What do we know about Continuous Delivery – and what would we like to know

Continuous Delivery (CD) is often presented as a “one-size-fits-all” solution and “if you jump on the CD waggon you will go to Paradise – trust me”.  “A couple of tools put together and you are up and running – that works for me”.  Some research indicates that this may not be the case. That CD adoption difficulties and benefits are case specific and dependent on company circumstances and competences. The general recommendations in Humble and Farley’s book are the same. So why are some companies excelling from a trouble-free implementation of CD, while other companies are struggling or experiencing outright failures?

A collaborative research project between academia and industry in Scandinavia has set out to investigate the impact and implications of the “continuous” trend.  We do not just look at the more technical issues of CD, but also at how the CD pipeline interfaces with and impacts on organizational and other aspects. Imagine you have managed to tune your CD pipeline to perfections – are you sure that the rest of the organization is ready for that and will be able to keep up? So we want to take a more holistic view of things in the broader term of Continuous Software Engineering.

The main purpose of the research project is to explore the current state of the practice for Continuous Software Engineering in industry. What is it that we know? What is it that we don’t know? What is it that we would like to know?  And what is it that we didn’t know that we don’t know? This is done in part through systematic literature review of both academic publications and industrial white papers and in part through interviews with CD practitioning companies and CD thought leaders.

In this talk, we will light a candle in the darkness of claims around CD by sharing some preliminary results from this joint academia-industry research project.