5 Minute DevOps: Continuous Delivery FAQ

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There are many misconceptions about CD. There are also many things about CD that are not obvious on the surface. If you are “CD curious”, perhaps this will help.

“CI/CD or CD?”

“We automated the build. Are we doing CD?”

Continuous delivery is continuous product development and continuous quality feedback. The robots enable us to standardize and accelerate delivery to reduce the cost and improve the safety of change. This makes it viable for us to deliver very small changes to get feedback on quality immediately. People frequently underestimate the definition of “small”. We aren’t talking epics, features, or even stories. We are talking hours or minutes worth of work, not days or weeks. A CD pipeline includes the robots, but it starts with the value proposition and ends when we get feedback from production on the actual value delivered so that we can make decisions about future value propositions. This takes teamwork from everyone aligned to the product flow and unrelenting discipline for maintaining and improving quality feedback loops.

“CD is just for unicorn startups?”

The reasons for delivering very frequently are:

  • Ensure that we can deliver patches quickly and safely in an emergency.
  • Establish an efficient and effective quality signal to reduce mean time to detect.
  • Reduce the size of changes to reduce the size of the defects in each change.
  • Reduce the cost of change to enable more freedom to try new ideas.

CD, when used to drive down batch size and learn from production, acts as a forcing function for stability, efficiency, effective value delivery, and improved quality of life.

“We will focus on CD after we deliver these features”

  • The requirements are probably wrong
  • We probably misunderstood them
  • They will probably change before we deliver

How much investment do you want to make in development before you find out how many of the above are true?

The correct order of operations is:

  1. Pipeline to production
  2. Production delivery of “hello world” to validate the pipeline
  3. Next change.

1 & 2 should occur on day 1.

“We’ll need to hire smarter people”

“Our users don’t want changes that often”

“We don’t believe these wild claims about CD”

“How hard is it to start?”

“What happens to teams who are prevented from improving CD?”

I will continue adding to this list as I think about other common questions. Feel free to check back or to comment with questions, challenges, or arguments you have where CD isn’t a valid process.

Changelog

  • Mar 28 2021: Added “We automated the build. We are doing CD.”

Developer, Value Stream Architect, and DevOps insurgent who optimizes for sleep. All opinions are my own. https://www.linkedin.com/in/bryan-finster/

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