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Continuous Delivery Speeds Up Innovation

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Thoughtworks recently published a whitepaper including a maturity model for continuous delivery (or CD) as a response to research indicating that most companies understand the importance of innovation, but are not able to deliver software quickly enough to meet the needs of business leaders.  The white paper explains that the low level of continuous delivery maturity within companies prevents their software development teams from being strategic partners and makes their software releases slower than needed by their businesses. 

Thoughtworks intends for companies to use the maturity model to identify gaps in their processes and tools so they can focus on improving those areas. They believe that continuous delivery is the solution to improving the productivity of software development to the point of exceeding expectations and in turn creating the capabilities within technology departments so that they can play a critical role in the strategic direction of their companies. The following levels and results are explained in detail within the white paper:

  • 5: Optimizing - Continuous deployment capability enables business innovation/experimentation
  • 4: quantitatively managed - Release on demand: Software is always in a releasable state. Release time box is well defined and equal to, or less than, business need.
  • 3: defined - Regular release candence: Release time box is well defined, but duration from idea inception to production release is greater than business need.
  • 2: managed - Planned release: Release time box is well defined, but duration from idea inception to production release is greater than business need.
  • 1: initial - Ad hoc deployments
The maturity model is divided into 5 levels. Companies that do not exceed level 4 will be hard pressed to deliver innovation at an acceptable pace. Most companies that operate at or below level 3 will never keep up with the demands of business leaders and the market.
Thoughtworks commissioned Forrester Consulting to perform research for their whitepaper, which included the surveying of 325 business and IT professionals.
Additional information to assist in filling the gaps identified through usage of this CD model can be found on InfoQ. A model to assist in adopting continuous delivery was published earlier this year. Jez Humble, Principal Consultant with ThoughtWorks, recently spoke on the most important factors in implementing continuous delivery.

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