10+ years of experience in implementing CI/CD
Many IT companies focus on the maximum development speed and rapid release of new software versions. At the same time, founders ignore the elimination of technical debts and introduction of effective approaches that will bring benefits in the long term. However, in practice, we have repeatedly come to the conclusion that software development is a non-linear process that requires regular analysis, bold strategic decisions, and timely investments in technological development.
Over time, the complexity of the source code, synchronization between parts of the system, and logical concepts and relationships inevitably increase on a project. Accordingly, the number of factors that must be taken into account exponentially increases as well. This means that the team needs to make more and more effort to develop the product and ensure high-quality deliveries. High effort requires significant investment of time and money, so costs will only increase over time. This situation can be avoided with the timely implementation of continuous integration and delivery (CI/CD), which brings excellent results in the first months of use on a project.
Our company has implemented CI/CD and promoted its value in the IT sphere for more than 10 years. While working on a variety of projects, we have repeatedly been convinced by the effectiveness of this approach in companies of any size and type, from small startups to the largest enterprises. This concept combines perfectly with Agile approaches, helps organize and systematize processes, and automates a large number of routine actions that take up developers’ time.
CI/CD (Continuous Integration/Continuous Delivery) provides the following benefits:
- The delivery process on the project becomes clear, organized, and documented.
- Development becomes more transparent: all team members, as well as founders, can see at what stage any feature is at in just a few clicks.
- Unit testing is applied on an ongoing basis.
- Dependence on individual employees is eliminated because all team members understand the peculiarities of the integration and delivery process.
- Regression testing is implemented at the system level.
- Fast and high-quality deliveries of individual improvements are provided within the framework of iterative development.
CI/CD provides a benefit for business
The process of implementing CI/CD is a complex and time-consuming task, which in practice can end up being long-term and requiring significant investment. Especially if the project involves the development of large-scale, multi-module software, and has been developing without CI/CD for more than 5 years. This will almost certainly put off the owners of companies. However, the benefits that the implementation of this approach provides to IT businesses will more than recover costs.
- Timely implementation of CI/CD ensures product operation predictability and stability, and also reduces the cost of its further support. With the configured process of continuous integration and delivery, the modules written by the developers are immediately integrated into the system and tested (modular, integration, and regression testing is used) on a daily basis, which makes it possible to establish regular deliveries and be completely confident in the high quality of the product versions.
- CI/CD helps systematically find bugs at early stages of development, which significantly reduces serious risks for the customer. In particular, continuous integration and delivery allows for the avoidance of reputational and financial losses arising as a result of bugs that emerge after product delivery to production.
- CI/CD enables the rapid implementation of business functions that can be used by the customer while product development continues. This is achieved by frequent commits, instant auto-testing, and regular deliveries provided by this practice. The customer can check the effectiveness of the implemented solution much faster, which saves the budget and creates a product that will really be in demand by users.
- CI/CD allows for the monitoring and improvement of the performance of the development team. CI/CD disciplines engineers, requires compliance with certain rules (Code Style), the use of best development practices (Test Driven Development, Unit testing), daily updating of the code general branch, and strict adherence to the processes. The customer can easily make sure that the engineers are productive and that the work effort is correctly distributed: they always have access to the results achieved by the team and an individual employee over a specific period of time. Also, thanks to the automation of a large number of actions that were performed manually before, team performance increases and the probability of bugs in the product reduces as a result of human factor elimination.
- CI/CD is the first step towards preventing technical debt. As our experience shows, unimplemented continuous integration and delivery is the most serious and most common technical debt. This also entails the emergence of other technical debts (for example, the absence of unit and automated testing). If in the future you would like to continue to develop the product, the elimination of technical debts throughout each iteration should become a standard practice for the entire team, otherwise it may result in it being impossible to upgrade and increase sales. Therefore, sooner or later your company will need to implement CI/CD. And the sooner this approach is implemented, the less the technical debt, and therefore the cost of eliminating it, will be.
- The work of a team in which the CI/CD approach is established at the value level is not subjected to the risk of a high bus factor (unacceptable dependence on specific team members). Automation greatly speeds up testing and delivery processes. For example, if necessary, you can quickly and easily increase the number of product installations. This contributes to the development of your business, while also increasing sales.
Our services for CI/CD approach implementation
Every JazzTeam service, be it frontend or backend development, manual testing, or test automation, is always embedded in continuous integration and delivery (CI/CD) processes. We often find that this approach is not used on our customer’s projects. In such cases, our specialists initiate the gradual implementation of CI/CD without compromising the productivity of developers. We also provide separate services for the implementation and support of these processes.
Our company offers the following types of services:
Consulting on CI/CD implementation. With this type of interaction, we provide all the necessary tools and materials that will allow you to implement CI/CD on the project independently and at little cost.
Support and maintenance of CI/CD processes in the company. DevOps services. We will help you develop and optimize your CI/CD process. We are also ready to provide the services of experienced DevOps specialists who will harmoniously complement your team.>
Establishing CI/CD processes on your project. We implement CI/CD iteratively and painlessly, and effectively overcome the learned helplessness and resistance of teams. We implement a full cycle of Continuous Integration using Jenkins/Hudson (and any other CI/CD tools), and automate the build of projects using Maven. If necessary, we use Docker and other container technologies to automate deployment. In addition to technical work, we prepare the customer’s team for a gradual transition to daily work within the framework of the new effective approach.
In our company, you can order a related IT consulting service in other areas of development. Also, if you would like to further elaborate on any issues and receive a comprehensive assessment of the technical state of your project from the current founder, please contact our founder within the framework of his personal advisory practice, zmicer.consulting.
