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In Eric Ries’ latest post over at Startup Lessons Learned, he addresses many of the most common objections he’s heard regarding continuous deployment.  According to Eric, most of the objections boil down to the following two points:

      1. That mission critical customers won’t accept new releases on a continuous basis.
      2. That continuous deployment leads to lower quality software than software built in large batches.

I think he addresses both of these points extremely well and goes further in illustrating the improvements that continuous deployment brings to an organization:

  1. Faster (and better) feedback. 
  2. More automation. 
  3. Monitoring of real-world metrics.
  4. Better handling of intermittent bugs. 
  5. Smaller batches

Be sure not to miss out on the great discussions in the comments thread as well.   One comment Eric made that really stood out to me was his mention that the dichotomy between “fewer, more stable releases” and “faster, less stable releases” is a false one and that what continuous deployment truly brings to an organization is faster and more stable releases.  

This reminded me of a lot of objections I’ve heard regarding Lean in that doing the right thing up front (building infrastructure, identifying and planning around your constraints, etc.) will give you better quality but slower development; in fact the truth (as borne out both in manufacturing and software development) that doing the right thing up front may cost more initially but you’ll end up letting people work faster while also increasing quality and customer value over the life of the project.

Eric Ries has posted another fascinating article on continuous deployment, which is one of his more controversial (and brilliant, in my opinion) proposals.

To me, continuous deployment seems like a great idea for any start-up or environment where the value of fast iteration is more important than absolute stability (although stability is quite creatively addressed via the use of split testing in the production environment.)

Check out the article on why CD is worth using at and decide for yourself; unfortunately I’m not in a place right now where I can put this into practice, but as soon as I get back to a start-up or an immature product I’ll definitely be lobbying hard to put continuous deployment in place.  If any readers get a chance to put it into practice I’d love to hear your stories.

Looks like Eric is going to be speaking live on Lean Startups at the HP Campus in Cupertino; this is apparently his last scheduled Bay Area speech.

If you had a chance to check out the Lean Startup presentations I blogged about earlier you know this is going to be a can’t miss event.  If anyone ends up going let me know, I’d love to stop and chat for a few.

I came across another great video from Eric Ries about Lean Startups.  The build and release pipeline can be the heartbeat to any fast iterating software team (especially one such as a startup), and I highly recommend watching this one in addition to the one I posted yesterday.

In this presentation he goes into detail on some very interesting concepts including split testing, continuous deployment (that’s right, deployment), and using the “five whys” to control throughput of your build system.

For those of us who have done the rollercoaster ride of a startup that looks like it’s going up, up, and away only to crash back down to Earth when the reality of the marketplace hits I think you’ll find Eric Ries’ (of the fantastic blog Startup Lessons Learned) presentation from on Lean startups to be an enlightening video to watch.   If you’ve been there like I have you’ll laugh, you’ll cry, and you’ll also learn a lot about how to take the lessons of Lean and apply them better to your next venture.

The presentation can be viewed here: The Lean Startup at Web 2.0 Expo


Jason Lenny is a Lean manager and innovator with over ten years of experience managing production software development pipelines and process.