Typically, an organization should already have some sort of agile methodology in place before it moves onto implementing Continuous Delivery, according to Atlassian’s Huselid.
“If you haven’t embraced agile already, you are probably not ready for it,” she said. “If you are not developing software in a way where you are delivering small, bite-size chunks of code over shorter periods of time, you will fall down on Continuous Delivery. Continuous Delivery is taking agile to that next step, which is not just I am building in that way, but I am delivering in that way.”
Tools are key, but not the key to Continuous Delivery
According to XebiaLabs’ Phillips, organizations typically think of Continuous Delivery as a blueprint of tools they need to implement, but the truth is tools are a way to improve the way an organization works. Tools are not a what, but a how.
While it isn’t just a blueprint of tools, a team of developers alone cannot speed up the release time of software; tools are a crucial part to implementing a Continuous Delivery strategy, according to the results of Evans Data Corp.’s North American Development Survey, 2014, Volume II. The report revealed that developers rely on source-code version-control and bug-tracking tools to successfully execute CD strategies.
“This shows the importance of tools in automating the Continuous Delivery model,” said Janel Garvin, CEO of Evans Data. “Without tools to enforce processes and enable developers to rapidly release and deploy new versions, Continuous Delivery is just a set of best practices.”
With tools being an important part of the strategy, organizations need to make sure they choose a tool that serves as the backbone of their automation efforts, according to Electric Cloud’s Wallgren.
“Using many different tools will increase your need to integrate them, which introduces delays and opportunities for mistakes. This then allows you to choose best-of-breed or fit-for-purpose tools for individual parts of your process and have your automation platform drive those tools,” he said.
Although Wallgren suggested it is better for an organization to pick one tool, CloudBees’ Labourey said that most companies adopting a CD approach will already have a lot of IT assets in place and will have to automate a pipeline that will mix a lot of existing tools. So, when looking for a tool that will be the most effective for your organization’s delivery strategy, the product should be flexible.
“Probably one of the most important aspects of the tool you’ll be using to build your overarching CD pipeline lies in its ability to plug in an extremely wide variety of tools and makes it trivial to implement your own custom integrations, in an open fashion,” he said.