Why continuous deployment?
Brands are constantly adding new features to their product roadmaps to improve navigation for their users and increase business value. From changing the way products are sorted on a list page to improving a search algorithm, brands innovate relentlessly to better their visitors’ experience. After all, this should be their constant mindset.
Staying competitive while continuing to provide a high-quality customer experience is a real challenge for brands. How can they deliver these new features more quickly? How can they ensure that these product developments are relevant?
Continuous deployment and continuous delivery methods are a way for brands to achieve agility and ensure optimal performance for all teams.
Develop and deliver optimized product experiences to targeted audiences with powerful feature management, cross-platform SDKs, and unlimited hybrid testing.
1 Deliver new features quickly with continuous deployment
Before rolling out a new feature on your website, you have to check that it’s working correctly. Another vital aspect is identifying whether users approve of it since the end goal is to improve their navigation and their experience on the website. Testers are keys to improving a website's new feature.
Continuous deployment and continuous integration: What’s the difference?
Continuous deployment and continuous integration enable the R&D and product teams to optimize the rollout process for new features in production.
These methods consist of continuously developing and testing the code of new features, to pare down the usual release processes in production.
By automating the different deployment phases of a feature, you can adopt a more agile practice and respond faster and more efficiently to the needs of the market.
Continuous integration consists of developing features by testing them very regularly to ensure they work well. With this method, the deployment is not automated.
With the continuous deployment (or continuous delivery) method, the features are also tested regularly, but the deployment is automated. The advantage of the continuous deployment method is that it further reduces the risk of errors and benefits from a more stable and high-performing environment.
2 Feature flagging: Keep control of each new feature
The goal of continuous feature deployment is to ensure that features work correctly and satisfy end users.
Feature flagging enables you to flag part of your code so that you retain control over a feature and can decide on its deployment or activation. You can roll out the configuration in “Deactivated” mode for all your visitors, then with a simple “On” switch, activate it in production for a reduced percentage of your visitors.
If you see that a feature or a script is not performing as well as you’d hoped, simply deactivate it to prevent it from impacting your results. You can then modify and tweak the code before reactivating the feature or doing a rollout.
3 Canary releases: Test your features on a small portion of your audience
There are several methods for continuously deploying your code. The "canary" release consists of only deploying a feature to a targeted portion of your audience. This way, the experience of the majority of visitors remains unchanged, and your teams can analyze the behavior of the targeted users and draw lessons from this.
Why adopt continuous deployment?
Speed up deployment cycles and reduce errors.
The first advantages of continuous deployment are of course increased agility and time savings. Continuously testing and compiling the code enables you to correct errors very quickly and significantly reduces integration time.
Continuous deployment enables you to reduce the number of unit tests and move more quickly from a testing environment to live implementation.
If an error occurs or users react negatively, the R&D and Product teams can very quickly identify and correct the problems encountered, avoiding a bottleneck from troubleshooting.
Continuous deployment accelerates time to market and increases brands’ competitive edge through the rollout, a performance testing, or very regular updating of new features.
Obtain direct and faster feedback
By rolling out features regularly and progressively, teams can analyze online behaviors to check how relevant their actions are.
This frequent feedback allows developers to gain precious knowledge of client requirements and create better products from functional testing.
A more productive teamBy eliminating siloes and different approval levels, development teams gain a more detailed understanding of business goals and the needs of the market.
Moreover, by automating the deployment process, the teams can focus on tasks requiring specific expertise.
Instantly correct errors and adapt your features
By deploying your features gradually and flagging each functionality, you maintain control and can roll them back and correct potential errors at any point. Whether the problem is a technical bug or a misinterpretation of the requirement, you can trigger a roll-back at any time to improve the elements in question and have a continuous integration system.
Adopting a DevOps culture to implement continuous deployment
What is a DevOps culture?
The automation of deployment processes works particularly well in teams that have acquired a “DevOps” culture. By breaking down the siloes between the different IT, development and product teams, the DevOps approach encourages the exchange of skills to continuously develop and deploy features. This culture is part of the trend for companies to adopt a lean management culture.
4 Why adopt a DevOps culture?
Because it allows you to take into account deployment constraints during the development period.
With a DevOps approach, teams are directly in touch with client requirements and can continuously improve. Plus, the results are better aligned with requirements, since feedback can be test-run and acted on immediately.
Continuous deployment is very much in keeping with a test and learn culture for improving your product and customer experience. By putting the end user at the heart of your product strategy and adopting this agile and cross-disciplinary method, you’re betting on a winning approach in every way. Your customers will enjoy better features and your teams will spend less time fixing bugs, freeing them up to focus on innovative, value-generating tasks for a more efficient workflow.