Releasing Fast and Slow: An Exploratory Case Study at ING

by Kula, Elvan and Rastogi, Ayushi and Huijgens, Hennie and van Deursen, Arie and Gousios, Georgios

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The appeal of delivering new features faster has led many software projects to adopt rapid releases. However, it is not well understood what the effects of this practice are. This paper presents an exploratory case study of rapid releases at ING, a large banking company that develops software solutions in-house, to characterize rapid releases. Since 2011, ING has shifted to a rapid release model. This switch has resulted in a mixed environment of 611 teams releasing relatively fast and slow. We followed a mixed-methods approach in which we conducted a survey with 461 participants and corroborated their perceptions with 2 years of code quality data and 1 year of release delay data. Our research shows that: rapid releases are more commonly delayed than their non-rapid counterparts, however, rapid releases have shorter delays; rapid releases can be beneficial in terms of reviewing and user-perceived quality; rapidly released software tends to have a higher code churn, a higher test coverage and a lower average complexity; challenges in rapid releases are related to managing dependencies and certain code aspects, e.g. design debt.

Bibtex record

  title = {Releasing Fast and Slow: An Exploratory Case Study at ING},
  author = {Kula, Elvan and Rastogi, Ayushi and Huijgens, Hennie and {van Deursen}, Arie and Gousios, Georgios},
  year = {2019},
  booktitle = {Proceedings of the 27th ACM Joint European Software Engineering Conference and Symposium on the Foundations of Software Engineering},
  publisher = {ACM DL},
  doi = {10.1145/3338906.3338978},
  url = {/pub/releasing-fast-and-slow.pdf}

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