You’re not doing DevOps if you ain’t practicing continuous delivery, says CloudBees

Organisations are getting the message that DevOps is a key part of providing business agility, but many are failing to fully adopt the processes necessary for DevOps and thus not seeing a return on their investments, according research from CloudBees.

DevOps adoption is growing, if the figures can be believed, but CloudBees has found that while many developer teams might say they are doing it, they have yet to adopt continuous delivery (CD) processes, a fundamental part of DevOps.

The source for these claims is a recent survey of the user community for Jenkins, an open source automation server widely used to manage and control software delivery processes. The findings indicate that although 67 percent of respondents claim to be doing DevOps, only 49 percent said they were practicing CD.

And while the figures for DevOps adoption are growing, the gap is also getting worse; in 2017 only 47 percent of respondents claimed to be doing DevOps, with 38 percent practicing CD.

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Figures for adoption of continuous integration (CI) of code at the start of the software development lifecycle are much higher – about 81 percent of organisations are doing this – but the downstream deployment and delivery processes are all too often still manual, which means there is a disconnect somewhere in the middle, according to CloudBees.

“Because people are not practicing CD at the same rate as DevOps, they aren’t recognising the desired value or achieving the expected return on investment on their efforts. CD is the bridge to improve delivery frequency, reduce unplanned work and achieve higher value delivery. Without that bridge you‘re left with an unautomated chasm between ‘Dev’ and ‘Ops’,” said Kristin Baskett, Senior Solutions Marketing Manager at CloudBees.

The survey shows that release management is still a manual process in 62 percent of organisations, while change approval is still manual for 52 percent, and environment and infrastructure configuration is still handled manually for 45 percent.

However, CloudBees identified those survey respondents that are doing it right, whom it labelled as High Velocity Practitioners, based on indicators such as deployment frequency, depth of automation, deployment approach and cross-functional collaboration.

These developer teams have a number of attributes in common; they have implemented end-to-end automation of the entire software delivery pipeline; they are highly collaborative with teams outside the developer bubble; they have put in place tracking and capturing of key DevOps performance metrics.

In particular, CloudBees found that almost without exception, the High Velocity Practitioners collaborated outside the team to plan upcoming work, versus an average of 74 percent across all respondents.

But another key finding is that developer teams who track four or more metrics, such as deployment speed or code quality, experience 8 percent less unplanned work than those who do not bother to track metrics at all.

The High Velocity Practitioners are deploying more often, with 30 percent deploying several times a week, while 18 percent state they deploy multiple times every day.

The message for developer teams from CloudBees is thus to automate, collaborate and measure if you want your DevOps strategy to prove successful, and for heaven’s sake make sure you implement continuous delivery.

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