Agile SCM - Review of 2008 and Predictions for 2009

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no "debt" is carried forward by using stringent quality gates.

Borland's OpenALM
At the same exhibition one of us went to that IBM was announcing Team Concert, Borland had a presentation on their Open ALM strategy. The principles looked good and worthwhile, but we do have some doubts as to Borland's ability to involve other vendors.  Indeed recent news on a change of CEO and a 15% reduction in work force gives them plenty of challenges.

Credit Crunches and Global Convergence
Of course Borland is not alone - all organizations are being affected to a greater or lesser degree by the credit crunch and its associated fallout. And in the new global economy we are all connected - inspite of what a few national chancellors may have tried to claim in the early days of the crunch!

We didn't make any specific predictions for global convergence last time (so we can claim to be "on target"!), but tough economic times mean that all companies are looking at cost cutting measures, including the economics of where to develop their software around the world. This, in itself, will increase the need for global collaboration.

With the declining economy, there will be more pressure to cut costs, justify the need/existence for CM (and other processes/functions perceived as "heavyweight"), and "increase productivity" from those who haven't lost their jobs (ye olde "do more with less"). And, of course, some more increase in "world flattening" as outsourcing, off-shoring etc are pursued as cost cutting strategies.

Part of the "justify our existence" for CM and QA departments will be to survive the budget-cutting axe. While there still seems to be a movement toward centralized IT environment (tools and administration) to cut costs, there also seems to be a movement (in response to bad economic times) to cut departments and functions that aren't perceived as directly adding value to production/development. Some of this will be sheer "slashing", and some of it will be more centralized process & QA functions going back under the organizational umbrella (and financial budget) of a specific product-group in the business.

And yet, we shouldn't be all "doom and gloom". Anecdotally, some CM consultants have been quite busy over the last few months as their clients have realized that they need to get the best value out of their existing investments. Indeed, improving their development processes and reducing the costs associated with poor configuration management, has a very good ROI. As long as you are in business, you need good CM and will suffer without it!

Open-Source
Carrying on from last year, if CIO.com is any indication, it is growing in popularity as an enterprise-level strategy (and EA strategy) to reduce IT costs and standardize dev environments.

Subversion 1.5 did finally make it out the door in 2008, and continues to be a major success. One of their reported resolutions is to avoid such a long delay between releases next time!

One interesting move is those companies who have been funding open source development because they wish to benefit from certain results or features - an example being those companies who contributed to Subversion's merge tracking implementation which was a key part of 1.5. We expect to see this trend continue - add value around a standardized open source system.

A recent example of this is Nokia's decision to make Qt available under the LGPL license. As the blog says:

Adding LGPL version 2.1 will greatly increase adoption of Qt across Windows, Linux, embedded Linux, Mac, S60, Windows CE, maemo, and Ovi web services. Having a larger number of users, including Nokia developers,

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

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

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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