A recent Agile Genesis survey showed that most teams are still releasing monthly. While daily releases are not as common, 6% of participants are releasing daily, while 34% are releasing every week. 41% are releasing on a monthly basis, while 19% were taking one quarter or longer to release.
This is in contrast to the 2015 Forrester’s Business Technographics ® Global Developer Survey where quarterly releases were the leading frequency with 26% of participants releasing once per quarter. The same survey showed only 8% were releasing weekly.
Releasing more frequently has always been the desired behavior since it reduces the time to market, therefore lowering the cost of delay and increasing revenue. More companies have been achieving this by maturing their DevOps practices. SAFe DevOps recommends a CALMR approach toward DevOps:
Culture – Foster a culture of collaboration, risk tolerance, self-service, knowledge sharing.
Automate – Everything that can be automated to facilitate releasing early should be.
Lean Flow – Establish value flow by visualizing and limiting WIP, reducing batches and queues.
Measure – Collect data and telemetry. Make the information transparent, correlate with events, and improve.
Recover – Have a plan and techniques in place for fast recovery in case a release doesn’t go as expected.
When you release depends on your product. Some products have a fixed time commitment or an event that might prevent releasing to production. For example, a video game release might be bound to a specific date where sales and marketing must align with the release date. Other product releases may not have a time commitment and can be made available to the customer as soon as they are ready. In either case, it is the decision of the Product Owner when the product should be made available to the customer.
Keep in mind that there is a difference between deploying and releasing. Deploying is about shipping the product or features, releasing is about making it available for the customer to use it. The Development team may deploy, but the new features may be turned off so that they are not available to the customer until the agreed date. In either case, taking a CALMR approach should help you shorten your time to market.