Since Jez Humble and David Farley popularized the term in 2010, continuous delivery has revolutionized software delivery practices.
Creating mature continuous integration/continuous delivery (CI/CD) pipelines has helped enterprises deliver software that performs better, based on a long list of metrics. Failure rates have dropped from 50% to under 15%, and cycle times are measured in hours, not weeks. Organizations get to market faster and release products into production with fewer bugs.
But, there’s a limit to what CI/CD can provide. CI/CD connects only the parts of the software lifecycle that happen inside DevOps. It doesn’t provide insights into where the delivery cycle is breaking down, whether the software is helping the business meet its internal key performance indicators (KPIs), how customers are responding to it or whether last week’s release is achieving the internal efficiencies the business was projecting.
A More Holistic Approach
This is where a more holistic approach to software delivery can help. As we discussed in a previous blog, there’s a move afoot to recognize software delivery as more of a core business process and connect all the aspects of this process in one new, interconnected discipline.
The new discipline, called software delivery management (SDM), changes the game by going beyond CI/CD and empowering developers and other stakeholders to best collaborate and creatively solve problems. It gives them the data, insights and best practices that allow them to truly continuously improve, keep value flowing and efficiently develop and deliver the right products and features to customers.
To follow SDM principles, a management solution needs to rest upon four key pillars: common data, universal insights, common connected processes and having all functions collaborating.
- Data: All information within and around software delivery activity would need to be captured and stored with a consistent domain model to enable and facilitate connected processes, shared insights and collaboration.
- Insights: Visibility and insights would need to enable a common understanding and continuous learning from data across, up-and-down and throughout all functions in the organization.
- Processes: Processes would need to orchestrate the entirety of the software delivery value stream and connect functions together to efficiently bring ideas to market with maximum value and adoption.
- Collaboration: All functions and teams within and around the software delivery organization would consequently work together to amplify value creation efforts.
This holistic approach helps organizations in a number of ways. Here are three benefits DevOps managers can net in terms of the way they work, collaborate with development teams and connect with peers throughout their organizations.
The current process can be slow and tedious. Developers use tools configured to perform one task, and getting a complete end-to-end view across the toolchain is difficult. An SDM solution stores all the artifacts and data from disparate tools that move software from idea to deployment in a unified common data layer. The information is connected and available for those who need it, when they need it and in a form they can use. Just forging these connections will save hours of time looking for data, checking statuses and tracking issues throughout the delivery process.
If stakeholders have no end-to-end view of the development and delivery process, they have no way of knowing if the software is meeting the organization’s business objectives. With SDM, the continuous feedback loop established with CI/CD and DevOps is extended to fully include all stakeholders from the ideation phase through user adoption and back to ideation. Better insights are tracked more closely and shared more widely, helping developers do a better job of delivering what the users want.
Developers and business leaders don’t collaborate well for a number of reasons. Developers often don’t have a good feel for how a product is going to be used, and business leaders usually don’t have insight into what’s in development or when it will be delivered. This is complicated by scattershot communications processes–where both sides have to sort through spreadsheets, connect over email threads and wait for meetings to move processes forward. With SDM, the silos between the software organization and other stakeholders are broken down, so both sides can share information, communicate more directly and drive toward solutions.
In an upcoming blog, we’ll explore other examples of SDM in action and dive into the business value it creates for organizations.