devXero's blog

a blog about agile, development, and automation

No Build…don’t even try brecoming agile

Posted by Mike Longin on August 6, 2008

When it comes to agile, there is one thing that I feel is an absolute requirement for getting this whole process working, a working build.  What do I mean by a working build???  I mean a build that can run multiple times a day, every day.  A build that can be used as part of CI (continuous integration) and as a part of the package process when shipping.

Without a build everything comes to a stand still.  Teams can not verify if there code checkin’s conflict with another teams.  Unit tests can not be run to verify code functionality.  And worst of all, no body really knows if the system is working.

But when it is all running smoothly then it is a thing of beuty.  CI runs multiple times a day to verify all checkin’s not only build properly, but all unit tests are passing as well.  The quality assurance team can test on a true version of the system, not a jerry rigged build that may not have any basis in reality.  And best of all at the end of a sprint, you know that the code you are showing is 100% honest in what wil be given to a customer.

When it comes to going agile…make sure the build goes first.

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2 Responses to “No Build…don’t even try brecoming agile”

  1. For- If your goal is to transition to XP (extreme programming which is a “denomination” of agile), then I completely agree.

    Against- Agile does not require this to be successful. Not all environments/companies can do CI very easily. Does this mean that they can’t try scrum or other agile practices? No.

    Though I support what you are saying, I spent a good portion of time with some of the agile industry leaders last week (in Toronto at Agile 2008) debating whether agile implementations are an all or nothing issue. The industry seems to be coming to an agreement that the values and principles are more important than the practices and tools. Saying you can’t be agile due to a single practice or tool is dangerous.

  2. gatorxero said

    Reading your post, I came to realize that maybe I shoulda titled it..No Build..dont even try becoming a multi scrum team based development organization. But it just doesn’t have that nice ring to it.

    But I see your point 100%. Having a perfect build is only required if you are running multiple teams that have mutual dependencies. Though I would suggest that having a good build for a company running a single team is just a good idea overall.

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