Comparison of release engineering practices in a large mature company and a startup

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Comparison of release engineering practices in a large mature company and a startup. / Laukkanen, Eero; Paasivaara, Maria; Itkonen, Juha; Lassenius, Casper.

In: Empirical Software Engineering, Vol. 23, No. 6, 12.2018, p. 3535-3577.

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@article{bb8349c018bd4eebbbfac1571655b8ff,
title = "Comparison of release engineering practices in a large mature company and a startup",
abstract = "Modern release engineering practices provide multiple benefits for software companies, but organizations have struggled when trying to adopt the most advanced practices, such as continuous delivery. It is not known in which contexts the most advanced practices are applicable and what can be achieved by adopting them. In this study, we discuss the effect of the organizational context on adopted release engineering practices and what outcomes are achieved with the practices. We study two organizational contexts: the startup and the large mature company context. The effect of the product context is mitigated by studying two case organizations with similar products, a rare research opportunity. We performed 18 interviews with various roles in the case organizations. The number of production environments, the number of customers, the control over the production environment, the available resources, the organization size and the distribution of the organization affected the release engineering practices and the ability to release frequently. Having less internal verification and more customer verification enabled fast feedback and customer experimentation in the startup context, but increased the number of production defects. However, having more internal verification in the large mature company context surprisingly did not prevent production defects. The organizational context had a large effect on how achievable modern release engineering practices, such as continuous delivery, were. In the startup context, the lack of resources was the main factor hindering the improvement of release engineering practices, while in the large mature company context, the number of stakeholders and products were the main factors.",
keywords = "Case study, Continuous delivery, Continuous integration, Release engineering, Startup",
author = "Eero Laukkanen and Maria Paasivaara and Juha Itkonen and Casper Lassenius",
year = "2018",
month = "12",
doi = "10.1007/s10664-018-9616-7",
language = "English",
volume = "23",
pages = "3535--3577",
journal = "Empirical Software Engineering",
issn = "1382-3256",
publisher = "Springer Netherlands",
number = "6",

}

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TY - JOUR

T1 - Comparison of release engineering practices in a large mature company and a startup

AU - Laukkanen, Eero

AU - Paasivaara, Maria

AU - Itkonen, Juha

AU - Lassenius, Casper

PY - 2018/12

Y1 - 2018/12

N2 - Modern release engineering practices provide multiple benefits for software companies, but organizations have struggled when trying to adopt the most advanced practices, such as continuous delivery. It is not known in which contexts the most advanced practices are applicable and what can be achieved by adopting them. In this study, we discuss the effect of the organizational context on adopted release engineering practices and what outcomes are achieved with the practices. We study two organizational contexts: the startup and the large mature company context. The effect of the product context is mitigated by studying two case organizations with similar products, a rare research opportunity. We performed 18 interviews with various roles in the case organizations. The number of production environments, the number of customers, the control over the production environment, the available resources, the organization size and the distribution of the organization affected the release engineering practices and the ability to release frequently. Having less internal verification and more customer verification enabled fast feedback and customer experimentation in the startup context, but increased the number of production defects. However, having more internal verification in the large mature company context surprisingly did not prevent production defects. The organizational context had a large effect on how achievable modern release engineering practices, such as continuous delivery, were. In the startup context, the lack of resources was the main factor hindering the improvement of release engineering practices, while in the large mature company context, the number of stakeholders and products were the main factors.

AB - Modern release engineering practices provide multiple benefits for software companies, but organizations have struggled when trying to adopt the most advanced practices, such as continuous delivery. It is not known in which contexts the most advanced practices are applicable and what can be achieved by adopting them. In this study, we discuss the effect of the organizational context on adopted release engineering practices and what outcomes are achieved with the practices. We study two organizational contexts: the startup and the large mature company context. The effect of the product context is mitigated by studying two case organizations with similar products, a rare research opportunity. We performed 18 interviews with various roles in the case organizations. The number of production environments, the number of customers, the control over the production environment, the available resources, the organization size and the distribution of the organization affected the release engineering practices and the ability to release frequently. Having less internal verification and more customer verification enabled fast feedback and customer experimentation in the startup context, but increased the number of production defects. However, having more internal verification in the large mature company context surprisingly did not prevent production defects. The organizational context had a large effect on how achievable modern release engineering practices, such as continuous delivery, were. In the startup context, the lack of resources was the main factor hindering the improvement of release engineering practices, while in the large mature company context, the number of stakeholders and products were the main factors.

KW - Case study

KW - Continuous delivery

KW - Continuous integration

KW - Release engineering

KW - Startup

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=85044460784&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1007/s10664-018-9616-7

DO - 10.1007/s10664-018-9616-7

M3 - Article

VL - 23

SP - 3535

EP - 3577

JO - Empirical Software Engineering

JF - Empirical Software Engineering

SN - 1382-3256

IS - 6

ER -

ID: 18791051