Sunday, 29 March 2015

Straight-Through Quality

Introducing the Agile concepts of Continuous Integration/Continuous Delivery to the Business.


Scope:
This article will show how to start off a conversation with Business stake holders around the concepts of CI (Continuous Integration [1]) / CD (Continuous Delivery [2]).

Problem:
CI/CD can be a difficult concept to relay due to the amount of infrastructure and set-up that is required to get it going. Stake-holders can often baulk at the ask on start-up time and cost that this can incur.


Of course there are plenty of metrics and articles out there that explain how in fact these Agile approaches in the mid-to-long term reduce cost and time to market. But this requires heavy reading validation by the Business investors.

To avoid a dulling of eyes and a loss of focus from your stake holders you need to get fast buy in, using language they understand.

Solution:
Fortunately plenty of Business users are familiar with the concept of using Straight-Through Processing [3] to automate away many of the problems they have. This approach has been used quite extensively within the financial services industry and beyond. It is a proven technique.
Thus the start of conversation will often go like so:

"Have you heard of Straight-Through Processing?"
Customer nods head
"Well Continuous Integration/Continuous Delivery is the techie-talk for what you would call Straight-Through Quality"
At this point using the concept of STQ (Straight-Through Quality [4]), it should now be a lot easier to explain some of the more fundamental Business benefits of CI/CD to to get their buy-in. Slowly proving these side-by-side with the multitude of metrics and endorsements you can obtain from all over the net.

Yes it's as simple as that. Once you speak their language they then have a reference point to baseline all the future conversations you have with them on CI/CD. As in the end to them its STQ.

Example:
Below is an example application of STQ using CD to shorten the delivery time [5]:

Agile CI Continuous Integration CD Continuous Delivery Straight-Through Processing


You can see from the above diagram that Quality runs straight through the delivery life-cycle as a constant flow. STQ is your STP enabler.

Agile Link:
STQ is also present on my Agile Development Poster [6] where the output is the Quality Enhanced Delivery. Which also links nicely into the first Agile manifesto principal of:

"Our highest priority is to satisfy the customer through early and continuous delivery of valuable software." [7]
I have rarely seen a lack of customer satisfaction when receiving Straight-Through Quality.


References:


[7] Agile Manifesto Principles: http://www.agilemanifesto.org/principles.html

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