A bit of fast forward history…
A few years back, Continuous Delivery started out as a technical evolution within software development and IT Ops circles that were tired of seeing each other as best enemies and thought they could do better. They started working on removing the friction that was sitting between the “business value” that was created by development teams and its distribution by IT Ops teams, where it would actually come into effect.
Removing the friction from within any process means the cost of repeating it over and over doesn’t create “heat” and this has fantastic consequences. As an example, simply imagine if the time it would take you to travel, anywhere, was pretty much null? Where would you live? Where would you work? Would they be the same places? Probably not.
Consequently, what might have been initially considered as a simple and local technical and organizational optimization within IT, led to have a much greater impact on companies as a whole.
Technically first, removing this friction meant that there was no incentive anymore for IT to “group” software changes in “batches” that would justify the friction cost involved in shipping that new batch to production. Why would IT wait 9 months to push a new feature batch to production if, instead, for the same cost, it could instead split this new feature into hundreds of less risky changes and push them iteratively to production? Furthermore, in doing so, IT would be able to measure pretty much in realtime whether the feature they were building in steps was indeed leading to the changes they were expecting. And this had huge consequences as this was not just reducing the IT risk associated to any change – which is a great improvement in itself - this was also enabling businesses to measure and validate much sooner, whether what they had asked IT to deliver was really yielding the expected results. Yes, business started to see huge value that Continuous Delivery could have on their business.
And in doing so, businesses realized that to fully benefit from Continuous Delivery, it wasn’t simply the IT processes that had to be adapted. The entire value creating chains and feedback loops had to be rebuilt. Since IT doesn’t work in a vacuum, business had to redefine the way business requirements are identified, formalized, and funneled to IT for delivery as a constant stream rather than as big 18 months plans. Furthermore, early feedback from those initial deployments has to re-wired back to the business so it can adapt and improve its plans. Gone are the days of IT as a remote arm of the business : once Continuous Delivery gets achieved across a company, Business and IT merge into a virtuous circle and become one. This obviously has an important impact on how companies have to architect their org chart, processes, decision process, reporting structure, etc.
Where to start?
In the last few years, the move towards Continuous Delivery has inexorably made it front and center on the agenda of development teams, IT Ops and CIOs. While the challenges they each have to solve are unique, they all have in common to be in discovery mode to understand what it means to them, how much is already there, how much should change and where and how they should start.
Since education is a prime concern, a few years back CloudBees has decided to initiate the Jenkins User Conferences with the Jenkins community. Those “JUC” aimed at helping software development, IT Ops and DevOps teams learn and share around their use of Jenkins. The 2014 edition of those “JUC” are just about to start with the American edition in Boston this week, a European edition in Berlin next week and the Middle-East edition in Israel in one month.
However, the feedback we have increasingly received in the last 12 months is that CEOs and CIOs are also very much interested in learning more about Continuous Delivery, how it can help them and what it means to their organization. To that end, CloudBees is proud to announce a series of “Continuous Delivery Seminars” - CD Summit - aimed at decision makers. The first edition will take place this week in New York city and is already counting … several hundred registrations! Hurry up if you are interested in attending, we have a few more seats available. The good news is that we will also be having a European edition of our ”Continuous Delivery Seminar” in Berlin next week. Those seminars will feature prominent speakers from Forrester, Fidelity, Bosh and leading vendors in that space.
Kohsuke Kawaguchi and I will be present at all of those events and hopefully will see you there.
CEO and Founder