have appropriate capabilities for reconciling workspaces. Workspaces have a habit of picking up stray files or having partially completed tasks within them. These should be easily identified and dealt with. Synchronization with changes addressed by others should also be painless.
Your tools should be giving immediate payback to your team - not just long term quality improvements and better customer relationships. For example:
- Properly implemented change packages should allow you to eliminate per file check-in, labeling, description, promotion, and delta reporting. This should all be done with a click or two (or few) per operation. In some cases, you may find tools that will build a change package based on the changes you've made to your workspace.
- Good branch-per-stream tools should allow you to automate branching as required, rather than requiring developers to learn and follow often complex branching strategies.
- With proper user interfaces, communication of priorities to each team member should be automated, with prioritized to-do lists front-and-center in their view of the CM tool. Work should flow directly from those lists with allowed actions guiding what is to be done, and complemented by on-line process guidance. These should also serve to communicate to the team as a whole what the priorities are. Use meetings for the more critical items, such as priority discussions, feature demonstrations, and peer reviews.
- Proper reports should aid in simplifying time sheet entry based on what you did and when, and annual reports should help team members identify their accomplishments over the past year. The small size of your business doesn't excuse you from performing reviews and giving effective feedback to your team members,
- Good tools and process can dramatically reduce the need to branch, label and merge. This in turn reduces the overall complexity of your environment and allows you to bring on new staff with significantly less training.
It is essential, as a small business, not that you keep pace with your larger competitors, but that you lead the pack. CM is essential, but good, next generation practices and tools are what will give you a key advantage.