Straining Towards Continuous Delivery in Big Orgs: Lessons for a Product Manager

“I’ll present a case study chronicling a series of CI- and CD-friendly changes implemented on a large scale public sector Agile project, noting the reasons we embarked on this, the pitfalls we encountered along the way, and reflecting on what these changes ultimately meant for our Product Management function and for Agile development on this project.”

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Sara Saab has been product manager / product owner for a SaaS product over in Silicon Valley, a startup social network here in London, and on TfL’s Contactless ticketing back office system, which was taking steps towards a continuous delivery model during her tenure. Nowadays she runs an independent product consultancy called Ordinary Objects. Sara likes software that does what business people and technologists happily agree it should do.

Just what Product Management needed: the gift of Continuous Delivery

Continuous Delivery can be a hard sell to product managers, even in small, healthy organisations. The benefits sound implausible, the costs high, and it’s really hard to understand all that it enables.

However, CD has been hugely beneficial at the leading edge of product management. As deployment pipelines have taken root, there has also been a shift in how we see and measure user value. Take these trends together, and there’s been a giant leap forwards in how to prioritise work and judge its success.
Turns out that unwanted gift was the best product management present ever!

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Elizabeth Ayer is the Portfolio Manager at Redgate software, a leader in DevOps tooling for databases. In 11 years of product management, she’s worked with dozens of customers going through process transformations: Agile, Continuous Delivery and DevOps. Above all, she’s ridiculously passionate about delivering quality software fast!

21st Century Software Delivery

Deployments gone bad are a leading cause of spending your evening or weekend hunched over a terminal instead of outdoors having fun.

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In this talk Jez presents a number of patterns which reduce the risk of releases, including techniques for zero-downtime releases, roll backs, and roll forwards.

Continuous Delivery and Conway’s Law

Given that we know that iterative software development can work much better than ‘big bang’ or waterfall, should we apply the same process to organisational change? How about a backlog + iterations for shifting to a team structure which takes Conway’s Law into account, so that the organisation has a better chance of delivering the software systems it needs?

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We are fortunate to be joined by Allan Kelly, a software business consultant based in London. He has a strong interest and experience in the organisational aspects of software development, and is the author of Business Patterns for Software Developers, Changing Software Development, and Xanpan.