Thursday, December 21, 2006

Release procedures

While lurking on the Maven dev mailing I came across a proposal for a release procedure. Given that the proposal is 3 pages long, in the ensuing discussion, the developers most heavily involved in the project, what one might call as the "doers", seemed to reserve a lukewarm welcome to the proposal.

There is a growing need to increase productivity of development teams, an industrialization of sorts. However, this need has to be balanced with the imperatives of creativity. Procedures affecting the day to day lives of developers need to be pragmatic and low cost. The time at the disposal of a productive developer is a scarce and expensive resource. As such, I am surprised to see Apache, an open-source icon, indulge in heavy-handed procedures. Again, it's only a proposal, and hopefully it won't be accepted in its current form.

"Release early, release often" has been one of the core mantras of open-source development. The ability to release frequently brings a level of reactivity highly appreciated by OS users. A multitude of procedures which inexorably hamper reactivity, need to be weighed against the purported benefits.

Of course, not every procedure is bad. Development teams need to be coordinated, with each developer assigned clearly defined tasks. Scrum attempts to deal with this problem. Scrum from the trenches gives an easy to read description of the approach advocated by Scrum aficionados.

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