Friday Deployment

Deployment Management Nightmares! Don’t Deploy Friday!

MAR, 2023

by Andrew Walker.

 

Author Andrew Walker

Andrew Walker is a software architect with 10+ years of experience. Andrew is passionate about his craft, and he loves using his skills to design enterprise solutions for Enov8, in the areas of IT Environments, Release & Data Management.

 

 

Deployments are a critical aspect of IT operations, allowing teams to release new features, updates, and fixes to software applications and systems. However, deployment failures can be costly and time-consuming to fix, resulting in lost revenue, decreased productivity, and increased stress for IT teams. While deploying on any day of the week can present challenges, deploying on Fridays can be particularly risky and can turn into a nightmare for IT teams. 

 

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In this article, we’ll explore the risks and downsides of deploying on Fridays, the causes of deployment failures, and best practices for successful deployments. We’ll also discuss some alternative deployment schedules that can help IT teams avoid deployment nightmares and reduce the stress of managing deployments.

 

The Risks of Friday Deployments

Deploying on Fridays can be tempting for IT teams, as it allows them to release updates and new features just in time for the weekend. However, this practice can be a recipe for disaster. For one, if something goes wrong during the deployment, IT teams may need to work through the weekend to fix the issue, disrupting their personal lives and adding stress to an already challenging situation. Additionally, deploying on Fridays means that the system may be down or unstable during peak usage times over the weekend, potentially causing frustration and lost revenue for businesses. Finally, deploying on Fridays means that any issues that arise may not be addressed until the following Monday, as many IT teams have reduced support staff over the weekend.

Real-life examples of deployment failures that occurred on Fridays include the infamous Knight Capital Group incident in 2012, in which a software glitch caused the company to lose $440 million in just 45 minutes. In this case, the deployment was conducted on a Wednesday, but the issues weren’t fully discovered until Friday, leading to significant losses for the company. Other examples include Amazon’s 2017 outage, which occurred on a Friday afternoon, and the 2019 Target outage, which occurred on a Saturday but was caused by a code deployment on the previous day.

Causes of Deployment Failures

There are a variety of factors that can contribute to deployment failures, regardless of the day of the week. However, deploying on Fridays can exacerbate some of these issues and make them more difficult to resolve. One common cause of deployment failures is miscommunication between different teams or stakeholders. This can lead to misunderstandings about requirements or expectations, and can result in the wrong changes being made or not enough testing being conducted before the deployment. Deploying on Fridays can make it more difficult to communicate effectively, as team members may be harder to reach or may not be available over the weekend if issues arise.

Another common cause of deployment failures is lack of testing or inadequate infrastructure (particualrly poor Test Environments setup, meaning lower environment deployment trials are ineffective). Deploying new code or features without sufficient testing can lead to unexpected issues or bugs, and deploying on Fridays means that any issues that arise may not be addressed until the following Monday. Similarly, deploying on Fridays may mean that IT teams are working with reduced staffing levels or on older or less reliable infrastructure, which can increase the risk of failure.

Other factors that can contribute to deployment failures include poor change management processes, lack of automation, and insufficient documentation. By addressing these factors and taking proactive steps to ensure successful deployments, IT teams can minimize the risk of deployment nightmares and keep their systems running smoothly.

 

Best Practices for Successful Deployments

To ensure a successful deployment strategy, IT teams should prioritize best practices and effective deployment management processes. Some tips and best practices for successful deployments include:

  • Ensure your releases are standardised and repeatable. Leverage SOPs (aka Runsheets).
  • Use automation tools to streamline deployment processes and reduce the risk of human error.
  • Conduct thorough testing before making changes to production systems, including unit testing, integration testing, and acceptance testing.
  • Communicate effectively with all stakeholders, including business teams, developers, and IT support staff, to ensure everyone is on the same page.
  • Use a robust change management process to track changes and ensure that all changes are reviewed and approved before being deployed.
  • Ensure that infrastructure is up-to-date and reliable, and that IT teams have access to the resources they need to support the deployment.
  • Conduct deployments during off-peak times whenever possible, to minimize the impact on users and allow for easier troubleshooting if issues arise.

By following these best practices and prioritizing effective deployment management processes, IT teams can minimize the risk of deployment failures and ensure a successful deployment strategy that meets business and user needs.

 

Alternatives to Friday Deployments

While deploying on Fridays can be tempting, it’s important to remember that it can be a high-risk strategy that can lead to deployment nightmares. There are several alternatives to Friday deployments that IT teams can consider to minimize the risk of deployment failures and reduce stress and workload.

One option, for the Deployment Manager to consider, is to deploy earlier in the week, such as on a Monday or Tuesday. This allows for more time to address any issues that may arise and ensures that the system is stable and reliable during peak usage times over the weekend. Alternatively, IT teams may consider deploying later in the week, such as on a Thursday, to allow for testing and troubleshooting before the weekend.

Another option is to adopt a continuous deployment or continuous integration approach, in which small changes are deployed frequently and automatically, rather than in large batches. This approach can help minimize the risk of deployment failures by reducing the scope of changes made in each deployment and allowing for rapid testing and feedback.

Ultimately, the best deployment schedule will depend on the specific needs and requirements of each organization. However, by considering alternatives to Friday deployments and prioritizing effective deployment management processes, IT teams can avoid deployment nightmares and ensure that their systems are running smoothly and reliably.

Conclusion

Deployments are an essential aspect of IT operations, but they can also be high-risk and stressful for IT teams. Deploying on Fridays can be particularly risky, as it can lead to deployment nightmares and disrupt personal lives and weekend plans. By understanding the risks of Friday deployments, addressing common causes of deployment failures, and following best practices for successful deployments, IT teams can reduce the risk of deployment nightmares and ensure that their systems are running smoothly and reliably.

Alternatives to Friday deployments, such as deploying earlier in the week or adopting a continuous deployment approach, can also help IT teams minimize the risk of deployment failures and reduce stress and workload. By prioritizing effective deployment management processes and considering alternative deployment schedules, IT teams can avoid deployment nightmares and ensure that they are delivering value to their business and users.

Other Deployment Reading

Enov8 Blog: What is Deployment Planning

Enov8 Blog: The Benefits of Deployment Planning

 

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