SUBHED: Prerequisites to doing Continuous Delivery
Before an organization can even begin to head down the path to Continuous Delivery, it needs to ask itself why it wants to implement it, according to Andrew Phillips, vice president of product management at XebiaLabs.

“The one thing I always start out with is ‘So, why are you doing this?’ If they say they want to do Continuous Delivery because it is Continuous Delivery, then that is not an answer,” he said. “You have to have some kind of business motivation for doing this. If you can’t give me some reasonable measurable goal that you want to achieve as a business, then how on earth will you know if you are going in the right direction?”

Although the rewards for a Continuous Delivery approach are quite desirable, it isn’t necessarily a good fit for all. And if an organization doesn’t know why they are doing it, they probably shouldn’t be doing it in the first place, according to Phillips.

“You have to have a need to do it. Don’t jump on the bandwagon just because the bandwagon happens to be rolling past your door,” he said.

Once an organization figures out its business goals, it needs to understand the current state and the desired end state of its business in order to decide on the best course of action.

“If you don’t understand both, then you are in danger of making the wrong decisions about how to adjust your people, processes and technology to achieve CD,” said Anders Wallgren, CTO of Electric Cloud.

Since the idea of Continuous Delivery relies on the idea that software should always be ready to ship, organizations should be able to respond quickly. To do that, development teams should be focused on working in smaller increments and at an agile pace, according to Michael Butt, APM product specialist at AppDynamics.

“Continuous Delivery is based on the idea that a new version of software should be able to be deployed in production at any point in time and not be limited by calendar-based deployment schedules,” he said. “Agility is required to be successful in today’s business environment, and CD is a core enabler when rapid execution is needed.”

And as it is with the agile methodology, teams should have a culture of collaboration in practice. Everyone who is involved in the end-to-end process such as developers, testers, QA, operations and management should be on the same page, according to Phillips.