Why Companies Should Consider a Continuous Delivery Model

By: Esther Shein| - Leave a comment

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A continuous delivery (CD) model develops software in shorter cycles and releases it more frequently. This approach improves customer experience by bringing together different processes and quickly automating software delivery. Sounds like something every enterprise IT shop would want to adopt, right? Perhaps, but to effectively implement this model, companies must make systemic changes by building out their software infrastructure and shifting their operating models.

Additionally, organizations must also introduce automation tools that can better manage the release of software updates, the porting of new code and the general processing environment, according to McKinsey. Companies will also need developers who understand how to code in a CD environment.

The Pros and Cons

This can be a tall order for some enterprises. However, companies have a lot to gain from CD beyond faster release times and accelerated time to market. Through this model, businesses can make their releases more predictable, reduce risk and improve productivity. They can also react more quickly when an application needs to be tweaked, identify bugs and bottlenecks sooner and make costs more visible, reports Atlassian.

However, if companies don’t extend CD practices to their production environment and change company culture, the chances of success are minimal. It’s also important not to confuse CD with continuous deployment, warns Atlassian. CD means the organization has the ability to deploy changes when it feels it needs to.

Companies must set the appropriate infrastructure in place to ensure visibility into the state of the app — including configuration management, monitoring, alarms and rollback conditions, according to Atlassian. If setting up the infrastructure receives lower priority than an app’s new features, it will be more challenging to implement CD.

Implementing Continuous Delivery

IT leaders must determine where within the organization a culture change makes the most sense and where the opportunities exist to differentiate its customer experience from the competition, McKinsey notes. Next, they must determine “which roles and processes to adapt for a culture of continuous delivery,” the research firm advises. Then, they have to sell it to the rest of the organization.

“The way to get product managers and business stakeholders on board is to show them how much faster they’ll be able to speed new features to market once the investment in continuous delivery starts to bear fruit,” notes Atlassian.

Often, there are silos in IT, where product development and IT operations exist as separate entities and employees have different skills and mindsets. For CD to be effective, IT and business leaders need to break down those silos.

Instead of relying on a waterfall methodology, companies should consider whether they can increase innovation and get in front of customers more quickly by adding functionality and features in incremental sprints, notes Forbes.

The value proposition means companies can foster agile teams and develop more reliable software that can ship at any time.

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About The Author

Esther Shein

Freelance Writer

Esther Shein is a freelance writer and editor specializing in technology, business and education. Her work has appeared in several online and print publications, including Inc., Computerworld, NetworkComputing, InformationWeek, BYTE, CIO, CMO.com and The Boston Globe. She has written thought leadership whitepapers, customer case studies and marketing materials in addition to news and feature articles. Prior to going freelance she was the editor-in-chief of Datamation, an online enterprise technology magazine. She was also a senior writer at eWeek (formerly PC Week) and worked at The Associated Press.

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