Published here April 2004.

Introduction | Frequency of Build | Implementing Weekly Build
Broken Builds | Get the Customer to Review the Product Early
Conclusion | Footnote: Whence the Term "Smoke Test"?

Mohan Srinivasan
Mohan Srinivasan is responsible for the Information Technology requirements of Personal Financial Services of ANZ, Melbourne. He holds a Masters Degree in Industrial Engineering from the National Productivity Council, New Delhi, and is an ISO 9000 certified Lead Assessor. He has around 15 years of experience in the software industry and has been managing projects in the areas of Mainframe, Client server, Web Technologies and CMM audits for clients in US, UK and Asia.


Most software development projects either suffer schedule overrun, or effort overrun or both, which results in customer dissatisfaction. It is a widespread problem faced by most project managers of these projects. What typically happens is that issues crop up during integration and testing with consequent delays in software delivery.

In our case, our team received a major project of 100 person months effort to be delivered in nine months. Our goal was not only to meet the client's expectations, but to exceed it. So, we started looking at various ways and means to meet this challenge. This included looking at existing tools and techniques and also at best practices prevalent across the globe.

The team decided that it would not be possible to achieve this unless they did something radical. We decided that one of the techniques the team would adopt was a "Weekly Build and Smoke Test". Implementing such a process for the first time is by no means easy. It requires a lot of discipline and involves changes in the way people work.


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