The Definitive Guide to Modern Software Delivery

Written by: Drew Piland
4 min read

In the ever-evolving software economy, the demand for innovation has never been higher. The pressure to fend off competitors, adhere to regulatory frameworks, and guard against cyber threats is an ongoing struggle. Simultaneously, there's the task of satisfying a user base that craves regular, flawless feature rollouts. Let's not forget the need to manage budgets, streamline staff, and ensure that all operations align perfectly with your business objectives. Does it sound like you're juggling a million things simultaneously without dropping the ball? Welcome to the world of modern software delivery.

So, how do you manage all this without the entire process collapsing like a house of NFTs? The answer lies in running a tight ship with an efficient software delivery life cycle (SDLC).

What Would a Bleeding-Edge SDLC Look Like?

Before diving into the specifics, let's consider the broader goals of a modern SDLC. With the competing demands of software delivery, what would we need to make this process not just possible but almost painless?

Working Faster

Speed to innovation, speed to market, and delivering features to your users at the pace your business objectives demand is crucial. This means keeping your developers focused on innovation rather than distractions like bugs and security fixes.

Working Smarter

The ideal SDLC would empower you to deliver Agile—minus the friction, confusion, & inefficiency. Agile is a must, but we’d want to amplify the good (adaptability, continuous improvement, and customer satisfaction) while avoiding common pitfalls (communication breakdowns, tool/process/staff bloat, and misalignment between DevOps and business teams).

Your Dream SDLC – Feature by Feature

Let's dive into the specific features your SDLC needs to reach your modernization goals.

Centralized Visibility & Control

Your SDLC is a complex machine with many moving parts that can easily spin out of control or grind to a halt. Your goal should be to ensure this never happens while ensuring that every component of your SDLC operates efficiently to the maximum benefit of your business objectives. 

Continuous Integration/Continuous Delivery (CI/CD)

CI/CD is the one-two punch of modern software delivery. Continuous integration (CI) involves integrating code changes from multiple devs into a shared repository as often as possible before subjecting them to automated building and testing processes. Continuous delivery (CD) takes it from there, using automation to usher changes through QA, staging, approvals, and ultimately into production.

Automation and Release Orchestration (RO)

Automation is the foundation of an efficient SDLC to save time, resources and reduce errors. But automation alone isn’t enough. Release orchestration ensures all individual automated processes operate harmoniously across all releases.

Continuous Governance

Governance is how you bring a set of rules and a framework for enforcing those rules to your SDLC. This ensures all steps perform as intended by mapping out end-to-end application release processes. By orchestrating your SDLC, evidence collection is automated to rapidly generate audit reports.

DevOps Analytics and Value Stream Management

Any organization filled with engineers is data driven. By collecting data on KPIs and other relevant metrics, your enterprise can identify areas for improvement to release software faster. However, going faster isn’t always the ultimate goal. Prioritize improvements that deliver the most business value.  

Value Stream Management starts with a shared understanding that the purpose of your SDLC is to maximize business value and customer satisfaction; this requires access to comprehensive DevOps analytics to overlay with value streams. Once in place, engineers and business leaders can align on clear goals to ensure faster software releases targeted at driving maximum business impact.

Progressive Delivery via Feature Management

Progressive delivery is the process of deploying new features, updates, or fixes individually. Attaching feature flags to individual code changes allows improvements to be gradually released to a subset of users. Deploying code in waves promotes faster feedback loops and reduces risk by enabling rollbacks in production. 

Continuous Security & Compliance

No matter how good your pipeline is, if your approach to assessing, asserting, and evidencing security and compliance are manual, disconnected events, you’re going nowhere fast. Instead, integrate security and compliance tools (and checks) into every stage of your SDLC. These compliance checks should be abstracted from your pipeline to avoid brittleness. When done correctly, you can go fast and safe without compromise. 

CloudBees Platform

CloudBees provides an enterprise-class experience for all the features discussed in this guide so you can manage your SDLC precisely and efficiently. Our platform helps you deliver products to your customers faster and safer. Reach out to discuss how the CloudBees Platform can transform your SDLC and business.

Download for the whitepaper, The Definitive Guide to Modern Software Delivery now!

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