[p4] Which dept for build/release engineers?
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.
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