Delivery Lifecycles what are they and why are they important?

We need to be explicit about what we mean by a lifecycle, there is a lot of conflicting and overloaded stuff out there for words such as Agile, or DevOps or Lean or SCRUM and even the word lifecycle. When we say the word lifecycle we are talking about a set of processes agreed by the DevOps team which deliver software that is of quality and value.
The AoC (Agents of Chaos) do not subscribe to a particular framework, we use the right tools for the right job and believe the team decides that with a sprinkle of Lean Governance. Back to the definition of what a lifecycle is, specifically in our book, we discuss Agile and DevOps and we do not want to blur the lines!  So let’s clearly identify that there are several factors in the DevOps mindset that require a set of agreed processes, tools, outputs and potential milestones to create value and delight your user.  Thus when you include a DevOps mindset our five core values a lifecycle helps create value, that is of quality, to your end-user quickly.  We, therefore, say a DevOps Delivery lifecycle is an approach to: 
1. Work that is given (pushed) or work that is chosen by the team (pulled)
2. Doing the Work over a period of time (time-boxed or not)
3. Includes agreed deliverables usually done in sprints or iterations
4. May include agreed milestones
5. Part of or is an entire value stream

A DevOps Delivery Lifecycle may be similar or compatible with an Agile Delivery Lifecycle however they are not the same because DevOps always builds software, agile may  or may not deliver a piece of software, it may in fact deliver a business service, function or other non software deliverable.

You do not have to automate, you do not have to make the lifecycle continuous stream of work, and you do not have to document or many other “DevOps” techniques, however to be successful you would likely want to enable some, all and more of what was mentioned in our book.

Let’s face it, if you want your DevOps team to become the vehicle to solution delivery you must have a lifecycle that supports Development, Operations and links up with your business and the rest of Information Technology. This is no easy feat! However, whichever way of working you choose should be continuous. If you’re putting together DevOps and features, you must also consider products and their shelf life. What works for DevOps is an ongoing discussion, will change, age and improve. Lifecycles will always improve, evolve and become adopted or dropped.  Let’s look at several lifecycles that we will reference: These lifecycles have benefits and trade-offs, and require a level of maturity in your organization and team to accomplish a continuous mode of operation.

Agile Continuous Delivery Lifecycle

The Agile Continuous Delivery lifecycle is useful when a minimum marketable product or a software release has already been created.

It assumes:

  • Your core DevOps team is in place
  • Familiarity with Agile ways of working
  • Your company supports dedicated teams through solution deployment

Moreover, relies on:

  • Organisations with streamlined deployment practices and procedures
  • Companies wanting to see rapid value available for use
  • Companies with good feedback loops in place across all stakeholders
  • Stable release over time
  • Automated regression testing

Lean Continuous Delivery Lifecycle

The Lean Continuous Delivery lifecycle requires even more of a mind shift and is a progression in maturity from the Agile Continuous Delivery Lifecycle.

It assumes:

  • Teams are self organizing
  • Continuous streaming of work
  • Teams address work items one at a time
  • Work items are organized and prioritized (JIT) Just in time
  • Good practices such as demos, stand ups are done when needed as needed
  • Teams manage their workflow and visually show the flow to others

Moreover relies on:

  • Automation and DevOps technical practices
  • Delivery of value go into production several times a day by the team although may not be “turned on”
  • Trust from Management that the teams will do the right thing and work on the right stuff
  • Work is visible and valuable



The Lean and Lean Continuous Lifecycles are more compatible with operational processes given that Operations do not work typically in time-boxed situations.  For example, an emergency patch or security update, an unexpected outage.  Lean by its nature of signalling attention to a need or attention to something provides a good foundation for “triggered base work”.  Efficiency through good practices that allow managing our work in progress helps the Team focus on what needs to be done as quickly and qualitatively as possible.

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Born 1965, San Antonio, Texas and lives in Dallas, Tx.
Mr. James, Ronald, Maverick holds a Bachelor of Science in Psychology at The University of Texas, San Antonio.

Mr. Maverick or JR as many call him is a “slick” but warm and friendly character in our upcoming book on the DevOps Mindset. Mr. Maverick cares about his IT team very much and could charm the socks off a Texas Longhorn. JR is liked by many in his organization; however, he is not as well trusted by the Overlords as he used to be. Mr. Maverick has a group of loyal staff, including Mr. Barker a bit of an opposite to JR. Of course, Mr. Barker would never call him JR; he would only call him Mr. Maverick because well, Mr. Maverick is his boss. Mr. Maverick has held many IT positions in the past, including starting as a Sales Professional for HP and IBM mini and mainframe computers. Over the years he has risen through the ranks to hold this senior position by delivering using high-paid consultants and Big name firms. He also received his promotion from outsourcing to a foreign country where he was able to reduce his IT spend significantly. Recently he has discovered (actually this was made painfully aware to him by the Overlords) that both the Offshore roadmap and use of external consultants was not giving him the value and velocity for his IT department, and he was probably paying more than he bargained for

So, after hearing a talk at a DevOps event by the Agents of Chaos, JR decided to enlist them to help with their digital transformation roadmap and help improve the value, focus and velocity of his department. However, MR. Maverick has a few ideas about agile and DevOps, something he has heard about for a while and read in various CIO magazines; he thinks of these as Marketing terms and something that can be bought. While Mr. Maverick has held on for many years to traditional IT ways of working he has come to the end of his tenure if he doesn’t do something fast and get DevOps working quickly as he has promised to the Overlords providing him with a little more rope to get the transformation completed more quickly as they view his IT department ageing, procrastinators who are not able to keep up with business demands. JR says in his mind, “I will get it done, they don’t call me Maverick for nothing!“