Daily stabilization branches for releases - my experience

My experience with stabilization branches:

  • Despite good intensions they do not work
  • Everything is more complicated
  • Local Optimization prevents system thinking


Im my post i share some of my observations what occurred when the developers decided to introduce a stabilization branches.



In the context I am talking about, there was

  • Scrum with multiple teams working on a trunk and temporary one additional release branch
  • a build/deployment pipeline, where only good builds were picked / moved to the next stage in the pipeline.
  • User Story acceptance could only be done on a stage, where the prerequisite / the criteria for a "good build" to be deployed on this stage was a green regression
  • The regression test ran 1-3 times a day on the trunk and the release branch and was often red in the morning.


The concept was tried and ... failed:

  • Only 1/10 of the red regressions were green after fixing the tests on the stabilization branch (!)
  • Several stabilization branches were thrown away due to the better test result in the release branch they were branched from!

The concept increased merge efforts:

  • Downward merge rule: Stabilization Branch -> Branch -> Trunk

The concept led to huge confusion where to fix what and when to check in

  • more confusion, less testing, more checkins during agreed check in stops (stop-the-line rule self by the teams)
  • this lead to more red regressions and more broken builds.


The concept also violates the idea of continuous integration and is a real example of local optimization, which (even with good intensions) lead to bad results.


An article about Continuous Integration from Martin Fowler from 2006 can be found here

Kommentar schreiben

Kommentare: 3
  • #1

    Adela Wynter (Mittwoch, 01 Februar 2017 09:44)

    Stunning story there. What happened after? Good luck!

  • #2

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Nils Bernert, Agile Coach & LeanStartup enthusiast, valtech.de
Nils Bernert, Agile Coach & LeanStartup enthusiast, valtech.de

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