Build Issues

We are delivering the first drop of next year’s new functionality to internal test next week. So a configuration management guy was testing out our build scripts. Nothing seemed to be working. At first he did not have his database connection set up correctly (the build requires a connection to the database). Then there were some problems with the setup of Visual Studio directories. Next there were some bugs with the Visual Studio projects created by development. Finally the configuration management guy declared success.

So I finished up my work. The CM guy asked the whole team to verify his builds. I ran the install he produced for one of the applications I worked on. Nothing happened. Apparently the build did not work after all. He just ran the build script, looked in the log file for errors, and decided it must have been successful. Nice try guy. It is really not this dude’s fault. The development team writes the build scripts. Where were the build script people? They had either left for the day, or not even come in. That was a bit disturbing.

Me and another developer that have been around a while wondered how they would do the actual builds to send to test. I inquired with the team lead and software development manager. They said another CM guy would build off our development branch. I had thought the process was for CM to build to work off the CM branch in source control. Apparently the CM guy thought this was the case as well. I recommended we not try to do that next week. There were enough problems with just getting the build working off the development branch.

Once we got an application or two to build, me and the senior developer tried to smoke test the applications. There were a lot of problems found. We both are starting to fix these problems. I told the software manager that things seemed sketchy overall here. He told me I could go work with the CM guy when they do the actual builds next week. I guess my rewards for worrying about how things would work is that I get to go make sure things work. What a crock.

I am getting the feeling that we are going to be in for a tough transition to test. Where is the quality in this system? Is the fix to implement some better processes? Or do we need to get some people in charge who have a clue.