Continuous Delivery is a set of principles and practices to improve the stability and throughput of a release process. But what does it mean to be practising Continuous Delivery? What comes beforehand, what comes afterwards, and how many deploys a day do you actually need?
The book Measuring Continuous Delivery by our founder Steve Smith describes how to guide the adoption of Continuous Delivery, using stability and throughput measurements. The book introduces a new term into the lexicon of Continuous Delivery – Discontinuous Delivery.
Discontinuous Delivery is when an organisation has a release process that lacks the stability and speed required to satisfy business demand
An organisation that cannot release product increments sufficiently reliably or quickly for its customers is in a state of Discontinuous Delivery. By applying the principles and practices of Continuous Delivery to its unique circumstances and constraints, an organisation can continuously improve the stability and throughput of its release process until it is in a state of Continuous Delivery.
The definition of Discontinuous Delivery leads to some interesting conclusions:
- Business demand must be understood before success criteria for Continuous Delivery can be defined
- Continuous Delivery does not ask for a fixed amount of deploys per unit time – 3 deploys a day might be too slow, 1 deploy a month might be too fast
- It is possible to move from Discontinuous Delivery to Continuous Delivery and vice versa multiple times, depending on market conditions
Measuring Continuous Delivery contains more detailed information on Discontinuous Delivery, and how to use the Improvement Kata and context of an organisation to successfully adopt Continuous Delivery principles and practices.