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Published: Jan 11, 2010
Last Updated: Jul 30, 2011
If you are wondering “What comes after agile?,” you should look towards continuous delivery. While your development processes may be fully optimized, it still might take your organization weeks or months to get a single change into production. Continuous delivery focuses on maximizing automation including infrastructure as code, environment management and deployment automation to ensure your system is always ready for production. It is about tightening your feedback loops and not putting off anything until the end. Continuous delivery is not the same as continuous deployment, which means deploying every change to production. Continuous delivery is not a cowboy show. It puts you in charge of your production environment. The business can pick and choose what and when to deploy. If you think you’ve nailed agile development, but aren’t considering how to achieve continuous delivery, you really haven’t even started.
The past 2 years or more has seen a proliferation of continuous integration tools and platforms leading to substantial innovation in the build and release space. Distribution of builds is one such innovation and yet another is the way in which builds are now structured to make greater use of automation in various stages of the build. Build pipelines help to provide greater insight into the quality of each build and the environments to which they have been deployed. A natural expansion of the build pipeline meme is the adoption of continuous deployment techniques, where the intention is to extend the build pipeline into the production environment. This relies on automated deployment techniques and authorization mechanisms built into the continuous integration toolset. One of the key benefits is the ability to move new functionality into production rapidly and reliably.