Applying Configuration Management to Agile Teams

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In many cases, CM finds itself in an organization that has a traditional methodology that consists of waterfall or sometimes a hybrid that has some parallel phases. Less frequently, but more often than in the past, CM finds itself in an organization that is agile (or part agile and part traditional). In all cases, as agile gets introduced, the implementation of CM should be adjusted to fit the need of agile development methodology. So, the question is, what are some of the adjustments to CM to ensure that it fits the need of agile development while still maintaining the principles of CM? Some areas to consider are the following:

Think Smaller
One of the key focuses in agile is to think in smaller iterations and increments of work. CM must support the ability to manage smaller increments of work and the increase in the rate of change. CM for agile is not minimal CM, but CM that can handle rapid identification and control in order to maintain the high pace of change while at the same time minimizes the effort in managing the change.

While this is really more of a product management or release management function, CM needs to be ready to accommodate the smaller chunks of work and higher rate of change. Typically this means that there are more incremental deliveries (both internal and external) with the implication of a greater need for automation, adjustments in branching and a stronger need for automated merging (more on this shortly).

Build Continuously
In a traditional development methodology with longer release cycles, building the code does not typically start until the development phase and the build frequently may be weekly with some teams reducing this to several times a week or even nightly. In an agile methodology, builds should be continuous meaning as frequently as daily or nightly and more typically after every check-in (or promotion) into the integration stream.

About the author

Mario  Moreira's picture Mario Moreira

Mario Moreira is a Columnist for the CM Journal, a writer for the Agile Journal, an Author, an Agile and CM expert for CA, and has worked in the CM field since 1986 and in the Agile field since 1998. He has experience with numerous CM technologies and processes and has implemented CM on over 150 applications/products, which include establishing global SCM infrastructures. He is a certified ScrumMaster in the Agile arena having implemented Scrum and XP practices. He holds an MA in Mass Communication with an emphasis on communication technologies. Mario also brings years of Project Management, Software Quality Assurance, Requirement Management, facilitation, and team building skills and experience. Mario is the author of a new book entitled “Adapting Configuration Management for Agile Teams” (via Wiley Publishing). It provides an Agile Primer and a CM Primer, and how to adapt CM practices for Agile Teams. Mario is also the author of the CM book entitled, “Software Configuration Management Implementation Roadmap.” It includes step-by-step guidance for implementing SCM at the organization, application, and project level with numerous examples. Also consider visiting Mario’s blog on CM for Agile and Agile adoption at http://cmforagile.blogspot.com/.
 

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