Can you be Agile without Continuous Delivery

Vijay Nirmal

October 21, 2020

Challenges During Agile Transition 

Organizations performing an agile transition are often unhappy with the results. Usually, they follow scrum structure and build cross-functional teams with all the skills required.  

Agile coaches and scrum masters explain the three foundations of scrum — transparency, inspection, and adaptation. They also help us understand the different scrum activities such as sprint, daily scrum, sprint planning, sprint analysis, and sprint retrospective.  

Teams are mentored on the value of quality improvement and they are demonstrated that every scrum procedure is an opportunity to inspect and adapt.  

Despite these efforts, the business value delivery seems to take far longer than expected and enterprises are not reaping the agile transformation rewards or promises.  

Software Development Evolution 

A usefully simplified description of the advances in software development are listed below: 

  • Waterfall claims that a team would only start getting the software ready for releases after all the release functionalities (i.e., full featureare created.  
  • Agile insists that the team will be ready to release its software throughout development. Most types of agile assume that this will happen regularly.  
  • Continuous delivery requires the team to keep the software always ready to be released during development. It is not traditional agile as it does not require waiting and making a special effort to build a releasing framework. 

Agile Software Development  

Agile software development is not a methodology in the strict sense of the term. It is more of a culture or an approach where you recognize the needs of the situation and adapt to it accordingly.  

This technology requires adaptive planning and evolutionary development in addition to early delivery. Hence, there is a need for continuous improvement as it encourages a flexible response to the changes in the surroundings.  

Applications of Agile: Simple Examples  

Agile software development has a variety of applications in diverse fields. You can sense the difference in the technologies involved in activities we do almost every day. Take the internet or mobile banking, for instance. Transferring funds from one account to another is a regular activity for any person or business. You need security layers to be in place to ensure the safety of your funds.  

Now, these security layers need constant updates so that hackers are not able to crack the code. Hence, based on feedback received from industry experts and consumers, the mobile banking app developers keep updating their systems. Therefore, you find something new every fifteen days or so. In the early days, there were only passwords as a layer of security. Now you have additional layers like grid combinations, 2-way authentication measures like OTP and so on. The process of improvisation is continuous.  

This is agile software for you. They cannot wait until something drastic happens. The process of delivery has to be continuous. Agile software specializes in identifying threats or problems before they materialize. Thus, it is ready with a solution beforehand. However, having a solution alone is not enough. The critical aspect is the delivery and utility of the solution. Thus, one can say that agile software is of no use unless there is continuous delivery.  

Hence, you can see that continuous improvement is always necessary for every industry.  

Continuous Delivery — A Subset of Agile 

The very definition of agile software development says that it is a group of software development procedures that are based on iterative and incremental development. There is a continuous evolvement that requires collaboration among various factors. Therefore, agile software cannot work without continuous delivery. There has to be a constant and continuous change in the circumstances.  

You can see the application of agile software in a project management process. Breaking down a large project into smaller doable actions is the best way to approach any project. In this way, you will always be ready to change your plan of action should anything go wrong somewhere in between. Web designing is also an excellent example of the application of agile. You keep on improvising the design to suit customer preferences. You gauge these preferences by interacting with the customers at frequent intervals. Thus, you can see that agile is all about flexibility and adaptability.  


This brings us back to the question Can you have agile without continuous delivery”? You can see that it is just not possible to do so. The principal characteristic of agile is adaptability. Now, adaptability means continuous change concerning the situation. When the situation demands a particular solution, you need to adapt. This is what makes agile an exciting piece of software development process.  


Vijay Nirmal

QA Manager

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