Mar 06
Agile Driven DevOps Deck

The PowerPoint Deck in PDF format

​​PPT in PDF format

Feb 27
Triage Triangle

Feb 02
What is Continuous Delivery?

First let's talk about the acronyms CI, CD and CD…  This whole CI / CD thing causes all sorts of confusion.  First CI is Continuous Integration, for a definition see my previous post here: What is Continuous Integration.  CD, now that's a little trickier…  CD is either Continuous Delivery or Continuous Deployment depending on where you are in the pipeline. So then what is Continuous Delivery really? The text book definition of continuous delivery is as follows: Be ready and able to deploy any version of the solution to any supported platform at any time.

But what does that mean Exactly? Before we break down the definition of Continuous Delivery lets list a few key enablers.


  • Test Driven Development
  • Developing on Trunk
  • Implementing Feature Flags
  • Automated Acceptance Testing
  • Configuration Management
  • Automated Deployment


As we break down the definition of Continuous Delivery we will see where each of these processes helps to enable Continuous Delivery.

First let's talk about being ready and able.  If your boss or a client were to come to your team's work area right now and say "hey, you geeks deploy that solution right now!" how long would it take you to get it into production? Will it take 15 minutes, an hour, 8 hours, 48 hours or more? If we want to be "ready and able" to deploy at any time we can't have a bunch of incomplete features, untested code, branches that need to be merged and bugs that need to be fixed. Since there will always be times that a feature is not complete because the developer is still working on it we can use Feature Flags. Feature Flags disable, hide or restrict access to code when committing changes to source control so that the solution can deployed at any time. For example, imagine you are adding a new login functionality to your solution. The developer has created the login page but the login database has not yet been created therefore the login page will not work. We can use Feature Flags to commit the new login page to source control while keeping the login feature disabled. Using Feature Flags also to develop changes without branching because the primary reason for branching is to avoid changes breaking the codebase and restricting our ability to deploy. We call this approach Developing on Trunk (get it no branches it's just the trunk) J To make sure that we can deploy quickly after changes are committed to source control we need to make sure that the code is already well tested automatically as its committed. We call this technique Continuous Integration but in order to have the tests available at commit we must also implement Test Driven Development also known as Test First Development. To ensure that we can repeat the deployment process on demand and in a reasonable amount of time Configuration must be automated as well to a point that we can reconfigure servers as settings files stored in Source / Version Control. Configuration Management avoids issues like Configuration Drift, Snowflake Servers and Inconsistent Environments. Configuration Management also allows us to maintain installation and configuration settings in Source / Version control for all previous versions enabling deployment of "any supported version to any platform". Lastly while we just need to be "ready and able" to deploy we still need to ensure that deployment is not a painful or high-risk process. Deployment needs to be a push button, single click, low risk event. To accomplish this deployment must be automated. Automated deployment can be achieved in many different ways from batch files and scripts to release management software. The way you automate is as import as the fact that you actually do automate deployment.

As you begin your journey of Continuous Improvement to your Solution Delivery Pipeline remember this "You do not need to solve all the world problems in the first iteration". Make incremental improvements to your current process, collect feedback and integrate that feedback into the next iteration to Continuously improve the Solution and the Process.



Jan 09
What is Agile Marketing?

I am a firm believer that everything can and should be Agile! The days of analysis paralysis should be long behind us. Our customers and their attention spans move at internet speeds and you have 3 clicks or less to get their attention. Agile software delivery strives to deliver business value to customers quickly while minimizing risk and defects while Agile Marketing is essentially the same idea where the business value is timely and relevant information about our product offerings to new and existing customers. Defects or campaigns that do not generate interest and conversions should be quickly identified, modified and / or eliminated in favor of better performing campaigns.

