Unlocking Continuous Delivery

Unlocking Continuous Delivery

Welcome to our comprehensive guide—a roadmap unveiling the inner workings of our team's continuous delivery approach. Within these pages, we explore the intricacies of how we organise, ship, and gather, revealing the practices that propel teams to success.

The "Why" Behind Our Practices

Before we get into these practices let’s dive into why. Why delve into these practices? By embracing these methodologies, teams not only refine their operational efficiency but also instil a culture of constant improvement. Week by week, we:

  • Continuously improve how the teams function
  • Continuously iterate towards our goals on a weekly basis
  • Continuously prioritise features and tech debt work
  • Operate with increased focus on weekly deliverables
  • Align with the leadership on a regular basis to share context and plans
  • Share work transparently, cultivating a collaborative environment.

Navigating Our Team's Playbook: A Comprehensive Overview

This guide unveils our team's playbook—a collection of seamlessly integrated rituals and practices fostering collaboration. In the following sections, we'll explore each element, but first, let's grasp the overall structure. These practices fall into three distinct groups: Organise, Ship, and Gather.

  • Organise: Every 6 weeks, we reflect on the past 6 weeks, gaining valuable insights to recalibrate priorities. Balancing regular check-ins and avoiding excessive planning helps us focus on delivering impactful work.
  • Ship: Weekly, we intentionally and iteratively ship in pursuit of our goals.
  • Gather: Every other week, we regroup, share, and connect with the wider team and team leads.

Now, let's dive into each section, unravelling the associated activities and rituals. Explore what unfolds in each category and discover valuable rituals to incorporate.

Organise: Looking Back, Around and Ahead

In this section, we focus on organising our work by reflecting on the past, refreshing our perspective, and crafting a blueprint for the future. By incorporating the rituals of retrospective, refresh, and plan, we ensure that our team maintains a clear vision, learns from past experiences, and aligns our efforts with current goals. Let's explore each of these rituals in detail:


Retrospective (Retro)

A retrospective provides the team with an opportunity to collectively review past experiences and suggest improvements for a more effective future. In the retrospective, we:

  • Review the Past 6 Weeks: Reflecting on recent events and achievements as a team.
  • Identify Areas for Improvement: Pinpointing aspects that could benefit from enhancements or adjustments.
  • Experiment with New Approaches: Embracing innovation by trying out novel methods, always striving for that incremental 1% improvement.

This process embodies the spirit of continuous improvement, offering our team a shared moment to reflect on the recent past and collaboratively shape our trajectory for the future. By assessing what worked well and areas that can be refined, retrospectives drive us towards constant evolution, ensuring we consistently aim for that 1% improvement with each iteration.

Refresh: A Clear View

The Refresh ritual serves as our compass for maintaining a clear, up-to-date perspective on our workload, commitments, and ongoing projects. It involves a deliberate review of our backlog of issues and current projects to ensure a comprehensive and current understanding of our work landscape. This process includes:

  • Backlog Reassessment: Revisit the backlog of tasks and issues. Prioritise, update, and ensure alignment with current objectives. This not only keeps the to-do list relevant but also helps in identifying any items that might require a shift in priority.
  • Project Check-In: Take a moment to assess the status of ongoing projects. Confirm that you're on track, and if adjustments are needed, address them promptly. This proactive approach prevents surprises and fosters a proactive, rather than reactive, work environment.
  • Commitment Audit: Review existing commitments, whether they are deadlines, meetings, or collaborative efforts. Confirm that timelines are realistic, and if adjustments are necessary, communicate them promptly to stakeholders. This ensures transparency and manages expectations effectively.
  • Resource Evaluation: Assess the resources at our disposal—time, manpower, tools. Confirm that you have the necessary support for our initiatives. If adjustments are needed, coordinate with the team to optimise resource allocation and focus.

By incorporating these rituals into your routine, the Refresh process becomes a strategic pause—allowing you to recalibrate, ensuring your work aligns with current goals, and providing the clarity needed for effective decision-making and sustained momentum.

Ritual Suggestions

  • Backlog Grooming: Review the GitHub backlog of open issues, tickets, etc., to ensure each task has the correct priority level. A task you have put off may be about to breach your SLA that you might need to prioritise.

Plan: Crafting a Blueprint for the Next 6 Weeks

In the dynamic landscape of our work, the Planning phase emerges as a crucial juncture. Planning goes beyond setting goals; it's about sculpting a roadmap that mirrors our collective ambitions. It's about prioritising effectively, providing visibility to leadership, and forging collaborative pathways with other teams—a blueprint that transforms aspirations into achievements.

As we delve into the Planning phase, we draw insights from the Retrospective, ensuring we carry forward valuable learnings. Incorporating elements from the Refresh rituals—check-ins, audits, and resource evaluations—we seamlessly integrate these insights into our planning process. This holistic approach ensures that our next 6 weeks are not only strategically aligned but also infused with the wisdom of past experiences.

