Agile SCM January 2007 - Looking Back to Move Forward

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Summary:
The previous two January Agile SCM columns made some short-term (and a few longer-term) predictions about the impact of current trends on the practice of Agile development as it pertains to SCM. This January we revisit those predictions to see where we were right, where we were wrong, and recalibrate our ideas of what's in store for Agile SCM in 2007-2008.

The previous two January Agile SCM columns made some short-term (and a few longer-term) predictions about the impact of current trends on the practice of Agile development as it pertains to SCM. This January we revisit those predictions to see where we were right, where we were wrong, and recalibrate our ideas of what's in store for Agile SCM in 2007-2008.

Trends from 2006 SCM Predictions

There was a great deal of synergy between many (if not most) of the predictions of the various contributors to the January 2006 CM Journal. Brad summarized those as follows in an April 2006 ACME blog-entry :

Globally Distributed development is the new "normal"
Globalization is kicking into high gear in the "flattened world" (see Thomas Friedman's The World is Flat and Barry Lynn's End of the Line : The Rise and Coming Fall of the Global Corporation ). The trend of globally distributed development is increasing at a rapid rate and will be a more important focus (and more frequent "buzzword", along with "collaboration").

[Note: One of the authors has been working with a large financial institution looking to replace/augment their existing (very significant) investment in SCM tooling because it doesn’t work well enough for their developers in the US/UK/India. The proof of the pudding is always in the eating -- ensure that any tool you implement solves your requirements. In this instance, multi-national teams working on the same code meant that the replication solution just wasn’t fast enough. They found that working on the same repository (with one side accessing it remotely -- performance was sufficient), is a better solution.]
 

ALM is the "new" SCM!
Application Lifecycle Management (or ALM) is becoming the new/trendy term for the full-spectrum of Software CM. Vendors have spent the last 6 years or so buying-up individual tools to provide "full-lifecycle" suites to enhance an IDE: modeling tools (that do their own versioning), requirements tools, version control, test management, change-request tracking, and others are all being offered as singly-packaged suites of integrated tools. And the vendors are using the term "ALM" for the result.

 

TeamSystem, and Eclipse ALF & Corona are the new "Vision"
Microsoft's new Visual Studio Team System (and Team Server) will make a huge splash! Look's like the splash already started, with TeamSystem winning a "Jolt" award (though not in the SCM category). The fact that it's Microsoft and integrated with VisualStudio is enough, by itself, to warrant other vendors "taking notice." With a single integrated tool-set running off the same server and integrated with the IDE, you can do all sorts of amazing things with automated logging and traceability (especially if it's web-services enabled, or the .NET equivalent).

In order to compete, other vendors are aligning with the Eclipse ALF project, which just recently had its "proof of concept demo." ALF is the Application Lifecycle Framework , an under-development set of web-service and interoperability standards for vendor-independent integration of tools in the ALM space (version control, change/defect tracking, requirements mgmt, test management, project tracking, build/release mgmt, and even IDEs and modeling tools). And at EclipseCon 2006 the Eclipse Corona project was announced as a recent "spinoff" of ALF. According to a March 20 InfoWorld article :

      ALF addresses the issue of integration and communication between developer tools across the lifecycle; Corona enables Eclipse-based tools to integrate with ALF, according to Eclipse. Also known as the Tools Services Framework, Corona provides frameworks for collaboration among Eclipse clients."

Other related Eclipse projects are BIRT (business-intelligence & reporting tools), the Data Tools Platform , the Test & Performance Tools Platform and the SOA Tools

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About the author

Steve Berczuk's picture Steve Berczuk

Steve Berczuk is a Principal Engineer and Scrum Master at Fitbit. The author of Software Configuration Management Patterns: Effective Teamwork, Practical Integration, he is a recognized expert in software configuration management and agile software development. Steve is passionate about helping teams work effectively to produce quality software. He has an M.S. in operations research from Stanford University and an S.B. in Electrical Engineering from MIT, and is a certified, practicing ScrumMaster. Contact Steve at steve@berczuk.com or visit berczuk.com and follow his blog at blog.berczuk.com.

About the author

Brad Appleton's picture Brad Appleton

Brad Appleton is a software CM/ALM solution architect and lean/agile development champion at a large telecommunications company. Currently he helps projects and teams adopt and apply lean/agile development and CM/ALM practices and tools. He is coauthor of the book Software Configuration Management Patterns, a columnist for the CMCrossroads and AgileConnection communities at Techwell.com,  and a former section editor for The C++ Report. You can read Brad's blog at blog.bradapp.net.

About the author

Robert Cowham's picture Robert Cowham

Robert Cowham has long been interested in software configuration management while retaining the attitude of a generalist with experience and skills in many aspects of software development. A regular presenter at conferences, he authored the Agile SCM column within the CM Journal together with Brad Appleton and Steve Berczuk. His day job is as Services Director for Square Mile Systems whose main focus is on skills and techniques for infrastructure configuration management and DCIM (Data Center Infrastructure Management) - applying configuration management principles to hardware documentation and implementation as well as mapping ITIL services to the underlying layers.

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