An Empirical Study of the Personnel Overhead of Continuous Integration

Authors - Marco Manglaviti, Eduardo Coronado-Montoya, Keheliya Gallaba, Shane McIntosh
Venue - International Conference on Mining Software Repositories, Mining challenge, pp. To appear, 2017

Related Tags - MSR 2017 integration

Abstract - Continuous Integration (CI) is a software development practice where changes to the codebase are compiled and automatically checked for software quality issues. Like any software artifact (e.g., production code, build specifications), CI systems require an investment of development resources in order to keep them running smoothly.

In this paper, we examine the human resources that are associated with developing and maintaining CI systems. Through the analysis of 1,279 GitHub repositories that adopt Travis CI (a popular CI service provider), we observe that: (i) There are 0 to 6 unique contributors to CI-related development in any 30-day period, regardless of project size; and (ii) the total number of CI developers has an upper bound of 10 for almost all projects regardless of overall team size. These results indicate that service-based CI systems only require a small proportion of the development team to contribute. These costs are almost certainly outweighed by the reported benefits (e.g., team communication and time-to-market for new content).

Preprint - PDF


  Author = {Marco Manglaviti and Eduardo Coronado-Montoya and Keheliya Gallaba and Shane McIntosh},
  Title = {{An Empirical Study of the Personnel Overhead of Continuous Integration}},
  Year = {2017},
  Booktitle = {Proc. of the International Conference on Mining Software Repositories (MSR)},
  Pages = {To appear}