Fulfilling the promise of CI/CD

Published in internet, tech industry, on Feb 18, 2021

Great article from Charity Majors on why continuous delivery matters in 2021. Some quotes that stood out to me:

The point of CI is to clear the path and set the stage for continuous delivery, because CD is what will actually save your ass. 

This is the death spiral of software development. But there is another way. You can fix the problem at the source, by focusing relentlessly on the length of time between when a line of code is written and when it is fully deployed to production. Fixate on that interval, automate that interval, track that interval, dedicate real engineering resources to shrinking it over time. 

This may surprise you, but continuous deployment is far and away the easiest way to write, ship, and run code in production. This is the counterintuitive truth about software: making lots of little changes swiftly is infinitely easier than making a few bulky changes slowly. 

Conversely, teams that don’t have a practice of swift deploys and aren’t used to looking at their changes in production, well, they don’t find those bugs. (Their customers do.)

It can also be a hard sell to make to upper management. You’re asking them to accept a delay on their feature roadmap in the short term and possibly less reliability for some indeterminate amount of time in order to implement something that runs absolutely counter to our basic human instincts, which tell us to slow down to increase safety.

The teams who have achieved CI/CD have not done so because they are better engineers than the rest of us. I promise you. They are teams that pay more attention to process than the rest of us. Great teams build great engineers, not vice versa.

Is it hard? Yes, it is hard. But I hope I’ve convinced you that it is worth doing. It is life changing. It is our bridge to the sociotechnical systems of tomorrow, and more of us need to make this leap. What is your plan for achieving CI/CD in 2021?