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ThoughtWorks: Deployment Should Not Be Chaotic Big Bang!

Agile development company ThoughtWorks has used its appearance at the Agile2011 conference this week in Salt Lake City to announce its Continuous Delivery Assessment service.

In a bid to provide development shops with insight into the "current maturity" levels it adopt in its software delivery practices, ThoughtWorks asserts that its new product will reduce software delivery to a "non-event", rather than the more common risky and chaotic "big bang" release that often now occurs.

While ThoughtWorks is fast to theorize over perfect (or at least near-perfect) models for software delivery, the company's somewhat disproportionate use of generalized positivity is at risk of clouding the core message of this new release.

Top line messages state that this continuous delivery product makes software delivery responsive, fast, and reliable so that IT becomes a powerful competitive advantage for the business. But what the company is really saying is that developers need a tool to make the software development process both "predictable and automated" such that releases can be performed on demand.

"With Lean and Agile methods extending deeper into enterprise IT organizations in response to strong competitive pressures, Continuous Delivery provides the technical principles and practices needed to make sure that organizations can actually get the results they want," said Jez Humble, principal at ThoughtWorks Studios.

"With our Continuous Delivery Assessment service we perform a health check to determine the condition of a customer's technical practices and organizational alignment and then work with them to put a plan in place which will allow them to achieve their goals."

ThoughtWorks is offering programmers what it calls "improved collaboration and aggressive automation" of the software build, test, deployment, and infrastructure management processes.

The ThoughtWorks Continuous Delivery Assessment is a one-to-three week onsite engagement that is conducted through a series of workshops, interviews, and so-called "situational observations" involving everyone who contributes to the software delivery process.

It aims to provide IT organizations with a clear understanding of current capabilities, processes, and technologies, detailed analysis of the gaps between the current state of software delivery and the desired future state, as well as recommendations on how to evolve toward integrated delivery practices.

Areas that are assessed during a Continuous Delivery Assessment engagement include:

  • Development practices and tools
  • Build/deploy/release management, automation, and tools
  • Testing strategy and automation
  • Requirements definition, management, and lifecycle
  • Delivery methodology
  • Organizational alignment

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