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Deploying on Fridays

July 1st, 2021

by Henry Poydar

in Newsletter

Good morning! Are you deploying today?

It’s Friday, and here in the U.S., it’s also a long holiday weekend.

Over the last decade or so, I’ve noticed roughly two outspoken camps when it comes to deploying changes on Friday afternoons like today.

First, you have the Righteous Process group. For them, every app must have a combination of a highly automated continuous integration processes and a comprehensive approach to QA/SRE.  A push-button deploy should be able to happen at any time for any reason.  Go ahead, dare me to deploy Friday at 5PM, we deploy 5X a day anyway!

Coincidentally (or not), the Righteous Process group seems to work in smaller organizations on contained apps with fewer dependencies.

On the other hand, you have the Hands-Off Friday group. They’ve had their weekends or vacations burned before, and they are not taking any chances. Even a Thursday afternoon deploy warrants a vigorous rub on the rabbit’s foot.

The Hands-Off Friday group tends to work in large enterprises with complex, highly dependent applications and services. More often than not, there is a long and challenging history behind the products and release cycles.

I admit I’ve been a member of both camps. When a public company acquired a startup I co-founded, I was astonished to learn that deploys were limited to once every six weeks. I may have even made some snarky remarks about that. But I quickly discovered that our startup’s release cadence and process would certainly not work for our acquirer. Still, I swung to the other extreme–almost any deploy made me uncomfortable. Finally,  I dug in and helped revise the deployment process into something that made sense for the suite of products at hand and the ops team that had to support it while the developers slept.

There’s no right or wrong here. Whether you deploy or not on a Friday shouldn’t be about doctrine or superstition: it should depend on your application infrastructure, the team supporting the app, and the business drivers for the changes you’re deploying. In other words, common sense.

In case you’re wondering, at Status Hero we are indeed deploying today. We’re not worried about it, but that’s because we’ve established a process that works for us: dogma or luck have nothing to do with it.

I hope you have a relaxing, incident-free weekend,


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I'm Henry Poydar, founder of Status Hero. I've been writing software and leading both co-located and remote software teams for 20+ years.

In that time I've learned a lot about team communication, software estimation, and managing people — mostly the hard way.

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