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When and How Should a Project Implement CI?

It is best to implement CI early in the project. Although possible, it is more difficult to implement CI late in a project, as people will be under pressure and more likely to resist change. If you do implement CI later in a project, it is especially important to start small and add more as time permits.

There are different approaches to setting up the CI system. Though you eventually want a build to run on every change to the system, you can start by running a build on a daily basis to get the practice going in your organization. Remember: CI is not just a technical implementation; it is also an organizational and cultural implementation. People often resist change, and the best approach for an organization may be to add these automated mechanisms to the process piece by piece.

At first the build can just compile the source code and package the binaries without executing the automated regression tests. This can be effective, initially, if the developers are unfamiliar with an automated testing tool. Once this is in place and developers have learned the testing tool, you can move closer to the benefits of CI: running these tests (and inspections) with every change.

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