5 Key Principles of Software Delivery

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In the IT space, the need for speed is not just about a legendary video game series. Instead, this phrase accurately portrays what the development process feels like. Various hurdles often snow the thorny path to creating innovative software solutions. Typically, it is disconnected teams that have a particular toll on release cycles. Ineffective release cycles then lead to mediocre products and ballooned costs. 

Luckily, the modern software development landscape is evolving at a rapid pace. Innovations, in their turn, usher in optimized delivery methods that trail the blaze for cutting-edge solutions. Continuous integration and continuous software delivery have taken development and release cycles to a whole new level by introducing unprecedented speed levels. Social media platforms are doing several updates a day, and companies that don’t want to lag behind embrace continuous delivery as well.

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However, you can’t just implement continuous delivery with the flip of a switch. There are some core principles that organizations have to follow. If you want to boost your time-to-market and optimize end-to-end processes, then continuous delivery or CD is your best bet.

This article will look under the covers of this new delivery method and break down five core principles. Hopefully, it will help your release cycle come to fruition.

What Is Continuous Software Delivery?

Today the application economy is driving the disruption of markets and business models. Companies promote their brand, their products and their services through their web and mobile applications. You need to deliver software like your business depends on it. Well, indeed it does, and you no longer have the luxury of time. 

This means you need to develop applications quickly and on a continuous basis at the quality and a lower cost. The best way to do it is to adopt an end-to-end continuous software delivery. Continuous software delivery helps you bring higher-quality software to market. It is continuously improving the way you take an idea, build it, test it, orchestrate its delivery and adoption. By integrating the processes in the toolchain across all these stages, you can eliminate the friction points in your software development lifecycle. At the same time, your applications will comply with your organization’s business objectives.

Essentially, continuous software delivery refers to the ability to send improvements of all kinds into production, or into the hands of users, in a safe and sustainable way. To make it happen, teams need to maintain code in a deployable state despite countless daily changes. In simple words, the product should be deployment-ready at any time.

Continuos sofware delivery

Picture 1. Continuous software delivery

Continuos Delivery Perks

Thanks to a huge number of benefits, CD is the magic potion that alleviates the stress of releasing a product. Among its major perks are:

  • Faster release rate
  • Mitigated pre-release risks
  • Increased product quality
  • Enhanced operating flexibility
  • Team transparency and accountability
  • Data-driven decision-making
  • Easy maintenance 

Overall, continuous software delivery boosts the velocity, performance, and sustainability of software development teams.

Now that we’ve got to grips with the concept of CD, let’s move on to the principles that underpin this optimized software delivery method.

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5 Highly Effective Principles Of Software Delivery

The continuous delivery method calls for much investment and commitment from the team. But there are some core principles that will help companies make the switch and embark on the initiative. 

Follow Repetitive, Proven Process for Delivering Software

The first step to hassle-free and effective software delivery is to walk the beaten track. Ideally, releasing a software product should come down to one button. Therefore, your team should come up with a reliable formula for defining, designing, developing, and delivering software. This cuts the time and cost to launch an up to the market, but keeping quality.   

To bring all puzzle pieces together, you need to follow the same release process in all environments. Release management can include lots of stop-and-go operations. To put CD to into practice, a team should be consistent in all processes and platforms being used from the IDE to QA. This will forestall blunders, diminish difficulties, overheads, and time of dealing with different conditions. Obviously, repetitive processes disentangle and smooth out tasks as well. The reproducible and steadfast processes mainly stem from automation and version control, which we’ll cover later.

With that being said, teams should also deploy the same way every single time. A scattered deployment process can result in configuration drift across environments, especially when the release happens on short notice. Subsequently, devs fritter away precious working hours on detecting and resolving issues that stem from apps working in different environments

To ensure a smooth process in multiple environments, teams must repeat the same set of steps throughout all stages. This guarantees equally effective results in lower environments, and regular deployments.

