Note to devops; smaller changes do not equate to less risk

To say smaller frequent changes are less risky is a dangerous fallacy. Tweet this

Jez Humble said

releases are performed frequently – perhaps as often as several times a day, and certainly no less often than once per iteration. This reduces the delta of change, reducing the risk of each individual release, and making it easier to remediate failed changes.

The second bit I can see, of course: smaller changes mean easier to fix them.
But the first bit, smaller changes mean less risk. Nope. Risk is not related only to the size of the change. It is related to the potential impact; and to likelihood, to which size is only one contributor.

Speaking of likelihood, he also said

Because continuous delivery mandates that each release must be comprehensively tested in a production-like environment, the risk of each release is further reduced.

I have trouble equating "comprehensively tested' with "several times a day".

I love Jez's rational and diplomatic approach: a refreshing change from the mostly confrontational attitudes of the "new age IT" community in general and devops in particular [yeah I know, I'm the pot calling the kettle black].

But I still can't agree that rapid frequent deployment can have any outcome but increased risk.

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