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The key to CI/CD success? Empower people and improve processes

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For some rookie developers, it’s hard to fathom the days when deploying to production would take months. The introduction of cloud-based operations and DevOps principles has sped up the process exponentially, meaning dev teams can release early and often. And the customer gets more value more quickly.

At the heart of that change is Continuous Integration/Continuous Delivery (CI/CD), which helps teams to focus on making rapid improvements and getting them out into the world. By building automation, governance, longevity, and security into software development pipelines, the lifecycle is accelerated. In our previous article, we established the key metrics you need to track before starting on your CI/CD journey. But successful CI/CD isn’t just about technology, or metrics, – it depends on people to work differently and adopt processes to thrive.

In our eBook – Transform Your CI/CD Pipeline – we put people, technology and processes under the microscope to explain how they work together to support your DevOps initiative. In this blog, we focus on people and processes specifically, highlighting key considerations to ensure your CI/CD efforts run smoothly.

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Is it time to transform the way you do CI/CD? Download our eBook today to learn about best practice in relation to people, technology, and processes.

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People power

People have a pivotal role to play in the success of your CI/CD strategy. Part of the puzzle is having the right people in place – people who are happy to move away from traditional software development models – and the other is a mindset shift that needs to take place. DevOps requires developers to focus on making ongoing improvements in smaller increments and responding to customer demands. 

CI/CD heavily impacts the way IT works, but it has wider cultural implications too. It is based around a completely different approach, delivering value more often to the customer, so they can reap the benefits of new features right away. For developers that means detecting errors much earlier in the process, reducing integration problems, and developing faster and with more confidence. 

When implementing CI/CD, here are a few important people-related factors to consider:

Collaboration is key

Collaboration is the cornerstone of CI/CD. Ensure communication among teams and across the organisation is front and centre, and that you have the right technology and practices in place to make it happen. For effective collaboration, you’ll want a strong mix of process, functional, technical, and soft skills across each team. 

Customer-first culture

Successful CI/CD requires people from different parts of the business to team up and share knowledge. Encourage this by helping people see the bigger picture; everyone working towards a common goal and achieving more together. Above all, a customer-first mindset should prevail. It’s your end users’ needs that are most important.

Optimise automation

For teams struggling to ship software because of inconsistency and too much manual labour, automation holds the key. But having good team knowledge of the right automation to put in place and the best tools to use will make moving away from manual methods much easier. Inspire teams to seek out the latest innovations and get up to speed.

Positive and productive

Ultimately, CI/CD development is easier for your people overall. With teams working more efficiently together, they’ll feel more productive and happier at work. A positive, productive environment will ensure you retain the best people and attract new bright sparks to the business.

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Process improvements

If you remember one thing about CI/CD processes, it’s that they should be working with your people rather than against them. They’re there to make teams’ lives easier and help them deliver value to customers quickly. As a result, integration becomes a non-event – something that’s always happening – and new products and features can be rolled out as soon as they’re ready.

Because lots of these processes will be automated, you need to plan effectively in advance, establishing a solid framework that’s designed specifically for your organisation and its needs. Don’t just cross your fingers and hope the best processes will surface during execution – do your research and really take the time to iron things out. 

Here are a few other process priorities to put in place:

  • Plan for the worst – include security teams in your process planning so you’re prepared for failure, attacks, and other risks.
  • Start with CI – build out your processes before incorporating CD as well. Then, once you’ve got good at delivery, you can turn your attention to automating deployment too.
  • Be consistent – with clear rules around what triggers and automated build or deployment, you can establish a consistent cadence that works for your team.
  • Stay committed – developers should integrate code early and often to the main branch to avoid maintenance mountains for your engineers. Don’t worry, work in progress can remain invisible to the end user.
  • Know your deployments – not all deployments are the same, and you’ll probably need different options to meet different business needs, such as canary, blue/green, and A–B testing.
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Want to know more?

To find out more about CI/CD, its significant role within DevOps, and best practice for implementation, contact us today.

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About the authors

Jobin Kuruvilla

Jobin Kuruvilla

Jobin Kuruvilla is a DevOps subject matter expert, and an experienced solutions expert and App developer. Jobin has several certifications under his belt, including Atlassian products, GitLab certified PSE, AWS, Kubernetes, Jenkins to name a few, and has spearheaded implementing Digital Transformation for teams and enterprises.