Disciplined Agile

Ensure Production Readiness

This Transition process goal describes our approach to determining whether a solution is ready to be deployed/shipped. It’s important to note that this goal reflects the realities faced by teams that are following the project-based life cycles: the Agile life cycle and Lean life cycle. Teams following these life cycles tend to release into production every few months (or more) and have not yet completely automated their regression tests nor adopted the continuous integration (CI)/continuous deployment (CD) pipeline required to evolve into one of the two continuous delivery life cycles. When a team has successfully migrated to a continuous delivery life cycle, either the Continuous Delivery: Agile or Continuous Delivery: Lean life cycles, they will have either automated the activities encompassed by this goal or alleviated the need for them by taking the low-risk approach of more frequently deploying small changes into production.

When it comes to the cadence of deployments, we like to distinguish between three categories:

  1. Irregular deployment. There is a long time between deployments, often weeks or months or even years. Deployments may be planned, perhaps to meet a fixed delivery date, or may be impromptu.
  2. Regular deployment. There is a consistent cadence to when we deploy our solution. For example, we could choose to have nightly releases, weekly releases, biweekly releases, monthly releases, quarterly releases, and so on.
  3. Continuous deployment. We deploy our solution, or at least portions of it, many times a day. If something builds successfully in one environment/sandbox, then it is automatically deployed to the next environment.
2021 Project Management Institute Ensure Production Readiness v5.2 Ensure Technical Readiness Alpha testing Data migration preparation Deployment testing End-of-life-cycle testing and fixing Finalize deployment plan Finalize documentation Pilot/beta testing Ensure Stakeholder Readiness Communicate deployment Prepare support environment Train/educate stakeholders

Figure 1. The Ensure Production Readiness process goal diagram.

Note: This goal used to be named Ensure the Solution is Consumable.

Click the diagram to open the interactive DA Browser, where you can learn more about the decision points and options of this goal.

Why This is Important

This goal is important because it:

  1. Reduces deployment risk. This process goal captures strategies that reduce the risks associated with deployment by ensuring that the team is technically ready to ship and that stakeholders are prepared to receive new functionality.
  2. Supports appropriate governance. As you can see in Figure 2, there is an explicit Production Ready milestone built into the DA project lifecycles to validate that what your solution is both ready to be deployed and to be received. Risk-based milestones are an important part of DA’s lean governance strategy.
Risk Value

Figure 2. Decreasing risk and increasing value throughout a disciplined agile project (click diagram to expand)

Important Questions to Consider

  • Is the solution technically ready to be deployed?
  • Are our stakeholders ready to accept the solution?

Key Points

  • The solution/product should be technically ready to ship and the stakeholders should be ready to receive it.