Agile SCM - Review of 2008 and Predictions for 2009


providing feedback and contributions will help Qt remain a cutting edge, robust UI and application framework.

It seems that Nokia values the above over the license revenues they were getting from selling Qt commercially.

The distributed open source version control tools (DVCSs such as Git, Mercurial, Bazaar, Darcs etc) all continued to grow in 2008. The DVCS crew occasionally took swipes at the "antiquated" centralized model (e.g. Linus' infamous "Subversion users are brain dead" comment) and yet they are addressing different requirements.

Companies have different needs than open source projects, particularly around security, traceability and co-ordination that mean a DVCS is unlikely to be the right choice.

For us, the major importance of the rise of DVCSs is not that there are disagreements about how version control should be done, but instead that lots of developers are actively discussing their tools, thinking about them and learning about all the relevant issues.

We have long said that CM becomes much more the responsibility of everyone in (successful) Agile teams (although there will continue to be a role for CM specialists), and there is now a new generation of developers who are actively engaged in learning about and developing new tools and understanding in this arena.

This is good news for the whole industry!

From Sexy Builds to Staged Continuous Integration
We were right last year, and build processes continue to be seen as a key to agility. SCM and Release Engineering will become more development team focused.

Continuous Integration is evolving into Staged Continuous Integration which has become a lot more visible. Tools to automate & scale CI appear to have spent even more marketing $$$ (and webinars) in the past year, as well as adding CI-related features on existing tools (e.g., pre-flight builds for Electric Cloud).

Other Predictions from Last Year
Regarding Agile 2.0 and Post-Agile , we were on the right track, but perhaps not 100% on target. A major trend this year seems to have been Scaling Agile adoption into major companies and/or large projects (witness books by Leffingwell, focus of Rally Webinars, Larman's latest book, and forthcoming books on Scaling (and Leading) Agile by Mike Cohn, Alan Shalloway, and Mary Poppendieck, and a book on Lean Architecture (" Practical Agile Production ") by James Coplien.

Regarding the "Agile Backlash" we mentioned last year,as adoption and scaling increased, so has the resistance to and resentment of such changes. We are also hearing more about Agile failures, although most often failed adoption or poor/superficial adoption. James Shore's blog on "The Decline and Fall of Agile " generated much discussion. As suggested by others, this may simply be a sign of Agile methods being in the "Trough of Disillusionment"phaseof the Gartner Hype Cycle. There continue to be no silver bullets and yet Agile approaches have been and continue to be tremendously successful. Yet you shouldn't leap on the band wagon blindly - be aware of traps and pitfalls, and continue to apply common sense.

ITIL V3 continues to gain traction and management mind share and we expect that to continue. Some of the resistance to ITIL V3 over V2 has dissipated, and there is a greater understanding of the benefits of the cohesion and coverage of the new set of books. Service Transition (including release and deployment) success stories using ITIL are being reported at conferences and events.

CM for Cloud Computing
"Cloud Computing" really started to gain traction during last year, and the trend looks like it will be only increasing. A good article on Infoq " Will Cloud-based Multi-Enterprise Information Systems Replace Extranets? " sets the scene.

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,  and a former section editor for The C++ Report. You can read Brad's blog at

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 or visit and follow his blog at

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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