that can make CM more agile. Often such features become the highlight of a tool or process. It's important to understand tools intimately - and especially to understand how easy it is to streamline a process through customization of a tool. If it's difficult to customize, you may lose (i.e. spend, in resources) the cumulative benefit before it's even deployed. If you can do a click-customization or get the vendor to provide it for you, you're in a better position.
Also, Agile CM today is not what it was yesterday and not what it will be tomorrow. Yesterday's features are taken for granted today. It's the Next Generation of Agile CM that you have to be aiming at. And this means continuous improvement. So make sure your tools allow you to continuously improve without breaking the budget.
If you're trying to create an Agile CM environment by using Lean CM - you're headed in the wrong direction. All you're doing is spreading the problem to upstream and downstream groups. When you're serious about Agile Development, you'll find that Agile CM will be a core enabler. Agile CM is more demanding that traditional CM. But the good news is that Agile CM can be applied to Traditional CM. So as an Agile CM champion, you can make those traditionalists converts too!
A 20 Year Celebration
I didn't want to let the month of May go by without noting a significant milestone in the CM industry - the 20th Anniversary, this month, of Neuma, a pioneer in CM that evolved from the Telecommunication industry in Ottawa, Canada. Neuma is marking the anniversary with several announcements and the lastest release of it's ALM Suite: CM+ 7. When Neuma started out, there were few players, many now with different names: Aide-de-Camp, Atria ClearCase, Amplified Control, PVCS, CCC, Change Man and CMVC - not to mention SCCS and RCS. Neuma's CM+ went by the name STS back then. It was a tightly knit CM community, with regular industry conferences - usually as a working group add on to a larger conference.
Strangely enough, it was 20 years ago that Atria was founded, on top of the Apollo DSEE remains (who remembers that one?). Although there were some CM efforts prior to 1990, I consider 1990 as the real start of the commercial market for CM. Before that, most solutions were in-house, built on top of SCCS, RCS, or CMS (VMS). CM on Windows was almost unheard of prior to 1990. And in 1990, the CM user interface was the command line. Many developers, CM Managers and even CM tools, still cling to the CLI as the prime CM interface.
It will be interesting to see where CM will be in 20 years, and indeed, where Neuma will be. My congratulations and thanks to all former and current Neuma employees.