Automate, Automate And Automate Again

Did you know that more than 60% of organizations in the U.S. make extensive use of automation? Although this may seem like a lot, most companies around the world are still reluctant to implement automated processes. Automation is king at all stages of software development. If speed is the main hurdle in your development process, the only way to fast-track your workflow is to automate all steps. Most of the development processes don’t necessarily need human involvement.

There are some things where automation won’t do the trick. They may include quality control, design, presenting an operating solution to a stakeholder, or requirement elicitation. However, the number of processes that are not subject to automation is much smaller than most companies think. Overall, software development should use automation to the point when it requires specific human skills like the ability to make decisions.

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Automation at work

Lots of dev teams are reluctant to embark on the initiative since it seems like a lot of trouble. But automation is not the antagonist. In reality, it’s a very savvy way to transform your business operations, generate revenue, and, of course, pave the way for continuous software delivery. Let automated processes take care of the heavy-lifting and mundane tasks. 

Keep Everything in Version Control

Code doesn’t exist unless you register it in a version control system. While there are many benefits of using a version control system for your projects, safe and supersonic delivery is the biggest perk of version-controlled storage. 

Software team players are continually updating and adding source code. VCSs automatically record all the changes made to a file or set of files, so a particular version can be restored later if needed. Version control systems help devs keep tabs on any changes made by any contributor to avoid work conflicting. 

Changes made in one part of the software can be in an irreconcilable position to all other contributions. On top of it, if a company has to scale up the team, new team members should be able to have access to the project repository. They should also be able to build and deploy the application to the accessible environment.

Version-control everything from code and requirement documents to scripts and databases. Having one source of truth automatically elevates your software delivery process.

If It Hurts, Address The Pain And Make It Your Forte

If releasing software incites panic, try to release it as often as possible to optimize the releasing process. Ideally, release it each time a developer checks in the updates that stand the automated tests. If writing tech documents for another community app is distressing, create an update schedule, and add every new feature instead of dragging it out.

Overall, the surefire formula comes down to knocking down your problem. It will help you curtail months of a timeline in a project, and work your way up to get closer to ideal.

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Build Quality In

Preventing a backfire is always easier than fixing the damage. The same comes down to building quality into products from the very beginning. It works better than band-aiding the issues after they wreak havoc. Being the foundational principle of the Lean-Agile mindset, built-in quality is as simple as creating a solution right from the word go. This practice makes sure that each building block at every buildup complies with the predefined standards.

Typically, a built-in quality system entails the four pillars:

  • Define clear standards
  • Make any deviations palpable 
  • Quick response to deviations
  • Take countermeasure to prevent the bug from affecting the whole system

With that being said, it’s always helpful to create control loops to eliminate defects as soon as they pop up. If a team has bugs looped back to programmers once they come a cropper in post-build testing, they will craft higher quality code quicker. 

Beside optimized software delivery, built-in quality entails other benefits for business, including:

  • Higher customer satisfaction 
  • Increased velocity and delivery calculability
  • Enhanced system operation
  • Improved ability to pioneer, grow and fulfill compliance requirements

Surely, this principle requires time and financial resources, but the results warrant the investments.

The Final Word

Software delivery is among the major pain points for dev teams. If this development stage still generates the main bottlenecks for your dev team, you are probably missing something. This something is continuous software delivery and its main principles covered in our article. The CD principles help conquer the fear of release, making the software evolve quicker and hassle-free. 

We hope that now you have the knowledge to reduce the cost, time, and risk of delivering gradual improvements to end-users.

Tatsiana Isakova is a Belarus-based content writer who authors in-depth industry insights, opinion pieces as well as reviews, and blog posts at The App Solutions. She has a seasoned history of crafting engaging content that enthralls the audience and leaves a pleasant aftertaste. Tatsiana loves to stay au courant with tech trends which helps pack her copies with value and relevance.

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5 Key Principles of Software Delivery was last modified: December 29th, 2020 by Martina Pranjic
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