away the knives and stones and start using real technology. It's time to capture the data from the thousands of user actions each day and figure out what's going on, and even further, provide active feedback to the users so that rather than asking the CM tool questions, the CM tool is providing the answers before they're asked. You need to branch. Your workspace file is different than the one in your view. This change may have to be applied to other "future" streams. Here's all the information you need to know about why this line of code was changed. Your schedule is at risk because of x, y and z. Here's what your customer is using now and this is what the functional and fix differences are between that product and what you're releasing tomorrow.
Impressive. Pie-in-the-sky perhaps? Perhaps not. In fact, let's go one step further. We've got accountants that have variants of their spreadsheets as they work through their reconciliations. We've got lawyers that evovle their agreements as they work through negotiations. We've got sons and daughters who work through essays and theses. We've got physicists who repeat experiments, subtly different from the previous run, or many the same with different results. These have not yet even been exposed to CM, yet they are just as much in need as developers. Can we actually make CM tools that are easy enough for such a class of users? You betcha. We can. We don't. We'd rather evolve our band-aids to deal with our knives and stones rather than move on.
Surely I've only touched on a few of our mistakes. And surely new vendors sprout up with a great new concept that drives sales for their CM tools. But we've got to move away from the days of "I like this CPU instruction set" and "SRAM has a lot of advanatages over DRAM" to the days of "Here's a computer that your grandma can use." We haven't done this with CM, and until the industry starts looking seriously at the potential, it will be content with replacing the knife with a Swiss Army Knife, and the stones with rubies and gems. Until we start to admit to our mistakes and drive to the next generation of CM, we'll stagnate.
Ask yourself, are the processes and tools I'm using today for CM substantially different than the ones I was using 5 years ago, 10 years ago, 15 years ago? Or are they just packaged prettier, with add-ons to make some of the admin-intensive tasks more tollerable? I know of 2 or 3 companies who can (and many that will) say their tools are significantly better than 3 years ago. I know of many, many more who have just spruced up the package, or perhaps customized it for another sector. Nothing wrong with that, but that won't get us ahead. Let's hope the 2 or 3 can stick with it and bring about the change needed to drag the rest of the industry forward. That's exactly what I think is going to happen... and then the pace will quicken.