October 18, 2021

What Is True CI/CD?

Table of Contents

Key takeaway

True CI/CD involves seamless integration and delivery processes, minimizing manual interventions and optimizing deployments. Key barriers include organizational challenges and technology adoption. Understanding these can help improve software delivery performance and achieve elite status in DevOps practices.

I recently had the pleasure of hosting Martin Reynolds, Head of DevOps at Advanced, Amparo Angulo, Senior Manager of Digital Transformation at Accenture, and Harness’ own VP of Engineering in EMEA, Nick Smyth, for a panel webinar. It was designed to answer, or at least explore, the question “What is True CI/CD?”

I’m relatively new to the software delivery space, but after canvassing the opinions of my colleagues at Harness, speaking with our customers, and also with our partners, it appeared to me that there is a lot of confusion about CI/CD. This was reinforced by some desktop research. Even a simple Google search brings back a variety of results from a wide range of vendors and publications, and not many of them are consistent with one another.

The timing for the panel discussion also felt right. The latest Accelerate State of DevOps Report had just been announced. One of the headlines from this report was that 26% of organizations are considered as “elite performers,” an increase from 20% in the 2019 report. This means that almost three quarters of companies still have room for improvement when it comes to software delivery. 

If we consider CI/CD to be an important part of the software delivery life cycle, could the ambiguity around CI/CD be a contributing factor for the 74% of organizations that are not elite performers? Well, it seemed like a good topic for conversation at least!

We framed the discussion around three further questions:

  1. What are the main barriers to adopting CI/CD in your organization or organizations you work with?
  2. Where does Continuous Integration end and Continuous Delivery start?
  3. If we think about the technology that supports CI/CD, what excites you about the future and where do you see things going next?

Here are some of the highlights that I took from the conversation. I would encourage you to give the full recording a listen to learn more!

Amparo Angulo, Accenture, discussing the barriers to CI/CD…

“The main barriers to CI/CD don’t appear at the beginning of the process, they appear during the journey. In the beginning, the tools and technology help you get started quickly - but as you start to grow and more people become involved, the changes that people have to go through is when things get challenging.” 

Martin Reynolds, Advanced, explaining where he feels CI ends... 

“Generally, for me, continuous integration is where you commit some code, it gets built and unit tested, you create a pull request, you merge it, and build an artifact. The point at which that artifact is placed wherever you store your artifacts. That’s where continuous integration is done.”

Nick Smyth, Harness

“If I think of some of the phases in CI/CD, say the test phase, which is probably the biggest cycle we have. We’ve got tools coming out with Test Intelligence. If we have a line of code that we need to get into production, we can just focus on testing the parts that we need to, using machine learning to detect which areas to focus on.”

Unfortunately, technical challenges on the day meant that we only have an audio file of the conversation. It’s a great listen if you have time to spare. We would also welcome your thoughts on the topic. What is true CI/CD to you? You can learn more about our opinion in this blog: What Is CI/CD? Everything You Need To Know.

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