We also meticulously curate a collection of 6-week goals that seamlessly align with the overarching objectives of our team. These SMART goals fall into three distinctive categories—Alignment, Prototyping, and Shipping—each playing a pivotal role in steering our course for the upcoming weeks.

  • Alignment: Break down silos within and outside the team and arrive at a unified approach for a goal.
  • Prototyping: Engage in throwaway code to explore, de-risk, and validate concepts and ideas.
  • Shipping: Complete tasks directly contributing to the realisation of project milestones.

Ship: Iterative and Intentional Progress

Our cadence is weekly. We ship iteratively and intentionally on a weekly basis and constantly move towards our goals.

Aim: Weekly Goal Setting

At the onset of each week, our team establishes SMART goals—a key strategy in accomplishing our 6-week objectives. This method serves various purposes:

  • Clarity: Crafters can confidently decline tasks that don't align with their weekly goals and prioritise those necessary to accomplish their aims for the week.
  • Intentionality: We intentionally map out our weekly tasks, ensuring meaningful progress towards larger objectives.

Ritual Suggestions

  • Planning Meeting: Early in the week, convene a planning meeting to set goals. Publish these goals on Slack or a similar platform.


Build and execute on the work that will achieve the weekly aims.

Share: Acknowledge Achievements

As the week concludes, it's crucial to share accomplishments with the team and leadership. This practice serves multiple purposes:

  • Highlight Achievements: Share the outcomes of the week.
  • Alignment: Understand where the team stands and align on the next steps towards their 6-week goals.
  • Celebration: Recognize the team's efforts and accomplishments.
  • Team Morale: Setting and achieving weekly goals fosters a sense of accomplishment and boosts team morale.

Ritual Suggestions

  • Async Team Channel Update: Share an update in the team's slack, team, or other communication channel at the end of the week to share the result of this week's work.
  • Sync Team Meeting: Host a weekly wrap up meeting at the end of the week to share the result of this week's work.

Gather: Stay in Sync

While our delivery cadence operates on a weekly basis, certain alignment and wider team activities prove to be more effective with a bi-weekly frequency. These sessions allow for focused regrouping and alignment, while less frequent wider team demos effectively showcase substantial progress.

Align: Leadership Connection Sessions

Regular bi-weekly alignment sessions with the leadership team are essential for fostering effective collaboration and decision-making. This practice ensures:

  • Wider Context: Leadership provides a broader context for decision-making.
  • Leadership Advocacy: Leaders understand and can advocate for the team's work.
  • Quick Decision-Making: Enables rapid resolution of challenges and prevents decision paralysis.

Ritual Suggestions

  • Bi-Weekly Sync Meetings with Leadership: Establish a standing bi-weekly meeting to share work, direction, status, escalate challenges/problems, and ask questions, etc.

Demo: Cultivating Insight and Visibility through Demos

When all teams converge for a demo, it's a collective unveiling of what they've been building, exploring, and contemplating. This opportunity not only offers a fresh perspective but also provides insight into how our group's efforts elevate and impact the company. This practice yields:

  • Fresh Perspective: Demos generate fresh insights from a context-aware audience.
  • Increased Visibility: Demonstrations offer the larger team greater visibility into the impact and value being created.

Ritual Suggestions

  • Show & Tell - A cross team meeting which allows anyone to come and share any topic/work with the wider audience
  • Record & Share Videos Async - Allocate time for team members to create and share demos asynchronously, fostering continuous and flexible knowledge exchange within the team.

Conclusion: Collaboration, Transparency, and Continuous Improvement

In conclusion, our journey toward achieving continuous delivery is deeply rooted in a culture of collaboration, transparency, and a commitment to continuous improvement. By adhering to the practices detailed in this guide, from the rhythmic cadence of weekly progress to the strategic alignment sessions every two weeks and the reflective 6-week planning phases, we forge a path that not only streamlines our processes but cultivates an environment where our collective efforts yield sustained value.

The heartbeat of our success lies in intentional and iterative progress, where each week becomes a canvas for accomplishments, and each bi-weekly alignment session with leadership ensures the trajectory remains true. Demonstrations and cross-team collaborations serve as catalysts for innovation, offering us fresh perspectives and a collective elevation of our impact on the larger organisational canvas.

As we embrace retrospectives, refreshes, and meticulous planning, we not only learn from our past but set ambitious goals for the future. This guide encapsulates more than just a set of practices; it encapsulates a mindset—a commitment to excellence, adaptability, and a journey where every iteration propels us forward.

May this guide serve as a compass for teams seeking to cultivate a culture of continuous delivery, where collaboration is not just a process but a way of being, and where every action is a step toward a future defined by innovation, efficiency, and the relentless pursuit of improvement.

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