CircleCI Report: Pipeline Optimization Best Practices

CircleCI today published a report that found most successful software engineering teams have average workflow durations of five to 10 minutes, with any failed run being fixed or reverted in under an hour.

The report was based on two years of data gathered from more than a quarter-billion workflows and collected from nearly 50,000 organizations using its continuous integration/continuous delivery (CI/CD) platform. The CircleCI 2022 State of Software Delivery Report also found those teams have success rates that are above 90% for the default branch of their application and deploy at least more than once per day.

Mike Stahnke, vice president of platform for CircleCI, said the report also makes it clear there is no correlation between team size and the level of DevOps success achieved.

Organizations that focus on optimizing pipelines are also better able to integrate testing within their DevOps workflows, he noted.

In general, Stahnke said more DevOps teams are relying on cloud-based CI/CD platforms versus opting to deploy and maintain infrastructure themselves. That shift also lowers the barrier to entry for organizations looking to embrace DevOps best practices to accelerate application development, he added.

Less clear is the degree to which organizations have embraced both CD and CI. While many developers routinely employ CI to accelerate application development, CD has proven to be a more elusive goal. Each platform a DevOps team supports tends to have unique attributes that require them to rely on manual processes to deploy applications. However, as DevOps processes continue to mature, Stahnke said the CI and CD integration will become more seamless. In fact, as the number of applications that organizations build simultaneously increases, the pressure to automate CD will also rise.

However, it remains to be seen to what percentage of organizations will opt for a tightly integrated CI/CD platform versus separate CI platforms for developers and CD platforms for IT operations teams that are more loosely coupled.

In the meantime, organizations of all sizes are clearly more focused than ever on developer productivity. In the wake of the downturn brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, there was a rush to launch a range of digital business transformation initiatives. The issue that many organizations are now encountering is they need to find ways to enable a finite number of developers to simultaneously build and deploy multiple applications with multiple interdependencies. Many organizations are trying to address that challenge by sharing best practices across DevOps teams that have varying levels of maturity. Few organizations have a set of standardized DevOps practices that are consistently employed across every application development team within an enterprise.

It will be up to each organization to decide whether to compare their level of DevOps expertise to other organizations. Each application development team faces a unique set of challenges. The most important goal is simply to continuously improve at a time when demand for custom applications has never been greater.

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