Sharing our push to prod process with the full department

From 1 release per quarter to 2+ releases per week

How we used visual management and gamification for our releasing process

Cet article est également disponible en français.


If there’s something that we are proud of, it definitely is our local snakes and ladders game for the push to prod process.

Please have a look:

Yes the “game” is in French. Because, well, we are a French team in a French company speaking French all day 😅 But I’m betting that you will be able to see and understand what’s going on there. Anyway, we’ll have a closer look at this process itself in a future article. Hit the comments if you can’t wait!

How to use it?

During the daily stand-up meeting!

Darts are used to follow the progress of the various on-going releases. The tip of the darts is made of a magnet which attaches to magnetic stripes glued behind the paper sheets.
We write on some kind of flag the name and theme of the releases. The flags are made from a small stripe of self-sticking DIY whiteboard.

Pieces are put on this board. They explicit and follow the on-going topics. We update this board during the daily stand-up meeting. It’s an additional visual management ingredient and an extension to the team Scrum board.

Synchronizing several teams

And it becomes even better when you have to synchronize several teams! Especially when they share the same ressources to push to prod: using the same GIT repositories, sharing the same pre-production environment. Each team can thus see how the other teams are going, and synchronize with them as needed.

Does it work?

Completely!

This process and this visualization have been key elements in moving forward to the realm of the engineering excellence. We started off at the pace of 1 release every 2 or 3 months, and gradually found our way to the pace of more than 2 releases per week on average. Sometimes pushing to prod 3 times during the same day!

This success comes from more than just this push to prod process. I will detail the other elements in future articles.

To sum up the situation, we are now pushing to prod features short after the development is finished. It would be easy to include pushing to prod into the Definition of Done. On the way to Continuous Delivery!

Given that our sprints are two weeks long, the first diagram shows an average of more than 2 releases per week, improving. The second diagram shows that the average push to prod time is constantly decreasing. Topics are pushed to prod immediately after their development

Is it still used?

Nope… No more needed!

After more than 6 months of intensive use, the team now knows the process by heart. The process is still followed but does not need to be a formal process anymore. We could say that the team has informalized the process.

In the end, making a given process informal might be the ultimate success of said process.

What about you? How do you release?

What’s your releasing process? Have your made it formal? How?

I can’t wait to read your answers in the comments!

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