What do 3 year old soccer practice and application deployments have in common?

I coach my son’s 3 year old soccer “team” (and by team, I mean a bunch of 3 year olds that run randomly around the same field at roughly the same time).

Professionally, I work in the changing world of software application delivery, where I’ve been focused on delivery pipelines for web applications.

The other day it occurred to me how the successful deployment of a web application shares many of the same traits as a successful 3 year old soccer practice.

It’s about “touch time”.

A good 3 year old soccer practice doesn’t have the kids standing around hearing about the intricacies of the game. Instead, it focuses on keeping things moving to make sure that the kids have as much touch time on the ball as possible, because only from spending time working with the ball will they eventually become good players. Extending from this, it means we don’t have the kids stand in a line while we work with one ball, which would result in the kids touching the ball a minimal amount of the practice time.

For every skill lesson, every kid has access to a ball, for as much of the time as possible, to try and try again. This enables him/her to try/fail/learn/adapt in a tight feedback loop that more efficiently results in success in acquiring the skill. (See where I’m going here?)

Just the same, on the web application deployment side, the odds of accomplishing a successful application deployment into production (the eventual goal) has a much higher chance of succeeding if we get proper “touch time” with the “ball”.

Touch time is time to practice your deployment process, with a tight feedback loop. This can (and should) happen in QA and pre-production. If you are deploying your web applications into QA and pre-production using a different mechanism, scripts, processes, etc. than you will use during the production deployment, then you are not giving yourself the advantage of that all-important “touch time”.

Deploying your web application to QA or pre-production so that you can test the new code should be used as an opportunity to test the deployment process itself. This all important “touch time” allows you to hone the skill (the deployment process) so that by game time (push to production), you are confident and comfortable handling the ball.

How much “touch time” do you give yourself with the ball before the game?

Dan Gordon

Dan Gordon

Dan Gordon is a Product Manager at Electric Cloud with more than twenty years of experience in the IT software industry. He brings a focus on helping companies build the best tools to help development and IT organizations achieve continuous delivery of quality software. Previously, Dan served as product manager and systems architect for the enterprise IT automation software business within HP Software. He has also held managing and systems engineering roles at Opsware, and been a developer, a network administrator, and a security administrator at Sun Microsystems. Dan is passionate about enabling all software companies (and all companies are software companies) to deliver value to their customers at high velocity.
Dan Gordon

Share this:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Subscribe via RSS
Click here to subscribe to the Electric Cloud Blog via RSS

Subscribe to Blog via Email
Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Continuous Delivery (#c9d9) Podcast

c9d9 Continuous Discussion on Agile, DevOps, and Continous Delivery

Next episode:

Episode 92:
All Day DevOps

October 9, 10am PT

By continuing to browse or by dismissing this alert you agree to the storing of first- and third-party cookies on your device to enhance site navigation, analyze site usage, and assist in our marketing efforts. See privacy policy.