Agile Marketing Manifesto (interpreted)

Individuals and Interactions over Processes and Tools

Measurement and Data over Opinions and Conventions

Authentic Engagement and Transparency over Official Posturing

Rapid Iterations over a Few Large Bets

Two-way Conversations over One-way Interruptions

Intimate Customer Tribes over Impersonal Mass Markets

​Below, we have compiled are a few Agile Marketing related resources:

Intro to Agile Marketing in 2 minutes

The title of this video speaks for itself... 2 minites - let's go!

The Agile Marketing Manifesto​

Here, the author discusses new ways to create customer value for organizations through the new marketing approaches.  These approaches come from a combination of Agile Marketing manifestos featured in a blog post by Travis Arnold. Values that have been highlighted include collaboration, adaptive campaigns, customer discovery, and more.

A collection of Agile Marketing Manifestos

As referenced above, this article compiles a host of different Agile ideas and principles, and in doing so points out the differences between them. The contrast between comprehensiveness, and simplicity are reviewed, and the limitations of each are discussed.  In addition, he gives feedback on each manifesto, focusing on what is most important from his point of view.  Different Agile practitioners often have different views, so it is valuable to look at the simple breakdowns of the initial framework that embodies what Agile Marketing is all about. ​

​Implement Scrum for Digital Marketing

This article looks at Agile as a marketing methodology, separating it from its roots in software development and applying the practices to marketing campaigns. Digital marketing teams face different challenges than software development teams, but conceptually, many of these issues are very similar. Agile management practices that are data driven, quantitative, and iterative can be applied to marketing campaigns to mitigate risk, and help them operate more effectively. Here, the parallels are pointed out, and the problems faced in software development are adapted to a digital marketing teams point of view.  ​

Agile Marketing a step by step guide

This is another great article that focusses on engaging in innovative new ways to meet customers' needs more effectively through Agile marketing practices. Again, it looks at Agile from a marketing perspective, and gives a step by step overview of how to implement it properly. It covers core concepts, such as evaluating results to improve data driven solutions, deploying tests quickly, and rapidly iterating processes to achieve targeted goals. Not only does it describe and define the concepts of Sprints, designing tests, and customer first methodology, this article also provides practical and effective tips to do so.   


Jan 04
Agile and CD resources

One of my favorite Planning Poker videos from Mike Cohn at Mountain Goat Software

Details on TDD and the Test Driven Development Rhythm

A list of Scrum and Agile Resources

Beware of Distractions

The Shallows what the internet is doing to our brains on Amazon

Work in "Mini Sprints" using the Pomodoro Technique

Continuous Delivery vs Continuous Deployment

The Puppet Labs State of DevOps Report


Nov 20
Managing work in Team Foundation Services

Create a Team Foundation Services Account

Link Visual Studio to Team Foundation Services

Add User Stories and Delivery Team Tasks

Nov 12
Airline club membership... Is it worth it?

On an early Monday flight I pretty much have the whole United club to myself...

If you have ever thought about United Club membership before I offer a little food for thought:

If you spend as much time at the airport as I do (or even way less) think of club membership in terms of free "faster" Wi-Fi, free drinks, soups and salads as well as a relatively quiet space to relax or work and wait for your delayed flight.

Imagine this scenario:

You have an hour and 25 minute wait for your next flight or enough time to have 2 glasses of wine a bowl of soup (or 2) and a salad. While enjoying your wine and eating your soup and salad you return a few emails and finish that proposal on your laptop. What's that your flight was canceled and you need to talk to customer service but so do the other 247 people on your flight? No problem go to the club and talk to customer service there "members only".

So how much does all of this cost?

First let's do the math...

  • 2 airport glasses of wine $18
  • 1 airport bowl of soup $9
  • 1 airport salad $12
  • Quiet workspace with space for laptop and faster wifi $priceless

For a grand total of $39 actual dollars per leg of your trip plus at least $50 worth of less noise and airport DRAMA. What is your peace of mind worth??

