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Planning to implement continuous delivery in your organization is a huge step forward. Once you have made that step, you must complete all the preliminary work to be done and plan out the nitty-gritties of the transformation. This step includes ensuring that your team has shared goals, and everything that can be automated and versioned in your application is done so. This step slowly shifts you and your team’s mindset into a continuous delivery mindset. Once this is done, it is time to start the implementation process.

Continuous delivery, as the name suggests, is not a simple process that can be implemented almost instantaneously after planning. It is a well-thought out process with a plan, proper steps of implementation, and alternate courses of action in case the primary one fails. Continuous delivery is a culture that your organization is beginning to adopt, so the process will move forward one step at a time, but when it is completely implemented, it will take your team’s and organization’s productivity forward by leaps and bounds.

According to Bill Holz, VP Analyst, Gartner, “Achieving CD requires engineering discipline and collaboration to simplify the complete automation of the delivery pipeline from code commit to production.”

Here we give you an insight into some of the best practices to follow while implementing continuous delivery:

1# Start with the right project – Starting the continuous delivery (CD) process with the right project is of paramount importance. The project that will use CD for the first time should neither be too complex, nor too simple. In reality, Continuous Delivery Architects are methodologists by nature, who try to justify why their organization was implementing the CD process, and in doing so, they take on projects that are too complicated to be implemented properly the first time. The better way would be to put the CD process into practice in a smaller and more manageable project. An application is easier to test when the changes made to it are small and incremental, so look for a project in a new area that has new challenges and has not yet been attached with any delivery pipeline or procedures.

2# Define the process for that project – Defining the process for an application can be anything, from something as simple as writing the steps on a piece of paper, to setting some goals for your team to pursue aggressively. Defining the process for a project bases itself on discussion among team members as well as among people of a higher position. Sitting with your team and brainstorming also gets them thinking about the different steps to be undertaken to carry forward this project and how to link those steps. Ultimately, a workflow will be born out of such brainstorming sessions where every team member can give their input into creating the process, and later automate the same.

3# Manage the process – Once your process is defined, it is time to put it all together. This is the longest step to undertake in the entire application. It is also essential to be extra careful while implementing this part. Though we cannot state the steps to be followed since it differs from process to process, we can give you a generic guideline about the steps to be followed.

  • First, make sure your builds can be reproduced without any hassles. This is achieved by configuring the build such that it uses a clean repository which is connected to the workspace of the build job, and a shared repository to store build dependencies.
  • Next, ensure that the latest version of all the tangible by products (to your development) are used in all the future builds.
  • After that, ensure that the steps in your DevOps pipeline have been equally divided among all the members of your team, based on their skills and capabilities. This also allows you to keep the application running more efficiently while figuring out which part of the process is impeding the application.
  • Finally, make sure you and your team members have instant access to a clear view of the DevOps pipeline used in your application so that there are no communication gaps and a higher grade of transparency is maintained across the organization, from project managers to the stakeholders.

4# Build a continuous learning culture – In order to deliver CD of quality solutions, ensure to execute continuous learning practices for restructuring work and reducing waste:

  • Upsurge the knowledge and skills: Evaluate the capabilities of the IT organization carefully. Utilize this assessment to classify the gaps in knowledge, skills, process, and practices.
  • Generate communities of practice for supporting organizational learning and offer crucial opportunities to develop expertise.
  • Implement the practices and processes to support complete continuous learning.

5# Evolve Agile fluency

As you move ahead in your Continuous Delivery journey, you must take two vital actions:

  • Create standard metrics to effectively move toward your goal.
  • Deploy agile methodologies. Train yourself as well as your peers to start the adoption of agile methodologies.

6# Establish Agile practices

Address the two areas as you move toward a mature agile implementation:

  • Agile technical practices offer the understanding and management to assist build quality into the application while receiving continuous feedback on the system’s willingness for production deployment.
  • Utilize a componentized architecture while crafting new applications and restructure legacy applications to allow those applications to take complete benefit of the agile and DevOps practices that are necessary to enable CD.

7# Automate infrastructure – Teams including security and data management, infrastructure, and operations (I&O) and development are under immense pressure to provide delivery to solutions swiftly. But today there is no need to wait for long to build and configure such environment. Here DevOps assists these teams to grow the frequency level of application information as it expands the agile practices and values. Nevertheless, accomplished DevOps teams need to skill to:

  • Delivery and configure tooling which assists not only the development teams but also the I&O teams to carry on and support new architecture.
  • Deploy and manage when it approaches to executing and managing your applications effortlessly. There are few questions to ask: Should we utilize containers? How do we handle them? Do we shift our applications and databases to the cloud platform? Once you get these answers, you can implement on it further.
  • Monitor applications. With the cumulative adoption of DevOps-oriented lean and agile practices, application performance monitoring is required to offer quick measurable feedback concerning the value of the latest release. The data also requires to be accessible to support fast changes in performance and availability connected with these more regular production updates.
  • Secure applications and data. This happens to be one of the vital responsibilities for security professionals. The enhanced speed of change joined with moving applications and data to the cloud make shielding your task-crucial resources more interesting.

8# Expand delivery pace – When the technical professionals reach this step, mature agile development and DevOps practices needs to be considered to ensure benefit in:

  • Implementing an enterprise agile framework. The objective of enterprise agile frameworks is to make the administration of intricate agile releases and growing solutions not only possible, but also routine and supportable.
  • Adapting microservices architecture (MSA) principles. MSA shapes the distributed applications which provides support to the agile delivery and accessible deployment, both on-premises and to the cloud platform. Once it is adopted, the MSA strikes how development teams progress and deploy software.

Implementing continuous delivery may seem like a formidable task to take on, but once you do, the process and the rewards will be worth it. These continuous delivery best practices listed above will guide your organization into becoming a continuous delivery organization that generates great benefits for its customers and itself.

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