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Time between releases has accelerated & the amount of work has expanded

Is your release cycle process costing you a fortune?

Bob Davis
continuous delivery

© Shutterstock / milo827

Organisations may have started with a simple release cycle with a small number of developers and QA testers but projects have quickly become more complex, requiring more developers, more teams and more time. In this article, Bob Davis explains why the case for continuous delivery management is likely to become indisputable over time.

The release cycle for applications has changed tremendously in recent years, with the time between releases accelerating and the amount of work involved in testing applications before release expanding. As the scale and scope of application releases have grown and widened, the management of the testing process has become ever more complex.

Poor management of those increasingly complex enterprise test environments can lead to application release delays that can be enormously expensive. That is simply not acceptable in this day and age.

How did you get here?

Organisations may have started with a simple release cycle with a small number of developers and QA testers but projects have quickly become more complex, requiring more developers, more teams and more time. With multiple teams across multiple departments, coordination and collaboration become difficult and time-consuming. Timelines increase and so do the risks of delay, which can be very costly.

A lot of organizations do not have the processes in place to achieve successful delivery of components or services. Their release management process is inadequate to the task, resulting in bugs and live crashes.

What can you do about it?

To manage multiple test environments and eliminate conflict and configuration challenges, organizations need to deploy the right testing system. They need a management system that provides a consolidated view of the availability, usage and configuration of enterprise-scale application testing. This serves to improve visibility, traceability and control and helps to minimize the cost of testing delays.

One way organizations can address this problem is with Test Environment Management (TEM) which delivers a number of benefits:

  • Appropriately configured testing environments can be provided when needed;
  • Development teams can deliver higher quality production software without extending the software development cycle;
  • Organizations can save time and money because they don’t have to devote so much time and resources addressing bugs and vulnerabilities after release.

TEM improves production applications, allows development teams to extend their testing cycle and spend more time working on new products by reducing the number of defects. But as it covers a wide range of components and architectures, it can be difficult for TEM to provide a full view of availability, usage and configuration detail in the environment. For enterprises with thousands of test environments, this can cause conflicts and faulty configurations, resulting in hefty financial losses.

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Where do you go next?

There is a growing requirement to support agile, continuous delivery and multi-speed development but this is proving difficult for TEM. Organisations are also under pressure to keep pace with the massive acceleration in the pace of software delivery and increase test efficiency on a flat budget.

Managing test environments presents a number of challenges that can become a significant obstacle to achieving efficiencies in enterprises. A delay to a single pipeline can disrupt the flow of the entire release.

Managing release pipelines is more important than ever, but with IT delivery teams releasing to production at different rates the challenge is to minimize the risk of application downtime and reinforce production stability. By enabling the efficient deployment of code between development and production, release management can help eradicate many of those difficulties and eliminate problems that can occur further down the track.

The case for continuous delivery management

With the growing complexity of IT projects and the high cost of failure, the pressure is on organizations to find ways to make the release and test management process more efficient, reliable and faster. The manual and time-consuming processes used in the past to drive the overall delivery no longer fit the bill.

There is a clear argument in favor of automation replacing the huge manual coordination efforts required in enterprise release delivery. This would enable enterprise IT teams to assume the role of cross-functional product teams, enabling continuous delivery with governance and control from the business.

Continuous delivery management uses a big data approach to glue together information from various DevOps tools and allow IT delivery resources to gain real-time visibility into their release pipelines. With continuous delivery management, organizations can manage the application delivery process from start to finish across their entire portfolio. They can manage pre-production environments, software testing and software delivery across the lifecycle of each release – and the entire portfolio.

SEE ALSO: The need for Continuous Deployment

Continuous delivery management allows the business to use reporting and analytics to make better decisions and allocate resources appropriately to projects. IT management has the tools to govern projects efficiently and effectively, while individual engineering and operations teams can continue to use their existing tools, but with live reports and control from the business. Improved collaboration between all parties in the release process enables faster and more frequent releases – with real-time analytics on quality before they are moved into production.

The case for continuous delivery management is likely to become indisputable over time. With the growing complexity of the release process allied to the demand for faster delivery and the need for agility, these add even more pressure to the release and test management process. The good news is that it’s here already and it can deliver. The question is: are you ready?

Author

Bob Davis

Bob brings to Plutora more than 30 years of engineering, marketing and sales management experience with high technology organisations from emerging start-ups to global 500 corporations. Before joining Plutora, Bob was the Chief Marketing Officer at Atlantis Computing, a provider of Software Defined and Hyper Converged solutions for enterprise customers. Bob has a proven track record using analysis-driven and measurable revenue-based marketing. He has propelled company growth at data storage and IT management companies including Kaseya (co-founder, acquired by Insight Venture Partners), Sentilla, CA, Netreon (acquired by CA), Novell and Intel.


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