Why are deployment pipelines important?

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)

Key takeaways:

  1. The concept of the deployment pipeline was defined and popularised by the 2010 book Continuous Delivery by Jez Humble and Dave Farley.
  2. Deployment pipelines are a really key concept for modern software delivery – all changes flow through the deployment pipeline.
  3. 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.
  4. Value Stream Mapping can be a powerful way to uncover large wait times in the delivery flow.
  5. 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?”

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