Big Ideas
Small Company
Moderate Heresy

Scaling Continuous Delivery at Unruly

Alex Wilson & Benji Weber | Pipeline 2014




Marketing Technology

12-120 in under 2 years

Talk Structure

  • How we work
  • Why it works
  • Scaling Infrastructure
  • Scaling Development

Careful & Considered

How we work…

eXtreme Programming

Feedback Loops

  • Pairing
  • TDD
  • Customer
  • Deploy

Iterations & Release Planning

"Plan releases once a quarter. Plan iterations more frequently"
(XP Explained)

We do none of these things


Deliver value as quickly as possible

Minimise time from conception to value

Value Stream

(Continuous Delivery, Jez Humble & David Farley)

Accelerated Value Stream

Normal Value Stream

Definition of Done

When tests pass

When integrated

When deployable build

When deployed

When measurably delivering value

Deploy Pipeline

(Continuous Delivery, Jez Humble & David Farley)

Waterfall in a Tube

Gate Metaphor

Automate all the Things

  • Acceptance
  • Integration
  • Component/Unit
  • Performance

Move Checks Post-Deploy

Live with broken

  • Monitoring
  • What & Why broken
  • Fix rapidly
  • NagDD



  • Deploy & Feedback
  • Inform next change
  • Motivation to keep deploy fast


No CI Server


Business Dev decides when to deploy

  • Feature Toggles

UAT in Production

  • Global Org
  • Production-like
  • Performance feedback early

Accessible Customer


Continuous Delivery Deployment

Every build is capable of being deployed

Every push is deployed

Even after beer o'clock

No Branching

  • No long lived feature branches
  • No pushed branches
  • Real CI
  • Integrate with users and data

Roll Back Forward

"Forward Roll" by Astrid Photography.

People & Culture

Siloing is Bad

Split by Product

Generalists over Specialists

Specialists help generalists do better

Product Team

Didn't work - became a bottleneck

Collective Ownership

  • Code
  • Tests
  • Requirements
  • Ops
  • Support

Devs on Call

Freedom and responsibility

Pair Programming

Real-time code review


  • Retrospectives
  • 20% Time
  • Dev Tasks

Questions so far?

Infrastructure Challenges

1-100 Servers

Infrastructure as Code

  • TDD
  • Pairing
  • Tight feedback loop

Making Snowflakes Disposable

More frequent machine death during growth

Continuous Disposal

Caught out by assuming servers were rebuildable - they weren't

First Day

Any project's first step - deploy "Hello World"

Deploy something, iteratively improve

TDD (sort of)

Unit-testing less useful

Acceptance testing much more informative

Acceptance Testing

@test "apache should redirect to https" {
    run curl 
    [ "$status" -eq 0 ]
    echo "$output" \
        | grep -q '< Location: https://analyti…

Module Testing

public class AnalyticsWeb {{
    describe(service("httpd"), it -> {

    describe(port(80), it -> {

    describe(port(443), it -> {

Shared Infrastructure

Assumed care; Ensured suffering

Cross-team collaboration

Reduce Variance, Increase Mean

Homogenous systems are easier to reason about.

MTBF becomes less important than MTTR

Cronned Code Deletion

Dev Scaling Challenges

Existing Product Boundaries

"River & Bridge" by John Gateley

Conway's Law

"organizations which design systems ... are constrained to produce designs which are copies of the communication structures of these organizations"

Take advantage

Split on Demand

You know least when you start

Monolith vs MicroServices

Deploy speed vs Dependency Hell


"Queue" by Alexandre Duret-Lutz

Continuous Investment

Deploy Speed & Reliability


0.1% failure rate is annoying with 100 tests

0.1% failure rate is impossible with 10,000 tests


  • Internal tech-talks
  • Team rotation
  • Team lead rotation
"Pollen" by nutmeg66

Collective Ownership

Unusual things

Continuous Deployment
Synchronous Deploy
No CI Server
Cronned Code Deletion


Short pipeline
Fast feedback
Early value

Thanks for Listening

Any Questions?

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