Modern companies today recognize that ensuring better quality releases that ship more frequently results in a competitive advantage if done right. For most, this means adopting DevOps and having complete automation of their Continuous Integration and Continuous Delivery pipelines. For others, it means building cloud native apps and benefiting from all the newer tech like Docker, microservices architecture, etc.
Regardless of the overall approach, experts agree that DevOps and CI/CD should be an integral part of your strategy. Yet, even though 73% organizations claim to have some level of DevOps processes in place, the number of organizations who do it well enough to be effective is miniscule. There is no single reason for this, but let's look at the five common reasons why organizations fail to adopt CI/CD effectively.
What is Continuous Integration and Deployment?
Continuous integration is a process where every code commit is immediately integrated into a common shared repository and built and tested automatically. The developer making the code change gets immediate feedback and can fix bugs easily since bugs are found immediately and can be tracked down to a specific commit.
Continuous Deployment is a process in which the code is packaged and deployed to a series of environments like Dev, Test, Beta, and ultimately to the live environment in Production. Automating the Continuous Deployment workflow involves many aspects like deployments, promotion through the series of environments with quality control, release management with approvals, etc.
A simple process is shown below:
This process of CI/CD looks simple, but is it really simple to practice in reality? Let's look at some common pitfalls you need to consider.
1. Lack of interest and resistance to change
Most organizations do not want to take the risk of going down an unknown path. They already have manual processes in place and are reluctant to spent the time and effort trying to implement automation, even if they do understand the benefits in theory. Also, these initiatives need to come top down from management in order to jumpstart a fundamental change in attitude and culture in the org.
2. Skills Gaps
If a team is used to relying on manual processes to ship software, it likely lacks the skills and mindset to embrace automation. Acquiring these skills takes time and effort and can take focus away from core product development. Some experienced developers are eager and very quick in grasping the new skills and knowledge required for CI and CD but not all. So skills gaps are cause a huge problem and to overcome this, repetitive trainings and changes to hiring practives are necessary.
3. Low trust in the Automation process
Adapting to CI/CD is all about Automation where your repetitive and manual processes are replaced with automation tools. Some organizations really don’t believe and are more skeptical about automation process. They focus on all the potential problems with automation instead of looking for solutions to their issues. And ultimately, they end up wasting a lot of time doing manual things and delaying their product to market.
4. Selecting the wrong tools
Selecting the right CI/CD platform and DevOps tool set is very important and a very good analysis is necessary. Do you need Docker support? What source control do you use and where do you want to deploy? How do you want to be notified at different stages of the pipeline? Do you need manual approval gates? These questions just touch the tip of the iceberg. Selecting the right tool is important since the success or failure of your automation depends on it. You can check out my article that talks about the best DevOps tools.
5. Not having a microservices architecture
I know this might sound little odd but believe me, having a microservices architecture can help speed up your automation as your application is split into small services and the team owning each service drives automation for it. However, you do need a polyglot CI/CD platform to handle heterogeneous microservices and maybe a central DevOps platform team to lay down some standards and guidelines.
Make sure you don't make these mistakes and help your organization easily make a transition from a non-DevOps organization to a DevOps organization.