Breaking the Build: Agile, Continuous Integration, and the Light

This guest post from Kate Carruthers is a companion to the    dev-oriented post about building the Bamboo plugin   , which was published last week. Kate has worked in software development and web since the dark ages. In more recent times she’s been a scrum coach and agile project manager. She recently saw the    Light    and though it would be fun to join the Moore’s Cloud team.

Originally published on the official Atlassian Bamboo blog and republished with permission :    

In a past life I used to manage globally dispersed web development teams. When we used to run waterfall style projects then ‘breaking the build’ didn’t really matter because there was always the integration testing phase to track down and fix all of those bugs.

But now we live in a different world for software development. It’s an agile world and the integration testingis continuous. We develop software for realtime deployment and fast shipping.

In an agile world this means that ‘breaking the build’ is something important. It means that if a colleague checks out and works on your broken changes then their code will not work either. It means that your team does not have a functioning system. It means that the entire team loses productivity while the issue is fixed.

In an ideal world everyone tests their changes before a commit and the problem never happens. But builds break and letting the team know about it is a challenge. The traditional approach is to have big screens that show the build status and to replicate them in all locations.

The problem with these status screens is that they just become part of the wallpaper and people don’t really see them. Also these screens require the developers to context switch away from coding to look at the status screens, which takes them out of the zone.

When the Moore’s Cloud team was discussing this issue we turned to our friends over at Atlassian. They have a continuous build and integration product called Bamboo and we thought that Light by Moore’s Cloud might provide a useful addition to the traditional status screen.

We partnered up with Sean Curtis and the Bamboo team in Atlassian to build a demo to show how Light can easily connect up with Bamboo to show dispersed teams how the build is going.

The Light changes colour depending upon the build status. And, because Lights in different locations can talk to each other, teams all around the world can quickly see the build status without getting out of flow with an intrusive alarm.

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