If you believe in continuous integration then show it

It might be interesting for groups who promote agile software development practices to start introducing transparency, gently and slowly, simply by including a single number on their web page: the percentage of their projects that are successfully building, and nothing more.

7 thoughts on “If you believe in continuous integration then show it”

  1. Hi Grant, I think this is good idea in the development phase. In production, it may not be good or most of the client will not like it. If we do that in development phase then people will pay more attention to it because single build fail will affect on success ratio.

    Also, within company adding a page to company’s internal portal where we can display success percentage for all project also good idea. Everybody within company will come to know how everybody is paying attention to continuous intenration :).

  2. Hi Sudarshan:

    It would be, and should be, totally anonymous; client and project information would remain totally private.

    An internal page sounds great in theory; but experience has taught me that people ultimately are not motivated by shame from their peers. So, internal pages become useless fast. The worst part about it is that it becomes a total DE-motivator to everyone who does care as they watch people continually break things. Just my experience, and I would welcome being proven wrong here.

    Imagine this though, on the front page of a companies home page there is a little box on the right and it says:

    “Current build success ratio: %100”

    This does two things:

    First it proves that a company eats its own dogfood. Does it really practice what it preaches?

    Second it is great, great advertising. Does it make a difference in sales? Probably not. However, it says that they are the real deal.

    I would hate to know that *I* was the one who made the ratio on our public facing website drop down because I was too careless about the code.

    Suddenly the motivation to keep builds happy suddenly went up didn’t it? :)

  3. Hi Grant,

    My concern is to put ratio on website which we are developing for client. In development phase its okay it will tell us what is our build success percentage. But once that site is in production that number is of no use for end users. That might confuse them as well. So as long as we keep that number in development build its fine.

    In my opinion as well we should not put build success percentage on company’s website which is open for all public users most of people will not understand what it is. I was thinking if we add page on portal like confluence which is viewable only to company employess then it will be better.

    As per me putting all project build information on page should not de-motivate anyboby. In reverse people should be motivated to keep their build percentage high. If they are getting de-motivated then its not process but people problem and we should rectify that first :).

  4. Hi Sudarshan:

    I am only suggesting that for example if ThoughtWorks believes so much in CI then they should put a number of their web page, not any of their individual clients.

    As to putting it on the companies web page, you might think of it as advertising. If clients don’t “get it”, then how can they be sold agile in the first place?

    Re: de-motivators, replace ‘should’ with ‘ought to’.

  5. I believe in CI, not so much TDD, and I believe the build should never be broken, any build broken longer than 30 minutes is not acceptable.

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