Supporting Fast-Moving Business Requirements Using Approval Branching
I work in a team that is constantly faced with the challenge of getting features approved for release into production. This is largely because the business is very fast moving, and business priorities change often. As priorities change, the focus of the business shifts from feature to feature, so resources for testing and approving features can be scarce. Consequently, our trunk codeline contains approved and unapproved features. This becomes a problem during our releases, because unapproved features have to be removed from trunk, which as most developers would know, is a painful process that results in dozens of conflicts.
In this blog I will present a solution to minimise the problems surrounding unapproved features in the codeline at the time of a release. This solution involves having a separate branch that only contains features that have been completed and approved by the business. I will also contrast this approach with popular alternatives like Feature Branching and Feature Toggling.