So you get stuck on that flight from SFO to DCA and have to go through ORD because you booked last minute. That's $39 at SFO $39 at ORD and $39 at DCA (Because it's better to wait for your bags in the club with a free drink in your hand) or $117 each way. A grand total of $234 round trip. Did I mention you get a plus 1?

The membership is $550 which sounds expensive until you do the math. If you travel for work at least once per month club membership represents a cost savings. Or if you travel for fun with a companion more than 4 times per year or if you just drink and snack A LOT. You have a full year to eat and snack your way to your $550 membership fee. 

Nov 10
The Increasing Cost of Technical Debt


The cost of defects increases exponentially as they slip down the delivery pipeline a shift left in quality, security and stability goes a long way toward reducing costs. We must make a shift left in quality, security and stability by surfacing defects earlier in the Delivery pipeline as defects get exponentially more expensive as they slip down the pipeline. A defect caught after development in quality assurance is about 15x costlier than a defect found in design.

From a development perspective, a defect found during implementation is 6.5x costlier than if it were found in design but still about half the cost of finding the same defect in QA. If we have so many gaps in our process that a defect makes it from design, through implementation and QA and somehow finds itself in production the cost is 100x higher than finding that same defect in design.

A more elusive fact we must also take into account is the soft costs associated with the very public statement that the dev (and quality assurance) team "is a joke" as colleague of mine would say. All joking aside this is a team effort it is not only the developers fault but also QA, infrastructure, release management and anyone else responsible for any part of the pipeline. We sink or swim as a team and quality is everyone's responsibility. If we deliver a crappy piece of software and the stock tanks and the company goes out of business we are ALL out of a job. Reputation cost is a little difficult to quantify but suffice it to say that releasing software riddled with defects and poor user experience does not build confidence in your team's ability to deliver quality solutions to its customers.

Implementing processes such as Test-Driven Development, Continuous Integration and Automated Acceptance Testing / Behavior Driven Development can help teams make that "Shift Left" in quality that reduces the cost of their debt. As teams will typically incur from 10% – 30% technical debt to new work ratio per sprint it's a good idea to do everything we can to find the defects and reduce debt before is slips down the pipeline towards Maintenance / Production where the costs skyrocket.

Oct 03
Git Installation

In this tutorial, we will walk through each step required to successfully download and install Git. To successfully integrate code changes from multiple developers, we need a central source of truth. One location where the latest version of all source code, tests, configuration files, installation files, and anything else needed to move our solution down the DevOps Delivery Pipeline.

Git combined with Jenkins provides the ability to configure Continuous Integration triggers that automatically fire off builds and tests. In previous tutorials, we have installed the Java Development Kit, Maven, and Eclipse to complete our Continuous Integration development environment we will now install Git.

  1. Open a browser, and navigate to
  2. Download the latest version of Git for your OS
  3. Locate the Git download package in your Downloads folder

  4. Double Click on the Git setup Icon.
  5. Click Next to accept the defaults, then click Install
  6. Click Finish to complete the setup



      The next important step will be linking our Jenkins installation our new Git installation. Things are about to get interesting! 

Aug 25
Jenkins Install

In this tutorial, we will walk through the download instalation of Jenkins to prepare our Continuous Integration setup. So far, we have installed the Java Development Kit, Maven, and Eclipse. Now we will install Jenkins. Next we will Git, and connect to Jenkins to fire off new builds on Commit.


While there isn't much to the Jenkins installation, installing and configuring the plugins is where things will get interesting.


  1. Navigate to the Jenkins download page:
  2. Scroll down to the latest version of Jenkins, and click on the latest version for your OS

  3. Locate the Jenkins zip file in your downloads folder
  4. Open the Jenkins zip file and launch the Setup Wizard (jenkins.exe), and follow the instructions

  5. Once the install has completed, click Finish

    It's as simple as that. As we say in the industry: "Bing bang boom" … you have successfully installed Jenkins!







1 - 10Next