Paul Julius and I have put together a training class for neglected population: build engineers. We don’t mean release management people exactly, though sometimes they have the build engineer job. No, we mean those people who are told “go write the build script”.
Historically the build, like an installer, is a very low status job. So historically it goes to low status people, like the most junior developer on the team, or perhaps even a QA person. The result is that many build scripts, like many installers, more or less suck. I think this is more a reflection on the low status of the task than the skills of the person; there is just very little incentive for fixing a bad build. But that’s mostly because so few people have worked in environment with an excellent build they don’t know how much their missing.
We think that in the move to agile development your build can be a major blocker, or and that there are major productivity gains at stake, so it makes sense to approach your build engineering efforts as a serious task. We think this is a big enough problem with a big enough potential gain that we’ve organized a public Build Engineer Bootcamp for April 22nd-23rd in Minneapolis. Come and learn how to get your build system on a solid footing and then stay for CITCON (free, but separate registration) and learn about how to take your continuous integration and testing efforts to the limit.
Hope to see you there!