“CI/CD success requires a sound approach” on the Software Development Times, January 8, 2020.
There’s considerable confusion about “the best way” to approach CI/CD when no single path exists. There are important considerations organizations should contemplate avoiding wasting time and money that could have been spent making progress, however.
“One of the first things an organization should do is understand what their needs are [in terms of] the business, their application and the application environment,” said Alan Zucker, founding principal of training and consulting firm Project Management Essentials. “The other thing you should do when looking at your CI/CD pipeline needs is to figure out what you’re going to get the biggest benefit from, your automation or integration work or where your pain points are. Then start stitching things together.”
Some people are really excited about CI/CD because they want to get more done faster, but not everyone. CI/CD automates a lot of manual tasks that have been associated with job descriptions.
“Organization and culture are the biggest barriers. You should have accountability at the lowest responsible level so people are taking ownership for their work and people have that end-to-end responsibility,” said Project Management Essentials’ Zucker. “[Companies are] trying to acquire new methodologies and processes and spend a lot of money training people in the same old tools, but then they still behave the same old way and they don’t get the results they want.”
It’s easy to expect too much too soon. Buying tools alone won’t help, nor will automating processes that weren’t designed well in the first place. The space itself is evolving, and as a process, organizations are wise to approach CI/CD from the perspective of continuous improvement, since they’ll discover many things that could along the way anyway. Trying to do too much too quickly can backfire.
“I would not counsel anybody to go from a well-controlled annual process to push-button full release management. You’re talking about a several-year journey with a lot of fits and starts,” said Zucker.