Software delivery was once specific to the IT industry. Now, Continuous Delivery pipelines are used around world from e-commerce to airline software.
Building a software delivery pipeline once involved hours of scripting and manual steps – a process that’s painful, if not impossible, to scale. However Continuous Delivery with Application Release Automation tools offers a scripting-free, automated experience. Continuous Delivery pipelines are immensely powerful for the modern enterprise, boosting production and even customer satisfaction.
Getting Started: Measure the Existing Process
To get started building a Continuous Delivery pipeline, the IT Manager measures key metrics from the existing software release pipeline. The most important metrics to look at are:
- Time to Deployment
- Deployment Frequency
- Change Volume
- Success Rate
- Mean Time to Recovery
After taking initial measurements, the IT Manager begins to identify existing bottlenecks by looking at three areas of interest: Requirements Management, Testing, and Delivery Mechanics.
Continuous Delivery pipelines are all about adding customer value quickly. In this instance, quicker often means smaller. Start by breaking down your deliverables into smaller stories that can by-pass the work-in-progress stage so every task is being worked on actively. Short cycle times is the goal here, even when you need a full set of stories to create the deliverable.
Start by shifting your focus from GUI testing to Unit and Integration testing. This is also the right time to start thinking about an automatable testing process. Before automation can happen, the existing process needs to be structured, organized and repeatable.
The concentration of Delivery Mechanics is to take a deeper look at the automation of the delivery process. The best place to start is with versioning controls. Once automated rollbacks are set up, the IT Manager can begin looking at the automation of Continuous Integration.
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