5 Steps to Continuous Delivery and APM Success
Solving the Continuous Delivery Mystery
November 06, 2012
Ashley Owen
Share this

Continuous delivery, continuous deployment and continuous integration — what do these all mean and are they the same thing, or even related? There is a lot of confusion around continuous delivery, but what isn't a mystery is that this topic and manner of releasing applications into production is a hot button issue in the industry right now.

Continuous delivery is defined as releasing into production high quality software quickly, through build, test and deployment automation. Basically the process allows organizations to release software into the “wild” in minutes, opposed to days or even weeks.

Test automation is the sticky point for many organizations opposed to continuous delivery — yes, we said opposed. Similar to how many IT organizations balked at adopting Agile development at first, organizations are doing the same for continuous delivery. The reason: it is a relatively new paradigm shift to traditional software deployment. The controversy: there is much less emphasis on the testing phase of the process than with more traditional software development and release.

What everyone can agree on is the driving force behind continuous delivery: the speed that software can be delivered into production is unmatched compared to traditional software release trains.

DevOps, Continuous Integration and Lean Computing

There are three aspects that make up continuous delivery: DevOps, continuous integration and lean computing – tying these together is when the magic happens.

The DevOps community focuses on infrastructure as code, monitoring and improved collaboration between the houses of development, test and operations.

Lean is about innovating efficiently, soliciting feedback from customers as quickly as possible and leveraging technical competences such as continuous integration, comprehensive configuration management, automation of build, test, provision and deploy processes.

Like any continuous improvement, it should be achieved incrementally, taking into account where folks are starting from and their ability to effect changes and adopt them. The tools, practices and patterns are now available to support this, and Serena uniquely orchestrates enterprise agility.

Incidentally the KPI or metric we should be measuring is the cycle time for the software delivery process (implies a continuous delivery workflow).

For continuous integration, there is a significant cost savings to consider. Since Continuous Integration is in the early development cycle, many changes are tested frequently with feedback immediately going the development team. Multiple changes from multiple developers are developed and tested with many deployments daily.

The earlier in the development, test and release cycle that a problem is identified and a fix developed, the lower the cost. It is much more expensive to fix problems after the application is in late-stage testing, pre-production, or production. Therefore, effective continuous integration reduces costs and reduces risks.

Today’s successful business is lean, efficient and lives online. It is an agile enterprise, relying on non-traditional IT imperatives such as Cloud, mobile and social computing. These companies are defined by the new and enhanced solutions empowering their IT stakeholders. From operating on mobile phones and tablets, to automating the release of their applications both on-premises and to the Cloud, agile enterprises live and breathe efficiency. Continuous deployment delivers the speed and agility these companies crave. They do not have time to wait for three-month development and release cycles they need software deployed in minutes.

While there is an interesting angle around APM and measuring performance, adoption, etc. once deployed as an ex development manager, there is still much improvement available in the area of test automation and in particular the adoption of TDD (Test Driven Development) practices.

We have come up with the five steps organizations can take to optimize continuous delivery:

Step 1: Make the release management process and workflow accessible for many different IT functions through a common function portal for: Business, Development, Test/QA, DevOps, Release, IT Operations and IT Service Management.

Step 2: Document detailed requirements in demand, stories and the requirements management process.

Step 3: Connect the requirements, development, and release processes. Ensure that the only changes that are released are those that have been defined by requirements management and approved by the business.

Step 4: Orchestrate the release management process with Development so that newly developed code from multiple development environments flows smoothly into the common release management process.

Step 5: Improve release management flexibility through improved support of:

- Traditional Stage-Gate QA methodology

- Modern Continuous Delivery QA methodology

- Support for many different environments for deployments (test, SIT, UAT, Staging, Pre-Prod, Production)

- Support for multiple platforms such as, Windows, Linux, Unix, Mainframe

For companies that want to take this developer-driven approach, there has to be an understanding of the changes required in getting to continuous delivery and how it affects the whole process for getting new software and updates out to the organization.  

The benefit of going down this route is that IT as a whole can be more nimble in responding to a changing market, whether this is launching new services or expanding available functionality. With a lot more businesses looking at how to expand the ethos of agile from development into their wider organization, this is a great opportunity to show the rest of the world how things can and should be done.

ABOUT Ashley Owen

Ashley (Ash) Owen is Serena Software’s Director of Orchestrated ALM Strategy for the ALM Business, providing product management assistance, field support and solution strategy & advice to our customers, prospects and partners. Extensive experience in the successful design and implementation of ALM solutions across Europe, APAC and America.



Ash has spent more than 23 years in Application Lifecycle Management and Software Change and Configuration Management markets. Ash has a singular focus on improving efficiency, automation and traceability within both Enterprise IT and Embedded Systems environments.

Share this

The Latest

April 26, 2018

The growing urgency of enterprises to digitally transform their business operations and enhance customer experience was the driving force behind much of the growth in outsourcing innovation, contract awards and spending in 2017, according to the ISG Momentum Annual Report ...

April 25, 2018

Organizations are embracing digital transformation, as 89% have plans to adopt or have already adopted a digital-first business strategy, according to the 2018 IDG Digital Business Survey ...

April 24, 2018

Managing emerging technologies such as Cloud, microservices and containers and SDx are driving organizations to redefine their IT monitoring strategies, according to a new study titled 17 Areas Shaping the Information Technology Operations Market in 2018 from Digital Enterprise Journal (DEJ) ...

April 23, 2018

Balancing digital innovation with security is critical to helping businesses deliver strong digital experiences, influencing factors such maintaining a competitive edge, customer satisfaction, customer trust, and risk mitigation. But some businesses struggle to meet that balance according to new data ...

April 19, 2018

In the course of researching, documenting and advising on user experience management needs and directions for more than a decade, I've found myself waging a quiet (and sometimes not so quiet) war with several industry assumptions. Chief among these is the notion that user experience management (UEM) is purely a subset of application performance management (APM). This APM-centricity misses some of UEM's most critical value points, and in a basic sense fails to recognize what UEM is truly about ...

April 18, 2018

We now live in the kind of connected world where established businesses that are not evolving digitally are in jeopardy of becoming extinct. New research shows companies are preparing to make digital transformation a priority in the near future. However most of them have a long way to go before achieving any kind of mastery over the multiple disciples required to effectively innovate ...

April 17, 2018

IT Transformation can result in bottom-line benefits that drive business differentiation, innovation and growth, according to new research conducted by Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG) ...

April 16, 2018

While regulatory compliance is an important activity for medium to large businesses, easy and cost-effective solutions can be difficult to find. Network visibility is an often overlooked, but critically important, activity that can help lower costs and make life easier for IT personnel that are responsible for these regulatory compliance solutions ...

April 12, 2018

This is the third in a series of three blogs directed at recent EMA research on the digital war room. In this blog, we'll look at three areas that have emerged in a spotlight in and of themselves — as signs of changing times — let alone as they may impact digital war room decision making. They are the growing focus on development and agile/DevOps; the impacts of cloud; and the growing need for security and operations (SecOps) to team more effectively ...

April 11, 2018

As we've seen, hardware is at the root of a large proportion of data center outages, and the costs and consequences are often exacerbated when VMs are affected. The best answer, therefore, is for IT pros to get back to basics ...