[p4] Which dept for build/release engineers?

jab jab at pobox.com
Tue Jun 15 10:23:57 PDT 2004

On Jun 15, 2004, at 9:16 AM, Ivey, William wrote:
> Anyway, in my role of build/release something or other I
> spend more time working with development than QA. Probably
> a 9:1 ratio. Most of this is coaxing developers into
> sensible build structures and red-flagging conflicts
> between interdependant products, fixing makefiles and
> scripts, etc. For QA, I mostly tell them when its ready,
> pass along the fixes that were built, and answer a few
> questions about structural changes. -Wm

	This is consistent with my experience, in terms of the ratios.

	If you're in a company that's got at least one development
	manager and one QA manager, then the best situation is where
	the Release Engineer role is a very experienced engineer
	who reports to the same second-level manager that the QA and
	Development managers report to.

	The strategy that I like is where you have an independent
	build/release function. It reports to the same folk that QA and
	Development do, but spends a lot of time refining the automated
	build mechanisms. This provides overnight builds (for development)
	and lets you run through as much of the staging/regression
	process as possible - because there is a dry run of the handoff that
	can be attempted after EVERY overnight build. (Why not use that time
	to shake down the scripts and initial regression tests, so that the 
	handoff(s) to QA reflect the refinement. They'll thank you, 

	It's also a fun position, once the initial gophers are out of the lawn.

	The level of experience for at least one of the build/release
	engineers is "take the job requirements for your development project
	lead(s) and duplicate it".  If you have a build/release engineer with
	that much Development experience, you will get the scripts you need,
	the respect from Development that's necessary, the experience to know
	how important QA time is and how to respect it, and sufficient 
	and code-debugging ability to get some real work done.

	-Jeff Bowles

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