As a part of Digile 2015 program, we have had an expectionally good opportunity to collaborate with several companies and other universities. Armed with an access to for such formidable resources, researchers for TUT together with colleagues from University of Helsinki and Aalto University set off to study benefits and obstacles in adapting Continuous Delivery practices. The research was conducted as interviews with 15 companies in information and communication technology companies.
Continuous Integration is already a widespread practice in the industry. It provides developers an infrastructure where software building and testing are automated. Continuous Delivery takes this a little bit further, up to the point where software is also automatically deployed to the production. This gives the developers possibility to deploy at will.
Based on the interviews, we wrote an article for March/April 2015 IEEE Software: The Practice and Future of Release Engineering special issue. The key findings were that no company had fully automated pipeline to the deployment, although several companies were close to this. However, the companies perceived several benefits in adopting Continuous Delivery practices. These included faster feedback, more frequent releases, inproved quality and productivity, improved customer satisfaction, effort savings, and a closer connection between development and operations. The companies also had set their targets to improve their current practices, but felt that there are still some obstacles. These included change resistance, customer preferences, domain constraints, developer trust and confidence, legacy code, tests (both the time consumption and things that are difficult to test), and varying development and production environments.