Progressive Delivery Techniques in DevOps

In the world of software development and operations, DevOps has emerged as a paradigm shift, facilitating seamless collaboration between development and operations teams to deliver high-quality software at scale. While the basic principles of DevOps, such as automation, continuous integration, and continuous deployment, are well-established, advanced techniques like progressive delivery have gained prominence.

In this blog post, we will explore the concept of progressive delivery and its role in orchestrating continuous delivery in the DevOps ecosystem.

Understanding Progressive Delivery

Progressive delivery is an approach that enables organizations to release software updates incrementally, allowing for controlled exposure to a subset of users or infrastructure. Unlike traditional release strategies where changes are pushed to all users simultaneously, progressive delivery allows for fine-grained control over the deployment process, minimizing risks and enabling faster feedback loops.

Key Concepts and Techniques in Progressive Delivery

Feature Flags

Feature flags, also known as feature toggles, are a fundamental technique used in progressive delivery. By leveraging feature flags, developers can enable or disable specific features or functionalities at runtime. This capability enables teams to control the exposure of new features, conduct A/B testing, and perform canary releases.

Canary Releases

Canary releases involve deploying a new version of an application or service to a small subset of users or infrastructure. By monitoring the performance and stability of the canary release, organizations can assess the impact of the new version on a limited scale before rolling it out to the entire user base. Canary releases help mitigate risks associated with introducing new features or changes.

A/B Testing

A/B testing is a technique used to compare two versions of an application or service, commonly referred to as the control group and the experimental group. By dividing users into these groups and exposing each to different versions, organizations can gather data on user behavior, performance, and other key metrics. A/B testing provides valuable insights to inform decision-making regarding feature adoption and optimization.

Blue-Green Deployments

Blue-green deployments involve maintaining two identical production environments, referred to as blue and green. The blue environment represents the current stable version, while the green environment hosts the updated version. By routing traffic between the two environments, organizations can ensure a seamless transition from the blue environment to the green environment. Blue-green deployments minimize downtime and provide a rollback option if issues arise.

Traffic Shifting

Traffic shifting is a technique used to gradually shift user traffic from one environment to another, such as from a canary release to the main production environment. This allows for controlled exposure and monitoring of new versions while ensuring a smooth transition for users. Traffic shifting can be based on predefined rules or automated metrics-driven strategies.

Benefits of Progressive Delivery in DevOps

Risk Mitigation

Progressive delivery enables organizations to mitigate risks associated with software releases by gradually exposing changes to a limited audience. This approach facilitates early detection of issues, minimizing the impact on the entire user base.

Faster Feedback Loops

By releasing software updates incrementally, DevOps teams can gather feedback from real users, allowing them to identify and address issues promptly. This feedback loop improves the overall quality and usability of the software.

Improved User Experience

Progressive delivery techniques enable organizations to tailor experiences based on user segments. By deploying features selectively, teams can test new functionalities, measure user response, and make data-driven decisions to enhance the user experience.

Increased Release Confidence

By leveraging canary releases, A/B testing, and traffic shifting, organizations can build confidence in their releases. Monitoring key metrics during these deployments allows teams to assess the stability, performance, and user satisfaction of new features before full-scale rollout.


As the DevOps landscape evolves, progressive delivery techniques are gaining prominence as a powerful approach to orchestrating continuous delivery. By adopting feature flags, canary releases, A/B testing, blue-green deployments, and traffic shifting, organizations can minimize risks, obtain valuable user feedback, and optimize the user experience.

Embracing progressive delivery empowers DevOps teams to accelerate their software delivery cycles, deliver higher-quality software, and stay ahead in today’s rapidly changing digital world.

This post is licensed under CC BY 4.0 by the author.