Irrelevant Build


  • The team doesn't seem to care that one of the builds is failing
  • A build is red, but might not be failing. Only one person from a different team or role can tell whether it actually failed or not.


One possible cause of is might be that the failing build is not essentially relevant to the current team, or the build result is not understandable (see "binary result" in that case).


Remove the failing build from the visualization screen visible to all the team. By keeping the build there the team will eventually stop caring about "seeing red" on the screen. The red color has to mean something.


In one of the projects I was involved with, there was a big screen up on the wall that showed the status of all the builds. Some of the builds were green, but there were a couple of the builds that related to QA regressions and UI testing that were practically always red. Because there was a lack of good communication between the QA and dev teams, none of the developers really understood what is wrong with that build, or even cared.

What's more, the QA lead would later tell me that a red build in QA does not necessarily mean a failed build. Since UI tests were very fragile, a statistical analysis of sorts was used, so that if X builds of a certain number passed, it was considered a success.

The problem was that the developers were too used to seeing red, and when they saw red they were very used to thinking "not my problem". The first thing I did was remove the always failing builds from the dev wall, so that all the visualized builds would be relevant to the people watching them. Suddenly there was a green hue in the room as all the builds were passing.

Developers would go by and ask me in amusement, "What is that weird color?" and "what's wrong with the build? it's green!" Then, when the builds failed due to dev issues, developers had more reasons to care.

I would only show the QA builds again if they were more stable or if there was better cross team communication so that devs could help QA fix the builds. As long as there was nothing they could do about it, they should only see red when it pertains to work they can control.