Work

Breaking the two-week release cycle

I gave a lightning talk about some of the work I did last year at the Guardian to help break the website out of the two-week release cycle and make it possible to switch to a feature-release based process. It’s the first time I’ve given a public talk about it although I have discussed with friends and obviously within the Guardian as well where we are still talking about how best to adopt this.

I definitely think that feature-releasing is the the only viable basis for effectively software delivery, whether you are doing continuous delivery or not.

In a short talk there’s a lot you have to leave out but the questions in the pub afterwards were actually relatively straight-forward. The only thing I felt I didn’t necessarily get across (despite saying it explicitly) was that this work was done on the big Enterprise Java monolith at the Guardian. We aren’t talking about microapps or our new mobile platform (although they too are released on a feature basis rather than on a cycle) we are talking about the application that is sometimes referred to as the “Monolith”. It was really about changing the world to make it better rather than avoid difficulty and accepting the status quo.

Feature-releasing has real benefits for supporting and maintaining software. On top of this, if you want to achieve collective team effort then focussing on a feature it going to better rather than doing a swath of work in a mini-waterfall “sprint”. The team stands a better chance of building up a release momentum and cadence and from that building up stakeholder confidence and a reputation for responsive delivery.

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