Quality at speed in high-performance IT delivery with CI/CD
The CI/CD pipeline supports one of the letters in the CALMS DevOps framework; the A of automation. The pipeline bridges the gap between development and operations by automating the building, packaging, testing, provisioning of infrastructure and deployment of applications in the integration process and delivery process.
High-performance IT delivery teams deliver value in a rapid pace. To experience the benefits as soon as possible the IT system has to be brought to 'production' as fast as possible without doing any concession to the quality.
The CI/CD pipeline in itself doesn't increase the quality of the system, but it automates the execution and evaluation of development and operations activities including the tests and thus quickly supplies information about the quality. Automating these repeating, time consuming steps is essential to maintain quality at speed.
The figure above shows our stylistic representation of a CI/CD pipeline which consists of the CI part (the build pipeline that represents the team scope) and the CD part (the release pipeline that represents the business scope). In every stage of the CI/CD pipeline, continuous monitoring and the feedback from the monitoring are integrated. Any problem encountered in one of the stages will be – automatically – reported and the CI/CD workflow will be stopped. DevOps teams have the practice to always have a successful CI/CD pipeline so the DevOps team members will solve the problem and the process then reiterates.
The setup of a complete CI/CD pipeline requires a certain level of maturity of the IT organization. But start as soon as possible: even a subset of the complete pipeline already brings the advantage to deliver improved quality and stability to the IT system.