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Shifting your organization or teams towards Continuous Delivery is a challenge, there is a lot to discuss, plan, and implement. There are not only technical hurdles to get over but the mindset of the teams has to evolve with the new practices. With Continuous Delivery covering many different functions we can easily get lost on our path to improvement and lose sight of the next item to target. We need a way to track our CD progress!

I’m not aware many tools available to track maturity of the CD practices. There are maturity models available to help assess your progress and identify areas to work on. However, these are not easy to visualize, in the past, I’ve put printouts of a model around the office highlighting our level for each category, like the one I’ve mentioned before. This works but I would not say it’s ideal.

Some have enlarged pages from the Continuous Delivery book, stuck them up in the office and marked off which areas are done. This is good for visualization and reminding people the importance CD practices. You do need a bit of wall space though that is near the teams.

Skelton Thatcher Consulting have taken this further and created a Trello board to visualize the main headings in the CD book. You can read more about this in their blog – Useful tool for tracking Continuous Delivery – cdchecklist.info.

I like this approach, it’s a good way to visualize your current CD maturity while also seeing what is left to do. Using Trello will allow you to…

  • use comments on each card to link to examples or documentation relevant to your business for each chapter.
  • assign a person to a chapter who can take ownership of those items.
  • use the Due Date feature if there are particular areas to prioritize.
  • create a new column (e.g. “Focus”) to move cards/chapters to show where teams should be concentrating on.

Obviously, as their blog says, the main point of the checklist is to drive discussions. Having a clear picture of the status and the remaining challenges enables people to be proactive in these talks. This board gives the flexibility to drive your CD strategy and encouraging communication in a focused and systematic way.

Maybe one downside is visibility around the office, printing out from Trello is not great (although there may be ways to export boards to other formats). Unless of course, you have a spare large screen in your office where the board can be displayed to the teams. But it’s the same problem with online agile boards so there are opportunities for creative ways to visualize this.

One final comment, it may be obvious, but there must be copies of the CD book easily available in the office for people to read. We want to promote discussions, this means anyone should be able to read sections for themselves to be ready with their own ideas. It seems a no brainer but often overlooked.

Thanks to Skelton Thatcher Consulting for making this available.

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