What is Continuous Delivery (CD) in project management? If you know the answer, then great, but if you don’t, then do not worry because, in this post, we will give you a detailed breakdown of Continuous Delivery (CD) and what it means in project management.
Let us start with the basics.
What Is Continuous Delivery (CD)?
You might have guessed the basics from the term itself. Yes, Continuous Delivery (CD) is a means of delivering the end products in short, sustainable cycles. It is an agile practice primarily used in software development.
The end products, mentioned earlier, refer to the production of new software, the addition of new features to an existing one, bug fixes, etc.; the software development technique relies on automation to speed up and incentivize the release of new codes.
One of the most significant advantages of Continuous Delivery (CD) is that organizations can save a lot of time that is usually spent on running the complete process by pushing the process into automation. Instead of working on multiple features simultaneously, the technique encourages the development, testing, and release of the features in a continuous stream.
The changes are implemented regularly which helps save time, money, and effort. Plus, it also reduces the risks involved in the process.
The automated process leads to developing a release pipeline for testing and quality assurance. Every release then passes through the same pipeline to make sure that the result is perfect to the t.
What Is Continuous Delivery (CD) Pipeline?
The continuous Delivery (CD) pipeline is one of the most important and most beneficial features of the whole process. It delineates a series of steps that have to be followed to develop software.
The pipeline helps with monitoring and automation of the process and is usually implemented at the integration or testing phase of the software development cycle. The creation of a pipeline streamlines the development process to a great extent.
How Does Continuous Help in Software Development Processes?
There are several ways in which Continuous Delivery (CD) is advantageous for software development. Here are some of them:
- Streamlined Development: One of the biggest advantages of Continuous Delivery (CD) is that it streamlines the whole software development process, making it much simpler and easier. Usually, software developments are bundled and once developed, implemented simultaneously. In contrast, continuous Delivery (CD) functions on the development of codes on a regular basis and these codes are then released in small increments.
- Faster Removal of Bugs: Bugs can arise in any phase of software development. The plus point of continuous development is that it makes bug fixing relatively easy. All software developers have to do is identify the faulty code, go back to the last increment, fix the code, test it and then implement it.
- Faster Development and Deployment: Software projects can often become very complex and hard to tackle; continuous Delivery (CD), in such situations, offers a better approach to dealing with the complexities. With incremental developments, Continuous Delivery (CD) ensures the quality of the releases. Also, it makes it easier for developers to collaborate on the software development process.
- Continuous Feedback: Continuous Delivery (CD) makes the whole software development process much more efficient by incorporating feedback obtained from stakeholders and users. The feedback helps improve the quality of the releases and encourages transparency and accountability in the whole team.
- Saves Time, Costs, and Efforts: This one is as clear as day. Continuous Delivery (CD), with its automation features and incremental changes, significantly reduces the time, finances, and efforts spent on developing the release.
- Smaller Codes: The software development in small increments means that smaller codes are developed and integrated, one at a time. In contrast to heavier chunks of complex codes, smaller codes are much easier to handle and can be repaired easily if any fault is detected.
In the upcoming section, we have highlighted 5 steps for successfully implementing the practice within your organization. With all these advantages we have just listed, we are sure you will be tempted to incorporate the practice into your organization. Well, worry not because we have covered you on that front.
Off you go.
What Is Continuous Delivery (CD) in Project Management?
In simple and to-the-point terms, Continuous Delivery (CD) in project management means the employment of the same method for the efficient completion and delivery of projects. Just as how the process involves incremental changes in software development, in the same way, a project can be divided into smaller chunks and worked upon in smaller increments.
Instead of dealing with the project as a whole, Continuous Delivery (CD) encourages the division of the project into smaller tasks and regular deployment of the tasks which ultimately helps in the successful and timely completion of the project.
In the following section, we explain how you can incorporate the practice within your organization.
Implementing Continuous Delivery (CD) in The Organizational Structure:
Follow the following 5 steps to flawlessly incorporate Continuous Delivery (CD) in your company:
1. Encourage Continuous Learning:
One of the biggest barriers to implementing a different practice in an organization is the employees’ or team members’ unwillingness to adopt a practice they are not familiar with. But you cannot let their fears get their best since Continuous Delivery (CD) will ultimately benefit them the most.
To make sure that they accept and adopt the practice for the better:
- Analyze the gaps in the knowledge and skills, etc., that hinder your organization’s progress.
