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HP Software's community for IT leaders // April 2014
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From Agile development to true fast delivery

Whether you’re delivering once a year or once a week, there are ways to deliver faster.

The bottom line

What: Being “Agile” doesn’t mean you’re serving end users any better.
Why: Agile has to evolve to true continuous delivery.
How: Planning, automation, and attacking the apps/ops silos are key.
More: Listen to the webinar, "Forrester: Better Outcomes, Faster Results—A Path to Continuous Delivery" (reg. req’d).

Agile development, and the DevOps movement, have started many organizations down the path to continuous delivery, but few are anywhere near true continuous delivery. In fact, according to a Forrester report (reg. req’d), most organizations are delivering projects every 12 months or more—hardly the speed called for in a rapidly changing, mobile-centric marketplace.

Organizations want to deliver faster—and the business definitely wants them to speed it up, too—but too many barriers stand in their way. A complex application ecosystem, slow provisioning, cultural barriers, manual test processes, lack of expertise—there’s no end to the problems that plague organizations trying and failing to release faster. But no matter where you are now, you can’t move to the next stage without keeping a few rules in mind.

A recent Forrester Research/HP Software webinar dug into the report and detailed key ways to move your Agile software development toward true continuous delivery.

  • Make a map. Know where you are and where you want to go. "Faster" isn’t enough of a goal: be specific and understand that you can’t go from yearly to weekly in one step. Maybe you’re delivering every 12 months, and want to deliver every 6 months. That’s the easy part to figure out. What’s harder is determining the obstacles standing in your way. Follow the value stream of app delivery to figure out where the bottlenecks really are, then work on fixing them one at a time.
  • Improve continuous integration and test automation. No matter how quickly (or slowly) you’re currently releasing software, continuous integration and API-driven test automation will be key to improvement. But don’t expect to achieve this overnight. You’ll see a gradual improvement, but keep your eye on the goal.
  • Automate provisioning. In some organizations, provisioning a test environment can take 60 days or longer. And often the process isn’t automated, meaning that environments aren’t consistent. This leads to defects that are harder to identify and resources that spend too much time chasing errors that delay projects. By standardizing test environments and provisioning them automatically, ops staff can focus on more strategic work. Plus, you get fewer errors, lower costs, more stability, and a repeatable process that is consistent every time. Because provisioning is such a bottleneck in many organizations, automating this one step can dramatically speed up delivery times.
  • Close the loop. Faster delivery also means faster feedback. You’ll be collecting valuable analytic data about the user experience, so channel it back into the loop. Ensure that the appropriate people understand the data and know how to apply it to future decisions, so you can continually improve apps and processes.

For more information on the barriers to continuous delivery and how to overcome them at every stage of continuous delivery, listen to the free webinar, "Forrester: Better Outcomes, Faster Results—A Path to Continuous Delivery” (reg. req’d).


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