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Continuous Delivery Adoption Barriers



Last updated 19/03/2024

Continuous Delivery Adoption Barriers

DevOps Groups have been taking the survey for about a month to understand the barriers to continuous delivery adoption. Today, we will review the results of the analysis and get the findings below.

The Continuous Delivery Adoption Barriers contains the challenges faced while developing the Continuous Delivery practices in software development. The following are some main barriers contains:

  • Integration Hell:It showcases that each feature released in production can slow down the procedure.
  • Automation Needs:CD is based heavily on automation for testing and deployment stages, which can be a significant hurdle if not properly implemented. 
  • Quality and Risk Management:Ensuing high quality and low risk in every update requires rigorous automated verification procedures, which can be complex to set up and maintain. 

These barriers highlight the importance of addressing technical, business-related, and cultural aspects when transitioning to CD practices in software development. 

What is Continuous Delivery?

In software development, continuous delivery refers to automatically preparing code changes for production release. Continuous delivery, a cornerstone of contemporary application development, builds on constant integration by deploying all code changes to a production environment following the build phase and a testing environment. Developers will always have build artefacts ready for deployment and have undergone a standardized testing procedure when implemented correctly.

Organizational Culture

Organizational Culture is normally the most essential aspect to consider when developing or adopting sustainable Continuous Delivery principles. 41% of respondents said business culture was the primary barrier to continuous delivery adoption.

It is capable of blunting or reducing the intended impact of even well-thought-out changes in the business. Businesses that adopt continuous delivery will normally evaluate and enhance working practices. Still, if they truly embrace continuous delivery, companies should ensure their employees understand their primary principles.

Continuous Delivery adoption is only possible if management is bought in and at least most engineers are willing to change how they work. As businesses mature their processes, they must seek to enhance the Culture which:

  • It is open, honest and transparent.
  • Motivates collaboration.
  • Promotes innovation, accountability and responsibility.
  • Develop and reward trust across organizational boundaries.
  • It improves the visibility of change and risk.

Organizational changes are indeed hard, and it’s well-known, theorized and documented that Culture is the most difficult organizational factor to change. For Continuous Delivery to become successful, the entire business should adapt its philosophy to offer high-quality, valuable software as quickly as possible.  

Lack of Integrated Development and Operations 

DevOps offers development strategy for continuous delivery principles, but neither philosophy is truly based on the other. DevOps and Continuous Delivery work towards common goals with the help of offering business value via software delivery within the culture, which allows collaboration and understanding among the functional groups. It brings IT services where everyone is responsible for delivery.

Within the DevOps movement, silos among groups are being removed so that software can be delivered quicker, which means that business value can be delivered faster.

Developers are adopting the method to generate production-ready software, which can normally be adopted, deployed and deliver high throughput. It contains operations with agile principles that allow for effective and low-risk change management to protect stability.

Forrester Consulting and ThoughtWorks' recent study found interesting findings: "Businesses are looking to prioritize innovation with the help of developing software services. Software development providers can’t provide new services at the rate business leaders want. Corporate culture and development procedure immaturity impedes communication and slow service delivery. Some businesses regularly perform advanced continuous delivery practices.”

It elaborates that it’s unsurprising that 19% of respondents consider the lack of integrated development and operations capability as the adoption barrier for Continuous Delivery.

Technical Hurdles 

Organizational culture might be CD's basic or normal adoption barrier, but several technical hurdles must be overcome. The technical challenges comes under the 4 categories known as follows:

  • Configuration Management
  • Continuous Integration
  • Automated Testing
  • Automated Deployment

Tools and associated best practices are becoming more advanced in each of these areas. Infrastructure as code is promoted by OpsCode and Delivery Pipeline Management tools, including ThoughtWorks Go, combined with the ever-growing set of cloud-enabled services and platforms to make CD implementation easier from a technical viewpoint.

However, 15% of respondents trust that technical hurdles are significant in preventing the adoption of CDs.

Lack of Understanding

Education of CD principles was seen as the big adoption barrier by 15% of respondents. Lack of understanding spans each of the possible responses in our survey from business culture through technical knowledge.

But there are more understandings of the terminology, principles and practice of CD. As paul stacks points out Continuous Delivery is not continuous deployment. Paul correctly defines continuous delivery as the process of having shippable application after each check in to source control, whereas CD is the procedure of shipping the product after every check in the source control. The difference is subtle but significant.

Another miss-practice is that CD and DevOps are normally the same factors. Stephen Smith observes, CD and DevOps are interdependent, not equivalent. Some of this confusion might have arisen from the misinterpretation of the DevOps principles leading to differing opinions of the relationship among the CD and DevOps specifically as “People often talk about DevOps and CD in the same breath” as Jeff Sussna notes.

Business Readiness to accept change at a fast pace

There are different businesses who prioritize change to feel constant, although as Isaac Asimov said, the only constant is change. In general people don’t like change, so the methodology that promotes acceleration of change is most likely to face the opposition.

There are 10% of respondents saw businesses' readiness to accept change at a faster pace as the barrier to CD adoption. However, it might have potential to influence the mainly technical community completing the survey. 

Decreasing the mean time to deploy can have significant business benefits. CD aims to offer high-quality and valuable software as fast as possible. That is, to deliver business value is less time, whilst protecting the value quality. Given, respondents saw this reason as the not so important factor preventing CD adoption cloud means that businesses are aware of the benefits of getting to market faster.

For businesses aware of the benefits of delivering value at a quicker pace, and for those willing to enhance the cultural change, CD brings the set of principles which can be implemented to offer the significant advantages.


As a result, adopting Continuous Delivery (CD) in software development is fraught with numerous barriers, including technical, cultural, and organizational stumbling blocks. As a result of analyzing these barriers, it becomes evident that not only respect must be added, fostering an organizational culture that encourages rapid change readiness and supportive organizational culture.

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