While I can not take the credit for coming up with Continuous Integration (it can be traced back to timeless practices) or for even coining the term, I can take the credit for creating one of the first Open Source (later turned commercial) CI servers — Anthill, released in July of 2001. That has given me an almost unique vantage point for watching the evolution of CI and seeing it take the industry by storm. One of the most interesting phenomenon I have come across was seeing our customers use AnthillPro (back when it had build only functionality) to automate deployments back in 2004. Keep in mind that this was back in the days before the term Continuous Delivery was coined. At first it seemed to me that the wrong tool was being used for the job. But then I realized that the features present in any implementation of CI really advanced Automation from the invention stage to the innovation stage. Continue reading
With more and more companies looking into automation solutions it’s only natural that the debate of risk vs. reward enters the discussion. Recently I’ve heard the question, “What are the true benefits of automating deployments?” Most people would argue that automation will:
· Help avoid human errors that can occur when deploying manually.
· Lower the amount of time a deployment takes.
These are all undoubtedly true when implementing deployment automation, but at the end of the day they are simply components of a greater advantage. The true benefit of automating deployments is enhanced business efficiency, effectiveness, and capability. In other words, when automated, deployment enables growth and change rather than existing as a bottleneck to advancement. Continue reading
In an enterprise environment patience and small victories are key, when introducing automation into software deployment. This week, I had a conversation with a release manager that reinforced what I know about large organizations. Big change is hard to drive quickly because organizational inertia is so great. Look for little victories in areas the company is ready to take a risk on, and use that to become a trusted provider of a good service to the rest of the company.
The release manager explained in detail two of their most difficult deployments one of which took around 55 hours to complete, the other had multiple issues due to required changes made in the QA environment not being captured and were subsequently over looked when the application was deployed to production, and both deployments had 40 employees on hand to complete. Continue reading
Tomorrow (Wednesday Sept 9th) at 2 pm EDT / 11 am PDT Maciej Zawadzki and Damon Poole are going to be talking about Release Management Best Practices: Balancing Agility and Compliance.
The origin of this talk is the conflict we see in development organizations between the people who are trying hard to go faster, and the people who are trying hard to stay in control. There seems to be a fundamental tension between speed and safety… but in practice this is a false dichotomy. Automating manual tasks is a huge win both for time saved and for process enforced, for both Agility and auditing.
If you’d like to hear more you should Register Now and the join us Wednesday.
We recently cohosted a Webinar on Lean processes with our friends from AccuRev. Analysts from Forrester discussed trends in the market, and how companies are applying Lean principals to find efficiencies in their development and release efforts. The webinar was fantastic and we had more questions than we could get to live. Here are some of the questions that came back in to us that we wanted to answer or expand on.
Q: Setting up all that automation seems pretty intimidating when in the throes of projects. How much setup time is usually required for a standard .Net/Windows environment?
A: Automating does require effort. However, usually when the team has a little while to breath it can dedicate someone to automate the parts of their process that are the most wasteful. Once that’s done, the time that was spent on those processes, can be fed back into the automation loop to build out a robust system. Usually teams can get some benefit back after a couple weeks (sometimes a couple hours) that can start this cycle. Continue reading