diversity in tech conferences and tech meetups since 2012. Here is my thinking on how to promote diversity in tech events and why I think diversity is important.
Update: please first read this post from Trisha Gee: What Can Conferences Do To Attract More Women Speakers? and then this post by Jez Humble on How To Create A More Diverse Tech Conference. Trisha and Jez make many excellent points; in this post I try to offer some additional perspectives.
Since 2012 I have been running several meetups and conferences with a technology focus: London Continuous Delivery meetup group (2500+ members with around 80 different speakers in total), PIPELINE Conference (5 events since 2014 with around 50 different speakers), CodeMill digital skills meetup, and Assembly Conference. I have been keen to attract and promote a diverse range of speakers and attendees to all these events, and I think (with help from amazing team members) we have been fairly successful in promoting diversity in these tech events.
Much of this diversity improvement has been focused on encouraging more women to speak and attend, but of course there is more to diversity than just gender; recently, I have tried to address other aspects too, including ethnic background, social class, and also personality “type” (particularly more introverted people).
Continue reading Diversity in tech conferences and meetups – how and why
Summary: many people confuse continuous deployment (pushing changes to live systems many times per day) with Continuous Delivery (reliable software releases through build, test, and deployment automation). Here is why I think that Continuous Delivery is the more fundamental practice.
(Update 1, 2017-11-02: clarified ‘continuous deployment’ and the on-premises context)
Continue reading Continuous Deployment is a niche practice; Continuous Delivery is more fundamental.
This is part 4 of a 4-part series of articles based on discussions at the LondonCD meetup group on 12 June 2017. The other posts are linked at the end of this article.
Our 4th Open Space discussion challenged people to identify the things that they don’t like about the Continuous Delivery book: things that don’t work in practice, things that are plain wrong, etc. – a slightly cheeky session!
tl;dr: Jez Humble and Dave Farley – authors of Continuous Delivery – did not get anything wrong in their book but they “did not say enough” about the culture/people aspect of Continuous Delivery. People and culture are tricky – who knew?! 🙂
Continue reading Things I (Don’t) Like About Continuous Delivery – LondonCD meetup June 2017
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: