the Change Request, it is treated as a Requirement. The originator will want to know when the request will be/has been
implemented and when it will be delivered. The originator is responsible for closing the request - i.e. indicating that the implementation meets the criteria of the request.
Builds as the Key Reference Points
So, where does the Build come into play? It must be possible to take any build and identify which requests of a particular originator (or group of originators) have been met by that build. On the flip side, that leaves the set that is outstanding. If your CM traceability cannot give you this information, you need to improve your data and processes. Ideally, this information should be available at the click of a button (or at least a simple report request panel).
When this loop is closed, your builds are more than just a set of executables. They become the key reference points for communicating with your customers:
- What release is the customer running?
- What requests are still outstanding for that customer?
- What requests are addressed by the next release that weren't previously addressed?
- What problems have been fixed in the new release that were not fixed in the customer's current release?
The above questions are answered by looking at Release Builds. But builds are equally important for your internal customers, especially your development and verification teams. And you can start to identify a whole range of questions that can be answered using Integration Builds as the handles of the queries.
- What features/problems should be tested that weren't available in the previous verification cycle?
- What changes went into the nightly build?
- What structural changes (ie. new/moved/removed files/directories) have occured since my last "rebase" operation
- What run-time data configuration files need to be retrieved to update my test bed.
The Build is a key component of your CM data. It's the one that makes it easy to work with all of the traceability data you've accumulated, as long as your CM tool supports these sort of questions and comparisons through simple menu functions. Pay attention to your Change Management process and your CM data and Build automation will follow.