Gartner Research

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

Published: 19 January 2016

ID: G00293211

Analyst(s): Bill Holz


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

Gartner Recommended Reading

©2021 Gartner, Inc. and/or its affiliates. All rights reserved. Gartner is a registered trademark of Gartner, Inc. and its affiliates. This publication may not be reproduced or distributed in any form without Gartner’s prior written permission. It consists of the opinions of Gartner’s research organization, which should not be construed as statements of fact. While the information contained in this publication has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable, Gartner disclaims all warranties as to the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of such information. Although Gartner research may address legal and financial issues, Gartner does not provide legal or investment advice and its research should not be construed or used as such. Your access and use of this publication are governed by Gartner’s Usage Policy. Gartner prides itself on its reputation for independence and objectivity. Its research is produced independently by its research organization without input or influence from any third party. For further information, see Guiding Principles on Independence and Objectivity.

Already have a Gartner Account?

Become a client

Learn how to access this content as a Gartner client.