An agile approach to software development calls for agility through all phases of a project’s lifecycle.
What is Continuous Development?
Continuous development (CD) focuses on the idea of ongoing improvement, planning, testing, delivering, and gathering feedback to continually improve the product.
While a lot of people approach the CD topic with the idea everything must be 100% automated, the truth is there’s a lot of baby steps that can occur as we mature into CD. And while there is, of course, a lot of value in automation during the software development process, there’s also a lot of practical value in Continuous development.
How Continuous Development Works
Rather than testing and improving a product in various large batches, Continuous development makes continuous updates piece-by-piece. It’s an easier process that lets us deliver software as soon as it’s completed and tested.
Depending on which control system’s being used, a main branch may be called the master, mainline, default, or trunk. At Zibtek, we use the term trunk. Branches are smaller with fewer lines of code, which makes them infinitely easier to test. Code branches are an efficient way to organize small development features, but just like branches on a tree, they’re only viable when they become part of the trunk. In CD branches should be short lived and merged quickly.
Continuous Development Process
The Continuous development process allows us to develop and deploy software projects in the most efficient, effective, and optimal way possible. It can be thought of as an “umbrella” over other processes, including continuous testing, writing user stories, feature flags, and more. Companies like Netflix, Google, Facebook, and even Tesla use the CD process to complete multiple releases per week or month.
Continuous development supports the entire agile mentality by enabling teams to:
- Focus their testing, which means less breakage, fewer lines of code means a smaller blast zone. The bigger the task, the more time is spent coding, deploying, and testing.
- Avoid the risks that come with launching large projects that might fail. Teams can introduce new concepts in a lean and agile manner. Small iterations are deployed and tested quickly and more easily pulled back if necessary.
- Deploy small tickets for faster feedback loops. And because the feedback loop from various stakeholders is expedited and continuous, developers are always provided with more tasks to better optimize the product.
- Automate policies on the trunk according to established coding standards.
- Combine automated testing with manual steps that prevent untested or unapproved code from getting into the pipeline.
Benefits of Continuous Development
Continuous Development also allows people working on the product to connect with one another. Operations, QA, testers, everyone works together to ensure the build process is done correctly and standard work practices are used.
One of the greatest benefits to Continuous Development is how swiftly new features can be developed and deployed. New iterations can be tested much faster, and automated tests quickly identify incompatibilities and bugs which can be addressed almost immediately. This accelerated process means you’re able to see a faster return on your investment than you would with other deployment methods. To learn more about continuous development and how Zibtek’s sprint planning process can support your digital transformation efforts, contact us online today to schedule a consultation.