Continuous software development and delivery is a type of software-delivery lifecycle aimed at reducing total development time and cost. Through continuous software development and delivery, developers are able to produce deliverable software faster and more affordably. Here are some reasons you might want to consider continuous development for your software development project.
How Does Continuous Software Development and Delivery Work?
Under this approach, software is developed in small, increasing iterations. The goal is to produce deliverable software at every stage. As each small iteration is added, it is also tested and moved into production. Thus, the software is always “complete,” being developed in layers that eventually move it towards the final deliverable. Software can be pushed to market more quickly, and development becomes a continuous process of improvement.
The Advantages of Continuous Software Development and Delivery
Under continuous development, software is “ready” at any stage. It can be tested and presented to the product owner at any time, which means they are more readily able to make changes and adjustments as the development process continues. Continuous development cuts down on reworks and modifications, as product owners are able to envision the final deliverable as it is being developed, rather than towards the end stages of development. Thus, continuous development is more agile and responsive.
Continuous development can also be smoother and more predictable, as bugs are worked out during the process of development with each small iteration of the product. It is less likely that the product will experience major disruption towards the end.
However, the most attractive benefit of continuous development is that it is fast, predictable, and affordable. Continuous development is a streamlined process that delivers end products faster. It should not be confused with continuous deployment, which automates the deployment process. The deployment under continuous development is still a manual process that is triggered at intervals.
Some other advantages include:
- Improved overall product quality. As the product is stable throughout the process, each iteration builds upon the product in the way that the product owner demands.
- Greater levels of customer satisfaction. Involving the product owner throughout the process ensures that customers are satisfied with the product as it is developed.
- Accelerated time to market. Continuous software development and delivery is a fast-paced development process that gets products to market faster.
- Improved productivity and efficiency. Developers do not need to repeat processes or run redundant cycles; they are able to produce the product in the most straightforward way.
That being said, there are some disadvantages as well. The drawbacks to continuous software development include:
- Testing issues. Because testing has to be an involved part of the process, developers may find that they aren’t able to test as thoroughly enough, or aren’t able to test to scale.
- Customer issues. Not all customers want to be so involved in the development process, and some may feel intimidated by a process that involves them so critically.
- Restrictions. Some industries need to be tested more thoroughly before the product can be introduced, such as financial, medical, and telecommunications industries.
Continuous software development and delivery is only one type of product lifecycle strategy, but it’s a very advantageous one—especially for those who want to be able to push their product to market quickly. Like any lifecycle strategy, there are both benefits and drawbacks. But where it can be applied, it can lead to faster, more productive teams, which are able to produce products that are more likely to fulfill customer needs.