Gartner Research

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

Published: 14 February 2018

ID: G00327436

Analyst(s): Sean Kenefick , Bill Holz


Continuous integration, essential to DevOps and continuous delivery, is a way of integrating, building and testing that is crucial to delivering working software frequently. Technical professionals creating software applications can use this guidance to create CI pipelines for their applications.

Table Of Contents

Problem Statement

The Gartner Approach

The Guidance Framework

  • Prework
    • Determine Your Maturity Level
    • Understand the Definition of a CI Pipeline
    • Use CI to Launch Your CD Implementation
    • Brainstorm Your Desired Outcomes and Artifacts
    • Conduct an Inventory of Your Existing Build Infrastructure
  • Step 1: Document and Benchmark Your Current Build Processes
    • Document Your Current Build, Test and Deployment Process
    • Benchmark the Current Process
  • Step 2: Create an Automated, Repeatable Build Process
    • Design an Optimized and Repeatable Process
    • Create Builds Based on Configuration and Convention
    • Manage Traceability and Fidelity
  • Step 3: Align Development Processes and Practices
    • Adhere to the Golden Rule
    • Ensure That Developers Write Unit Tests
    • Integrate Database Changes
    • Commit Changes to the Main Branch Frequently
  • Step 4: Create a CI Environment
    • Increase Transparency With the CI Process
    • Keep Builds Fast
    • Understand Build Types
    • Designing in the Capability to Recover From Failure
  • Step 5: Add Analysis, Inspection and Advanced Test Processes
    • Include Static Code Analysis and Code Inspection Tools
    • Add Automated Functional and System Test Capabilities
    • Integrate Application Security Testing
    • Integrate Application Performance Testing
  • Step 6: Deploy to Test Environments
    • Provision and Configure 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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