Continuous Integration/Continuous Deployment In A Nutshell

Continuous Integration/Continuous Deployment (CI/CD) introduces automation into the stages of app development to frequently deliver to customers. CI/CD introduces continuous automation and monitoring throughout the app lifecycle, from testing to delivery and then deployment.

Understanding Continuous Integration/Continuous Deployment

As the notion of software development continues to expand, many adjacent facets of the software development process have become prime targets for code takeover. Examples of these targets include integration and deployment, which form the basis of CI/CD.

CI/CD introduces continuous automation and monitoring throughout the app lifecycle, from testing to delivery and then deployment. Automation during script execution reduces the likelihood of introducing errors and as a result, requires less human intervention.

Furthermore, code changes are continually built, tested, and deployed at every iteration to lessen the chances that code is based on bugs or previous failed versions.

The CI/CD pipeline

Collectively, these practices are referred to as a “CI/CD pipeline” and are supported by agile approaches such as DevOps or Site Reliability Engineering (SRE). This pipeline has several benefits for business, including:

  • The ability to reduce costs and complexities and divert resources to areas that will give the best return on investment. Ultimately, the CI/CD pipeline accurately balances project resources in the context of project constraints.
  • Improved reliability. CI/CD pipelines manage the complexity of software integration where the work of multiple developers must be combined. This is achieved using the Continuous Integration Certification Test. The test is comprised of three components: daily commits to the main branch, automated triggering of build and test, and repair from any failed build within ten minutes.
  • Making the team more attractive to developers. The chances of attracting skilled talent can be increased by implementing the CI/CD pipeline, which automatically allows teams to meet 25% of the items on the Joel Test. This gives the impression of a high-functioning, professional team.

The two components of the CI/CD approach

There are two core components to the CI/CD approach. Although closely related, each component should be incorporated by the business for maximum effect.

Here is a look at each:

  1. Continuous integration. Automation is an integral part of an effective development workflow and gives project teams the time to focus on what is important. Indeed, every task that can be automated should be automated. Testing is one such process. They should verify that the steps a customer will take through a system are working – irrespective of any changes made. This gives team members the confidence to experiment, incorporate new features, detect problems early, and deliver quickly.
  2. Continuous deployment. Essentially, continuous deployment is the release of every good build that passes automated tests into production. This requires an ability to get new features, configuration changes, and bug fixes into production. Importantly, it must be achieved safely, sustainably, and quickly by ensuring that code is always in a deployable state. This state must be maintained in the face of many developers making hundreds or even thousands of changes daily.

Differences between core component terms and phrasing

Many practitioners use continuous deployment interchangeably with another term: continuous delivery. 

However, there is a difference in meaning between each term. As we have discussed, continuous deployment concerns the automation of the release of a good build to the production environment. Some prefer to call this component “continuous release” for this reason.

Continuous delivery, on the other hand, seeks to ensure that every good build is potentially ready for production release. Ideally, this means that the build is subject to user acceptance tests.

Key takeaways

  • Continuous Integration/Continuous Deployment introduces automation into the software development process to help businesses remain competitive.
  • Continuous Integration/Continuous Deployment practices are collectively known as the CI/CD pipeline, which is supported by agile approaches such as DevOps.
  • Continuous Integration/Continuous Deployment is based on the two core components of continuous integration and continuous deployment. Both work together to ensure that automation – which should be introduced wherever possible – is present in nearly every facet of the product lifecycle.

Connected Business Concepts

Scientific Management Theory was created by Frederick Winslow Taylor in 1911 as a means of encouraging industrial companies to switch to mass production. With a background in mechanical engineering, he applied engineering principles to workplace productivity on the factory floor. Scientific Management Theory seeks to find the most efficient way of performing a job in the workplace.
Poka-yoke is a Japanese quality control technique developed by former Toyota engineer Shigeo Shingo. Translated as “mistake-proofing”, poka-yoke aims to prevent defects in the manufacturing process that are the result of human error. Poka-yoke is a lean manufacturing technique that ensures that the right conditions exist before a step in the process is executed. This makes it a preventative form of quality control since errors are detected and then rectified before they occur.
A Gemba Walk is a fundamental component of lean management. It describes the personal observation of work to learn more about it. Gemba is a Japanese word that loosely translates as “the real place”, or in business, “the place where value is created”. The Gemba Walk as a concept was created by Taiichi Ohno, the father of the Toyota Production System of lean manufacturing. Ohno wanted to encourage management executives to leave their offices and see where the real work happened. This, he hoped, would build relationships between employees with vastly different skillsets and build trust.
Product discovery is a critical part of agile methodologies, as its aim is to ensure that products customers love are built. Product discovery involves learning through a raft of methods, including design thinking, lean start-up, and A/B testing to name a few. Dual Track Agile is an agile methodology containing two separate tracks: the “discovery” track and the “delivery” track.
Scaled Agile Lean Development (ScALeD) helps businesses discover a balanced approach to agile transition and scaling questions. The ScALed approach helps businesses successfully respond to change. Inspired by a combination of lean and agile values, ScALed is practitioner-based and can be completed through various agile frameworks and practices.
Kanban is a lean manufacturing framework first developed by Toyota in the late 1940s. The Kanban framework is a means of visualizing work as it moves through identifying potential bottlenecks. It does that through a process called just-in-time (JIT) manufacturing to optimize engineering processes, speed up manufacturing products, and improve the go-to-market strategy.
The Toyota Production System (TPS) is an early form of lean manufacturing created by auto-manufacturer Toyota. Created by the Toyota Motor Corporation in the 1940s and 50s, the Toyota Production System seeks to manufacture vehicles ordered by customers most quickly and efficiently possible.
Lean manufacturing seeks to maximize product value while minimizing waste without sacrificing productivity. According to the Lean Enterprise Research Centre (LERC), 60% of a typical manufacturing process is waste. While the removal of waste is perhaps synonymous with lean manufacturing, the goal of the methodology is the sustainable delivery of value to the customer.

Read Next: Continuous Innovation, Agile Methodology, Lean Startup, Business Model Innovation.

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