Keylane has launched the Frequent Release initiative to give customers a smoother release experience through smaller releases every month. The reasoning behind the Frequent Releases is that if we deploy releases to production every month we can deliver the same functionality with lesser impact, as releases fall in much smaller and controllable chunks. The release and deployments also happen much more often, which make it a routine rather than a project to implement a new release of Axon.
As part of the implementation of frequent release initiative we have also changed our maintenance strategy with regards to older releases. Instead of backporting defect fixes to older releases, we now fix defects in the next release. Which will always be within at most a month. Insurance companies benefit from this as they will always have an up to date Axon-version and Keylane benefits from this as we spend fewer hours on backporting fixes to older versions of Axon.
In 2019 we had the first customer on monthly production releases. We setup a DevOps team with a mix of people from Product Development, Hosting and the Delivery Account team to handle the new Frequent Release processes and make sure that everything went smoothly. The DevOps team improved the communication and identified a number of improvements in Product
Development and Hosting to roll out the Frequent Releases to more customers:
- Platform Standardisation
- Deployment Automation
- Limit the defect backlog
- Automated regression test coverage
- Customer Readiness
Based on the order of customers which move onto monthly production releases we created a roadmap for test automation. The roadmap describes the missing test automation coverage and prioritises the coverage to match the next customers on monthly production releases.
We have also developed deployment automation for the Keylane Hosting environments. The deployment automation is currently used by more than 10 customers from System Test to Production. This is a huge step forward to reduce the time spent on upgrading environments which was a requirement to move to monthly releases as a monthly release-customer will have more than 100 deployments per year to their different environments.
We have now moved the second customer onto monthly production releases using the experiences from our DevOps team. The process has been pretty smooth and has created a standard for migrating existing customers onto monthly production releases.