- Frequently communicate with team members, encourage the same within the team, and create an environment conducive to learning.
- Lead by example. Adopt the practices you want to implement and encourage others to do the same.
- Establish a harmonious environment where everyone can learn and grow, step by step.
2. Work On Agile Fluency:
While on your journey to establishing the practice in your company, make sure that you have clarity on the following three:
- You have a firm understanding of your goals and clearly define the word ‘successful’ in your mind.
- You know how you will implement the strategies and educate your team about adopting the strategy, and you understand when to move from one step to the next.
- You understand how to eliminate bottlenecks and improve the efficiency of the team.
3. Identify The Agile Practice You Want to Implement in Your Organization:
Since Continuous Delivery (CD) is an agile practice, you have to identify a management framework that works best for your team. Whether it is Kanban or Scrum, you must make sure that whichever method you adopt helps maintain quality, provides insight into the process, and offers a feedback loop for continuous improvement.
Automation is a necessary part of Continuous Delivery (CD). Without automation features, the development and delivery of a new project will be exhausting for the members, heavy on the budget, and too time-consuming.
Make sure that your team has access to:
- Relevant tools that help them along the way
- Secure applications with no threat of data breach of any kind
- Monitoring applications that can help them monitor their performance on the go so that they can add and incorporate feedback and make improvements wherever whenever necessary.
- Easy-to-manage and easy-to-use automation tools so that they can save their time and invest it in things that matter more
And if all these features can be packed into one tool, that will be the cherry on the top. It will reduce the burden for you and save team members from the constant juggling between apps that is, otherwise, inevitable.
5. Review And Revise:
Once you have identified a proper tool, established a harmonious environment, and made sure that your team is ready to adopt the practice, you will implement it in your organization.
But your job does not end here, once the practice is in motion, you have to look for any loopholes that may have missed your sight. Once you have identified these gaps, you can work on revising the technique and making it better and more suitable for your whole team.
Best Practices for Successful Implementation Of CD:
Now that you have a firm understanding of continuous delivery and have learned the hows of the equation let’s take a look at the best practices for implementing the practice within the structure of your organization.
1. Assimilate Quality Within the Process:
You have to learn and absorb in your system that quality checks are not an afterthought left to the QA team. Quality assurance is a part of the process, every step of the way, from initiation and testing to deployment.
The core feature of Continuous Delivery (CD) is the feedback loop that helps improve the project and make sure that it meets the quality expectations of the consumer and stakeholders. Also, automated testing helps identify bugs or any faults that may hinder your progress in the later stages of the process.
So, when implementing Continuous Delivery (CD), make sure that monitoring and automation are a definite part of your delivery cycle.
2. Difficult Tasks First:
Your main aim with Continuous Delivery (CD) is to make deployments regular rather than sporadic and ensure that each release is perfect in terms of quality. To accomplish your goals, we suggest that you get done with the most difficult tasks first.
Tasks that demand more time, attention, and effort should be dealt with first. This will give you a long time for any changes you might want to incorporate later. You will also be able to test the quality again and again.
The complexity of the task will make it easier to do the simpler tasks faster and easier. Like any other task in your routine, doing the most complex thing first will also relieve you of that burden and make work a happy affair.
3. Shared Responsibility:
Projects are a team effort, the whole project cannot be dumped on a single individual neither is a single individual to be blamed if anything goes wrong in the process. Since it is a team effort, every person on the team carries equal responsibility for the project.
Each team working on the process should ensure that the release is perfect in every aspect.
4. Define ‘Done’ In Clear Terms:
What does ‘done’ mean for you, your team, and the project itself? One of the common pitfalls in the delivery process is the lack of clarity on the ambitions for the project. ‘Done’ should not mean that an individual is done with their task, nor is it supposed to mean that one team has successfully finished their part of the deal.
‘Done’ is the end goal; it means that the end product has been deployed, the input of the whole team is complete, and the software is released. Make sure that every member of every team understands the end goals and what you wish to achieve with the project.
We are now ‘done’ with this post which means we have covered every aspect of the Continuous Delivery (CD) process, and the fact that you are reading it means that it is published already. Hooray!
We hope that this article will help you understand the basics of the process and the implementation of the same within your organization. If you encounter any difficulty in the process, you can write to us here, and we will get back to you as soon as we can.
Best of luck!