It seems like not a week goes by without the publication of a new study showing the benefits of building a continuous delivery process, this begs the obvious question: Why are some software development companies holding out? What are the main reasons why some organizations have not yet adopted continuous delivery?
Here is an informal list of frequent explanations I get from the holdouts:
In many of the bigger enterprises, the explanation is cultural rather than technical. With decades old companies that have massive models built around waterfall, including very expensive tools and processes, not to mention all the people whose job depends on continuing with waterfall, it can very difficult to make the changes necessary for continuous delivery. See Adobe for an example of massive 30+ year old company which has adapted continuous delivery.
Even if you convince the engineering teams that continuous delivery is the way to go, organizations can face opposition from other departments who will be impacted by the change in the app lifecycle. Sales teams, customer support, or the clients themselves may push to stick with the waterfall approach.
Continuous delivery is one of those investments where you can expect to put in a lot of time and effort upfront, to get major benefits down the road. Is the investment worth it? Of course it is, but when you’re an engineering team that’s on the clock to get the immediate projects done, it can be hard to spend the time necessary to improve your process.
In order to build a CD pipeline you must implement a system that plasters together numerous splintered services. You will have to assimilate your code repo, bug tracking, project management, deployment system, etc. It is uncommonly challenging to get all of them to work cohesively. And teams worry that once you do, you are closed into a specific technology or tool.
None of these are reasons to write off continuous delivery, but these are challenges to look out for when attempting to implement CD in certain organizations. Having said that, I firmly believe that every organization will inevitably move to this agile practice in the coming years.
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