Scrum vs Continuous Delivery

A while ago I had the displeasure of hearing from a Project Manager (PM):

“I don’t do Scrum, I do Continuous Delivery”

All of a sudden there were no more sprint planning, review and retrospective meetings. Developers started working in a “production line”, solving bugs from the tracking system. Misery all over.

His argument was that working with Continuous Delivery (CD) he would gain productivity releasing software faster. Clearly the PM misunderstood some important concepts. Let’s clear things up.

Scrum is an agile process based on time-boxed iterations during which usable and potentially releasable product increment is created; and the Product Owner may choose to immediately release it.

CD is a discipline where you build software in a way it can be released to production at any time. It is about keeping the system in a production-ready state. It has nothing to do with releasing software earlier or making sprints shorter.

Based on the definitions, it is clear that if you have software that is production-ready, you may choose to release it at any time, even during the iteration. The “release” is not related to the sprint review meeting.

Scrum and CD can perfectly work together. In fact, both should be used whenever it is possible. CD improves Scrum shortening the feedback loop, allowing quicker responses for changes, hence leading to a better product.

If you can have the best of both worlds, why not do it so?