Friday, January 09, 2009

When weekly iterations go bad

Having tried several different iteration lengths over the years, I now tend to recommend iterating weekly. It provides maximum flexibility and adaptability while being extremely intolerant of waste - problems are quickly surfaced with such a tight feedback loop.

But it does not always work as I found out over Christmas.

Our live system broke. Something ate some important files so the app collapsed. This was quickly traced to the Jetty servlet container deploying to the /tmp directory by default. Not a problem in itself, but there was a default cron script that helpfully tidies up /tmp by deleting anything that has not been touched for 10 days.... Of course, the Team was in Christmas shutdown for two weeks, and sure enough 10 days after our last live deploy...<BOOM!>

We missed this because we were using weekly iterations. We were deploying to the various dev, QA, demo and live systems every week so the deployed files were never older than 7 days.

So beware...weekly iterations can bite back!

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