what features and criteria are most important. This in turn will allow your RFI to be more intelligent.
During this week of demos you're going to learn a lot about tools: how wide-ranging they are; how user interfaces can vary; how the scope of one tool is far more or less than another. You probably won't have a good feel yet for things like performance, administration and customization, but the basic CM/ALM functions, traceability, and ease-of-use should make themselves apparent during a demo. At the end of each demo, ask the following questions:
(1) How much will it cost, per user, all in, for 25 developers and 25 occasional users? (For all the ALM tools if possible)
(2) Can I install the tool to evaluate it myself? Do I need any special infrastructure or training? How much?
(3) How many support staff do you recommend for administration and customization per 50 users, as in (1)?
Both for CM Process and CM Tool Suites, there truly is a Next Generation. Next Generation processes and tools come primarily from those who have spent a long time with the previous generation, and have the technology at hand to improve on them. Vision is important. But capability must be there as well.
And the scope may be bigger than you realize. But that doesn't necessarily mean the solution must be more complex. For example, if I need a way to create driving directions, there are a host of tools that can do that for me. But now let's increase the scope. Why do I want these directions - to help myself and others to get to their destinations. OK, well, what if I could generate the instructions and make it easier to follow them - the GPS is born. Easier than a map or driving directions to use. What about avoiding traffic to make my drive more efficient? The next generation of GPS evolves.
If I just looked for the best way to generate driving directions, I would be dealing with issues such as: What's the best format to print them in.? What should I high-light? Should I have some back-up routes in case of construction or traffic jams? How should I file/store these, (assuming I'll need to use them again)? Great questions. But the next generation GPS makes all of these totally irrelevant. It's the same with CM/ALM. If you don't start with advanced technology, your processes are going to deal with things that should be totally irrelevant.
So what's next is to clearly understand what is the current state-of-the-art for CM/ALM, whether it's process technology or tool technology.
Hot Topics for Next Generation CM/ALM Tools
Here are a list of hot topics you need to be on top of. These deal with issues which are pertinent to those looking at evaluating CM/ALM tools. Many of them have been covered in the CM Journal.
CM for Agile Development: Even if you're not doing Agile Development, tools that support it will give you an edge in fine tuning your traditional development methods.
Agile CM: You don't want just your development to be agile, you want your CM to be Agile as well - easy to adjust to your CM requirements, lean, though not less functional, and naturally integrated into your user activities, not an overhead. Agile development tends to be more prioritize/assign oriented than traditional development. Your CM/ALM tools should help you manage priority-driven activities.
Global (i.e. Multiple Site) Development: CM is a long term application. Odds are that you'll be bought out, move, or buy out other companies in the next