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I remember our early production deployments at Bestmile, back in 2016. There were three main software components at the time. The “core” component — holding the seed of Bestmile’s Fleet Orchestration Platform; our homemade API Gateway — holding the plumbing around the core; and finally, the Dashboard web front-end.

 

This early version of the platform was not serving thousands of customers. Yet, the deployment felt uncomfortable. I remember these deployments for two reasons:

 

  • We had to do it “after hours”, when our main customers had parked and shut down their autonomous shuttles, which put the deployment in the middle of the afterwork-beer time.
  • We had to plan it carefully, and manually deploy each component individually in the right order, making it difficult to actually drink the beer.
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    These were the early days and since then, Bestmile’s platform grew beyond three components (30+ as of Q1 2020). While the complexity increased, Bestmile’s customers’ operations were growing in size and requirements:

     

  • Features — and bugs, sometimes — kept pouring in the product requirements.
  • Operations, driven by autonomous fleets and new business models that kept evolving and changing, brought new features.
  • New, bigger customers required more technical abilities and proofs, better performance, and shorter time to market.
  • Most importantly, there were soon to be no such things as “after hours” as businesses would run almost 24/7 around the world.
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    Continuous Development is one of those “non-functional” product requirements that are not visible, yet unavoidable to keep the platform running 24/7, while at the same time reducing the time for new features to come to life.

     
     

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