AbstractThe use of version control has become ubiquitous in software development projects. Version control systems facilitate parallel development and maintenance through branching, the creation of isolated codelines. Merging is a consequence of branching and is the process of integrating codelines. However, there are unanswered questions about the use of version control to support parallel development; in particular, how are branching and merging used in practice? What defines a successful branching and merging strategy? As a first step towards answering these questions, we recruited a diverse sample of 140 version control users to participate in an online survey. In this paper, we present the survey results and 4 key observations about branching and merging practices in software development projects.