Nowadays, we take CI/CD for granted. No doubt it is an absolute necessity, and it cannot be the other way around - a well-tuned CI/CD speeds up the development process to a significant degree. There is no reason not to use it (especially considering the general availability of tools). Instead of repeating the numerous benefits your application development gains, think of CI/CD from the perspective of scarcity. Let’s ask ourselves what the development process would look like if we didn’t have any CI/CD.

I would like to start with something less obvious. You see, any CI/CD tool is not only an automation tool - it’s also a great communication enhancer. “But what does it have to do with communication, and how does it help?” you would ask. The answer is simple - by reduction of interactions between people. A well-tuned CI/CD workflow is a kind of contract between different team members. You will always get your feature automatically tested, scanned for vulnerabilities, and deployed if some criteria are met (approved pull request, for example). This way, you don’t have to constantly request some services from other teams, thus creating unnecessary bottlenecks.

Another thing that would be missing if you don’t have any CI/CD workflow is the lack of standardization. If each step is automated and triggered and defined conditions are met, you work with well-known scenarios. There is less firefighting, fewer incidents, and fewer things to remember. And even if incidents occur, adjusting your CI/CD system and handling issues once instead of repeating them again is not tricky.

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Last but not least - without CI/CD, application development would not be a development most of the time. There is no doubt that time is precious, so why would you waste it running local builds and tests, on unnecessary chit-chat, and other things that drift your attention when you can simply develop (and that’s your job)? Lack of CI/CD leads to extra responsibilities, management overhead, and poor development performance.

In conclusion, CI/CD is unsuitable for medium or large projects. A simple pipeline for a reasonably small project can help you benefit from automation a lot, even if, at the moment, it looks like “what we have is manageable.” It is also way easier to start small rather than build a development process when much work is already done.

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