Assessing CM in the Development Process

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After you review the list with them, ask them to help you prioritize the list. Explain to them that the prioritization is based on what the development team sees as the biggest problem(s) and where they may see the most benefit if an area of improvement were addressed. Consider low-controversy prioritization techniques such as dot voting. Dot voting is the process of giving each developer 3 dots and asking them to place the dots on the area (or areas) of improvement that most benefits them if addressed. An example can be a developer places 3 dots on 1 area or improvement, or 2 dots on an area and 1 dot on another area, or 1 dot on 3 different areas. Note: feel free to use your own technique for getting to priority.

At the end of the dot placement, count the number of dots for each area of improvement, and then indicate the priority based on the count. From there, focus on the top three areas of improvement and discuss the target solution for each. For example, if Build Automation is a top priority, the target solution should include what the developers think may improve the area and benefit them (e.g., establish automated nightly builds or establish a mechanism to initiate a build upon checkin). It should be noted that the assessment in step #1 can also focus CM professionals on separate areas of improvement that primarily benefit CM (e.g., in the best interests for CM integrity and not necessarily where the development team wants to focus).

Step 4: Plan and Delivery
Now it is time to deliver on the solution. Prior to beginning the work, put together a project plan that encompasses the tasks that focus on the agreed areas of improvement. Consider the effort per task and expected duration (effort multiplied by the percentage of time in a company day focusing on the task given the fact that other daily CM work is occurring). In addition, identify tasks where development team members are needed. These tasks are a dependency to meeting any planned dates. When the plan is prepared, communicate expected delivery dates and the tasks where members of the development team are needed. Come to an agreement on expected delivery dates and a commitment from the development team to help per the tasks they are assigned.

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. He has worked in the CM field since 1986 and in the agile field since 1998. Mario 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. Mario is the author of Adapting Configuration Management for Agile Teams  and Software Configuration Management Implementation Roadmap. Also consider visiting Mario’s blog on CM for Agile and Agile adoption at http://cmforagile.blogspot.com/.

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