them. Why? Why would they impose a lesser solution?
It's the same argument. If you have a 2G solution, you've put a lot of resources into it. You know how much it costs. You buy out a small firm with a different solution. There's no way you're going to absorb your 2G costs again - so you mandate conformance. In other cases, I've seen a move from 2G to open source solutions which were less capable but perhaps less costly. And again, when a 3G solution appears in a small firm that's bought out, the open source solution is imposed.
So my recommendation is not any different for larger firms: by all means implement full ALM solutions, but look beyond 2G solutions. Same wording, small team or large team - but small teams simply can't make up the difference with additional resources - so it's more critical for them to heed this advice.
Let's Get Specific
OK, so why exactly is a 3G or 4G solution so much easier for a small team? After all, in a small team you typically don't need many of the 3G features:
- Multiple site operation
- Fancy reporting
- High performance
- Extensive customization capability
- Electronic approvals
These might be nice to have as you grow your team, but I'm not going to move to a 3G solution to get that set of features when I'm a small team. But there are other 3G features that are critical:
- Low acquisition and operating costs.
- Easy to install (and evaluate).
- Very low administration.
- End-to-end ALM
- Good out-of-the-box process
- Easy to load in product data
- Easy to use / Low training level.
- Mature CM functionality
- Low-effort automation capability
- Easy to customize.
- Easy traceability navigation.
Look at these features. Lower costs. Less effort. Good, mature process. Productivity. In a small business, or a small team with a small budget, these aren't just nice-to-have features, they're life savers. They allow you to do the same as larger teams, but without a major investment in dollars or time. If you run, or have run a small team, wouldn't you agree?
Well, some of you, I'm sure, are still not convinced. If so, I'll wager you haven't yet ventured into a real 3G solution - a "small-IT", big-value ALM suite. And the pace of CM/ALM advances probably doesn't suggest that you have to look at technology that often - but perhaps the time is now. Especially if you're running a small project, or even a big project with a small team.
So the next generation of CM/ALM process and tools changes the game for small teams. It's no longer a question of what parts of the ALM process we cut out or ignore. Instead, it's how can I compete against a Goliath competitor.