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ADEPT: A Socio-Technical Theory of Continuous Integration

02/13/2021
by   Omar Elazhary, et al.
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Continuous practices that rely on automation in the software development workflow have been widely adopted by industry for over a decade. Despite this widespread use, software development remains a primarily human-driven activity that is highly creative and collaborative. There has been extensive research on how continuous practices rely on automation and its impact on software quality and development velocity, but relatively little has been done to understand how automation impacts developer behavior and collaboration. In this paper, we introduce a socio-technical theory about continuous practices. The ADEPT theory combines constructs that include humans, processes, documentation, automation and the project environment, and describes propositions that relate these constructs. The theory was derived from phenomena observed in previous empirical studies. We show how the ADEPT theory can explain and describe existing continuous practices in software development, and how it can be used to generate new propositions for future studies to understand continuous practices and their impact on the social and technical aspects of software development.

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