Lyndsay Prewer
Lyndsay Prewer Agile Delivery Consultant

Our Thinking Tue 23rd August, 2016

Smoothing the Continuous Delivery Path: Production focussed stand-ups

A few months back, I wrote a post about Continuous Delivery.

I highlighted that while it’s a proven way to reduce risk and time to market and increasing a team’s agility, it can be challenging to adopt and iteratively improve. So in this next series of posts, I want to explore various approaches I’ve found helpful in smoothing the path towards a Continuous Delivery culture, in a little more detail.

First up? Production focussed stand-ups.

stand-up

A key behaviour of a Continuous Delivery culture is that Production is at the forefront of every team member’s mind. One technique I’ve found helpful to encourage this behaviour is Production-focussed stand-ups, and it’s equally effective for teams new to Continuous Delivery and those that have been practising it for years. The daily routine of the stand up provides a convenient reference point for introducing and establishing this new habit.

The key elements are:

  • A column on the team’s board for work items that are now In Production. This allows the team to easily see what’s about to reach Production, and what’s recently made it across the line.
  • Since the goal of a software delivery team is to get software into Production, start the stand up by focusing on the right-most column (likely to be In Production). Ask: what did we deploy to Production yesterday? This not only provides an opportunity for celebration, it re-focuses the team on being prepared to respond to any downturn in Production behaviour.
  • The next most important question is: what will we deploy to Production today? This question encourages discussion around release preparation, timing and post-release activities (such as monitoring and stakeholder communication).
  • The final Production focussed question is: what can we do today to get something closer to being in Production? This helps the team look ahead to when their current item will enter Production – often triggering new thoughts on actions they need to take to ensure its safe passage.

Further steps along the Continuous Delivery path

Continuous Delivery can provide many benefits, such as risk reduction and increased agility. It can be a difficult practice to establish and improve on though, as it requires significant culture change. In this article I’ve shared how Production focussed stand-ups can smooth the path towards better practice; in the next, I’ll look at the Release Team.

Lyndsay Prewer is a Delivery Lead at Equal Experts. A version of this post originally appeared on his own blog – Lyndsayp Ltd – where you can read more of his thoughts on iterative software delivery. You can also see him speaking on the topic at Agile on the Beach this September.