3 Pitfalls in iOS CI Pipeline Design and How to Avoid Them

By Jeff Vincent|

February 10, 2021

At MacStadium, we work to maintain open lines of communication with the teams we serve to ensure that we are providing the best possible Mac cloud experience. An additional benefit of this communication comes with the opportunity to share snapshots of the lessons we glean from these conversations with the larger MacStadium community.

One such conversation that we engage in regularly, and that we are thrilled to have, centers around macOS and iOS CI pipeline design. And while we love to celebrate our users' success, we also take every opportunity to learn from our customers' pain points so that we can share those lessons with other teams that are facing similar challenges.

In particular, we have identified the following three pitfalls, along with the steps you might take to avoid them. As you will see, the bottom line is the need for a thorough discovery process before you begin work. This includes discovery related to your required pipeline development timeline, your team’s readiness to execute a given pipeline architecture, and the scalability of your pipeline.

Pitfall 1: Underestimating Timeline to Completion

Accurately estimating your time to complete a new CI pipeline is essential to maintaining cohesion across your organization's teams. Arriving at an accurate estimate will require a close look at your team’s skill levels and resources related to automation, the frequency with which builds will need to execute, and more.

Pitfall 2: Overbuilding the First Iteration

Defining the scope of a first pipeline iteration to align with larger organizational goals and timelines will be key to getting off on the right foot. Often this means starting with a static system to layer in automation in time or perhaps moving to a fully automated, ephemeral system.  

Pitfall 3: Not Planning for Long-term Scaleability

How will your pipeline handle the growth of your team? If you begin with a static CI pipeline, how do you plan to layer in automation in the future? What kind of organizational growth do you anticipate? How many builds per day do you anticipate now and a year from now? All of these questions can be answered with a reasonable degree of confidence after a thorough discovery period.

Avoiding the Pitfalls

Discovery is essential to success. Being thorough in your initial discovery phase has the potential to alleviate all of the above pain points. By accurately assessing your team-readiness for a given tier of complexity in CI pipeline design, you’ll be able to identify probable bottlenecks. Moreover, by identifying near, mid and long-term goals for your CI processes, you’ll be better able to chart out a series of iterations that support them.

Getting Started with Discovery

If your team is considering starting macOS or iOS CI, or if you are feeling growing pains with your current system, and you’d like some guidance, check out our eBook: Static, Ephemeral & Hybrid: CI Pipeline for iOS and macOS. Inside the book is a handy list of guiding questions to help you determine what's best for your team, as well as a thorough overview of static, hybrid, and ephemeral CI pipeline design.

Ready to discuss what’s best for your team? Talk to a MacStadium sales engineer today! As the Mac experts, we’re here to help you customize the best solution for your use case.

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