Written by Sudeepa Bose
In this era of digital transformation, there has been a surge in demand for digital services. In order to meet these demands and match the pace of their rapid shift, organizations need to achieve both agility and reliability to deliver value when bringing new products and services to market.
Hence, organizations are adopting and implementing Agile development methodologies, such as CI/CD practices, as they enable DevOps and software development teams to focus on meeting business requirements, code quality and security by automating the deployment steps.
According to Gartner, CI/CD is one of the major trendsetters, as it is one of the Agile practices most commonly adopted by major organizations. This is because the quicker a company moves, the better its bottom line.
So, how does CI/CD implementation benefit organizations?
For starters, let’s first understand what CI/CD is.
What is CI/CD?
Continuous integration (CI) is a set of development practices and coding philosophies that helps developers and development teams to implement changes and check in to integrate code into a shared repository frequently. The goal of CI is to integrate and validate changes with an automated build, allowing teams to detect bugs early. By maintaining consistency in the integration process and automation method to build and test applications, teams are more likely to detect errors quickly and easily and commit code changes more frequently, which leads to better teamwork, reduced build time and improved software quality.
Continuous delivery (CD) is an extension of CD, as it starts from the endpoint of continuous integration. CD automates the application delivery process and helps in making modifications in the production stage or delivering them post-delivery into the hands of users safely and sustainably. Modifications include changes in new features, configuration, experiments and bug fixes. By keeping the code in a deployable state, CD makes frequent changes an effortless task.
CI/CD is a collection of practices and operating principles and a culture that helps cross-functional and app development teams to deliver software more swiftly, safely and reliably. CI/CD implementation helps organizations to develop quality software through well-aligned and automated development, testing, delivery and deployment.
This ensures fewer errors and improves the team’s collaboration and efficiency rate throughout the entire lifecycle of software development. CI/CD has now become the backbone of software development practices for most organizations. It plays a vital role in bridging the gap between development and other interrelated teams. If you want to know more or are planning to make a switch to CI/CD, you are in the right place.
Without further ado, let’s deep dive into how CI/CD binds integration and delivery activities together to help organizations deliver better software faster.
Here are the 10 best CI/CD practices to maximize your dev team efforts:
1. Reduced code changes
One major technical advantage of CI/CD that expedites the software development and delivery process is that it allows teams to integrate small pieces of code at a time. These smaller code changes are simple and easy to handle compared to a large bulk of code.
Continuous testing of the small pieces of code as soon as they are integrated into the main branch of the code repository helps product teams to catch and fix bugs before they reach the customer. This is a major advantage for remote developers as well as in-house teams of large development companies.
2. Fault isolations
Fault isolation refers to the practice of designing a system in a way that limits the scope of negative outcomes when an error occurs by detecting the root cause and exact location of the fault. This approach is one of the most proclaimed benefits of CI/CD, as it limits the negative impact of an undetected and unresolved problem.
A CI/CD pipeline makes systems easier to maintain, as it makes fault isolation quicker and easier before an issue causes any damage and affects the entire system. Therefore, implementing CI/CD methodologies while designing a system ensures faster detection of fault isolations and easy implementations.
3. Upgraded MTTR
Mean Time to Resolution (MTTR) measures the reliability and maintainability of repairable features. It sets an average timeline for the repair of any broken feature. In short, a CI/CD pipeline helps in recovering faster from any setback, as the fix is tested in no time, helping teams to track the recovery time from a failure.
Through smaller code changes and faster detection of fault isolations, CI/CD implementations play a vital role in reducing the MTTR and keeping failures in check, which is one of the crucial business risk assurances.
4. Continuous Reliability
CI/CD can help to improve test reliability due to the atomic, bite-sized and specific changes that are introduced to the system. This empowers and allows for accurate and relevant positive and negative tests conducted by the development or QA team.
This approach of test reliability within CI/CD is also known as continuous reliability, as it makes the code more reliable with the continuous integration through constant testing along with assimilation of the release of new products and features.
5. Accelerated Release Rate
CI/CD helps accelerate release rates since the time to detect and correct failures in production is shorter. Therefore, the escapes are shorter. However, frequent releases in software development systems are only possible if the code is developed in a continuously automated testing system.
CI/CD continuously merges code and constantly deploys it after thorough testing to production-like systems, keeping the code in a release-ready state. This helps organizations to create a uniform delivery mechanism that runs the same procedures for each code change and is trusted by all.
6. Superior Code Quality
CI/CD enhances the overall code quality, as the CI/CD pipeline empowers developers to integrate their code in small batches into a shared repository. This improves collaboration and communication among teams, as remote and in-house developers can share their builds with the entire development and product team more frequently and collaborate for comprehensive detection and fixes.
Therefore, CI/CD implementation reduces the chance of bad and buggy code making it too far into production, as stable builds that are free of any critical bugs are shared among teams.
7. Reduced Costs
CI/CD pipeline automation limits the error count and potential loss and impact that a deployment problem can cause in the many repetitive steps of CI and CD. This repeated automated deployment helps developers identify and fix errors early on in the development lifecycle before it is too late, thereby saving developers time.
In this way, CI/CD pipeline implementation enhances code quality, which boosts the organization’s overall ROI.
8. Better Team Transparency and Accountability
CI/CD encourages transparency and accountability for ongoing issues among team members. It is a great way to receive continuous feedback from your team. This increases transparency among team members and encourages shared responsibility and accountability. Since CI focuses on the development team, the feedback and reports generated from this part impact build failures, code merging issues, architectural holdups, etc.
CD, on the other hand, emphasizes a steady and constant flow of these feedback reports to help teams to analyze and fix problems efficiently, making the product even better. A solid CI/CD strategy promises more freedom to development teams to concentrate on the crucial aspects of the project.
9. Reduced backlog
Integrating CI/CD into your development process plays a pivotal role in reducing non-critical defects in the development team’s backlog. Since defects are identified and handled in a timely manner before they make it too far into production, the features are delivered promptly and without errors to end users.
Both developers and testers struggle with the time-consuming process of solving non-critical defects. CI/CD helps to take the pressure off the development team and shift their attention to system improvement or other critical issues. The supreme benefit of this is that it keeps clients happy and maintains a high level of customer satisfaction by ensuring a high-quality, error-free product.
10. Easy maintenance and updates
Last but not least, regular maintenance and updates are the backbone of delivering a great product. However, taking the system down to update code changes during peak hours can create deployment issues and might end up upsetting customers.
Incorporating CI/CD ensures shorter and targeted release cycles, blocking features that aren’t release-ready. It also creates microservices in the code architecture so that only one specific area is taken down at a time. In a CI/CD pipeline, maintenance and updates are done during downtime periods or non-critical hours, thus saving precious time for the entire team.
Continuous integration (CI) and continuous delivery (CD) as a bundle or interconnected process promise more agility to software companies by reducing software development and delivery timelines from months to weeks, days or even hours. This helps companies to deliver better software faster.
If you have been considering CI/CD pipeline integration, well, now is the time to take the leap and implement CI/CD into your software development process. It has proven benefits and will surely be worthwhile.
And that’s a wrap!
Sudeepa Bose is a freelance writer from India. She’s a writer throughout the day and a reader by the night. She holds a master’s degree in English Literature and has experience spans over 7 years into IT, Tech, and content writing in diverse fields. You can reach her on LinkedIn.