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The Practice and Future of Release Engineering: A Roundtable with Three Release Engineers

This introduction to a special issue on release engineering overviews the challenges that release engineers face, featuring highlights from interviews with three practitioners.



This article was published by IEEE Software in the March/April issue of 2015.

Release engineering focuses on building a pipeline that transforms source code into an integrated, compiled, packaged, tested, and signed product that’s ready for release. The pipeline’s input is the source code developers write to create a product or modify an existing one. Enterprises running large-scale websites and delivering mobile applications with millions of users must rely on a robust release pipeline to ensure they can deliver and update their products to new and existing customers, at the required release cadence.

This special issue provides an overview of research and practitioner experience. This article aims to give you insight into the state of the practice and the challenges release engineers face. It features highlights from interviews with Boris Debic, a privacy engineer (and former release engineer); Chuck Rossi, a release-engineering manager; and Kim Moir, a release engineer. We asked each of them the same questions covering topics such as release-engineering metrics, continuous delivery’s benefits and limitations, the required job skills, the required changes in education, and recommendations for future research.