Gartner Research

A Guidance Framework for Continuous Integration: The Continuous Delivery 'Heartbeat'

Published: 19 January 2016

ID: G00293211

Analyst(s): Bill Holz

Summary

Continuous integration is the practice of integrating, building, testing and delivering functional software on a scheduled, repeatable and automated basis. This document provides guidance to create a CI pipeline required for software development teams to implement continuous delivery and DevOps.

Table Of Contents

Problem Statement

The Gartner Approach

The Guidance Framework

  • Prework
    • Determining Your Maturity Level
    • Understanding the Definition of a CI Pipeline
    • Using CI to Launch Your CD Implementation
    • Brainstorming Your Desired Outcomes and Artifacts
    • Conducting an Inventory of Your Existing Build Infrastructure
  • Step 1: Document and Benchmark Your Current Build Processes
    • Documenting Your Current Build, Test and Deployment Process
    • Benchmarking the Current Process
  • Step 2: Create an Automated, Repeatable Build Process
    • Designing an Optimized and Repeatable Process
    • Creating Builds Based on Configuration and Convention
    • Managing Traceability and Fidelity
  • Step 3: Align Development Processes and Practices
    • Adhering to the Golden Rule
    • Ensuring That Developers Write Unit Tests
    • Releasing to the Main Branch Frequently
  • Step 4: Create a CI Environment
    • Increasing Transparency With the CI Process
    • Keeping Builds Fast
    • Understanding Build Types
    • Designing in the Capability to Recover From Failure
  • Step 5: Add Analysis, Inspection and Advanced Test Processes
    • Including Static Code Analysis and Code Inspection Tools
    • Adding Automated Functional and System Test Capabilities
  • Step 6: Deploy to Test Environments
    • Provisioning and Configuring Test Environments
  • Follow-Up
    • Regularly Review Metrics Data to Identify Opportunities for Improvement
    • Continuously Monitor and Improve the Process
    • Regularly Review Infrastructure Requirements

Risks and Pitfalls

  • Brittle Scripts and Slow, Broken Builds
  • CI Makes Things Worse Before They Get Better
  • Team Members Who Work Around Governance
  • Stakeholders Who Lose Confidence in Test Automation
  • New Platforms That Don't Support Robust Automated Testing
  • Related Guidance

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