How we work
The process of CI/CD implementation in cooperation with our company takes place according to the following scheme:
Stage 1. Selecting a team and defining the format of cooperation
At this stage, our manager and, if necessary, a DevOps engineer will join your project. It is also possible to collaborate on the issue of CI/CD implementation without a DevOps specialist, but in this case your team will be fully involved in the implementation. On the one hand, without a DevOps engineer the implementation process can be slower; on the other hand, after going through a difficult stage on your own, your specialists will gain important engineering and technological experience. We can implement or upgrade CI/CD through a team of developers who work on the project with great pleasure.
The format of cooperation is determined jointly with the customer after analyzing the existing project team and discussing your desires.
Stage 2. Analysis of the life cycle and peculiarities of your software delivery process
Each project has its own specifics related to the CI/CD implementation strategy. Therefore, in order to achieve maximum results while saving on resources, we thoroughly study your system before proceeding with implementation.
Stage 3. Preparation of the necessary documentation (various diagrams, environment analysis) to develop a CI/CD concept for your project
Documenting the entire scope of planned work allows for the visualization of the actions that the team performs manually. Next, as you move forward, it will be very easy for you to track where we are and how much we have already been able to implement.
At this stage, we initiate a large number of synchronizations and communications with your team so that all stages of your software development, testing, and delivery are described as accurately and correctly as possible.
Stage 4. Practical preparatory work by a DevOps engineer
A DevOps engineer can install Jenkins, configure VMs, conduct containerization, and perform other preparatory steps (backups, rollbacks, and automatic update of data patterns). All preparatory work is planned and implemented taking into account the technological features and needs of your product.
Stage 5. Creating terms of reference (ToR)
We move from visualization of manual actions and technical preparation to the setting of clear tasks and deadlines. The prepared ToR allows for the continuous monitoring of the progress in the future, and assesses the real benefits of all measures taken.
Stage 6. Incremental implementation of CI/CD into your team’s workflow
This stage includes the following activities and tasks:
- Implementing an application automatic build system.
- Continuous integration of Frontend and Backend parts of the application.
- Implementation of automated Unit testing.
- Configuring automated deployment in a test environment.
- Setting up an automated deployment on a Live server.
Usually, this stage is the most difficult from a psychological point of view because it requires changing the culture in the team. However, our manager will analyze and monitor each stage of the implementation, as well as constantly motivate the team to improve, showing the real effectiveness of the new approach.
Stage 7. Training the team to work with CI/CD and handover of all necessary instructions and manuals
This will allow your specialists to further develop the product independently, in addition to the CI/CD process.
Why choose JazzTeam?
1) We have been providing our CI/CD implementation service for more than 10 years
All the IT projects that our company has worked on presupposed activities aimed at the implementation, improvement, or support of CI/CD to some extent. And in most cases, we initiated the implementation of this approach. Each of these projects was unique and also had its own peculiarities and difficulties. This allowed us to acquire the skills to solve real problems within a specific time frame, consolidate best practices, and accumulate a wealth of experience in this area.
2) We specialize in consulting on CI/CD implementation, including complex and large-scale projects with a large volume of technical debt
As part of our consulting practice, we gained a lot of experience in the implementation of continuous integration and delivery. In addition to working on technical challenges, our specialists fundamentally transformed the engineering culture on projects, and also gradually changed approaches to planning and daily work, which contributed to a significant saving of resources.
3) We built our own CI/CD training system
From the very first week of work with the company, all JazzTeam IT specialists undergo internal training in CI/CD. Therefore, our backend and frontend developers, test automation engineers, and manual test engineers have no fear of this approach. Every JazzTeam employee can understand the peculiarities of the delivery process on the project, and distribute best practices in your team. Our managers also undertake special training to understand the peculiarities of the CI/CD approach, so they are able to manage its implementation on projects of any complexity. CI/CD concepts are an integral part of the company’s engineering culture, standards, and values.
4) We provide a comprehensive solution
We not only implement the CI/CD process on the project, but also create all the necessary infrastructure and prepare documentation. The system developed by our specialists contains the entire set of CI/CD usage scenarios, which completely covers the company’s needs. Therefore, the process of delivery management, even with further system development, will not require additional actions and can be performed by your manager.
5) We implement CI/CD systematically and in conjunction with other services
We organize all stages of development (frontend, backend, test automation) around the CI/CD process, so we both accomplish a certain pool of tasks and systematically improve the project. Even while providing the service of manual testing, we always consider the existing CI/CD system and determine the most optimal stage of the project for this activity. This will ensure the maximum benefit to the customer from any JazzTeam service. On the project, all subdivisions transform their activities and establish processes following certain rules in compliance with the necessary stages and deadlines. This approach makes it possible to accelerate deliveries and significantly improve their quality.
6) We specialize in test automation and system integration of Unit testing into the development process
We comprehensively consider all the tools and the project ecosystem, applying best practices of extreme programming. During CI/CD implementation, we offer the best tools and approaches to give rise to the culture of autotesting on the project.
7) We change the values of the team and help overcome learned helplessness
Unimplemented CI/CD is one of the most serious technical debts, the work on which is very difficult to start on your own, often because of resistance from the team. The transition to a fundamentally new format of work on tasks is always difficult, and involves stress and the risk of losing employees. Our company has extensive experience in working with changing team values and painless implementation of CI/CD. We explain in great detail about the usefulness of this approach, show real advantages in practice, and help engineers join the new format of daily activities. In this way, we manage to preserve the team composition as much as possible, and bring a new culture that leads to acceleration and improvement of processes on the project.
In the course of our work, we use the latest and most effective technologies, including: