The ALM solution will expand beyone the third generation to handle Request Tracking and Customer Relationship Mangement so that the product manager has full traceability to all input to product decisions. Project Management will be much more tightly integrated with the ALM solution, including time sheet tracking, so that actual project metrics can be reflected directly from the time sheets, as well as from process steps such as checking in code and entering test results. For some projects, there will also be expansion into the ITIL side of things.
Ease Of Use
Ease of use issues focus on three primary areas in third generation CM tools: End-user (e.g. developer), Configuration Manager, Tool Administrator. Whereas in the past, the CM manager and administrator roles were not distinct, the evolution of the functionality will help to clearly separate these roles, and then to simplify them.
The biggest push forward will be moving the end-user to prefer the change-based model over the file-based model. The ability to reduce keystrokes by using a change-based model will be the key impetus for this. As well, the capability of CM tools to infer a change package definition (apart from traceability data) from changes that have been made to the workspace will cater to even the most resistant of users. Adding a new directory of files to the CM tool will be a simple matter, without the usual steps of checking in all of the new files. Instead, the directory root will be used, with a filter, to automatically attach the new files at the appropriate place in the design hierarchy.
Still because the move is from a very simple file-based check-in/out model, with a pile of rules and exceptions, to a slightly more complex change-based check-in/out model, with few rules and exceptions, there will still be resistance. The CM tools that can demonstrate clear return on value to the developer, and that can ease the transition to change-based operation, will be the winners. Unfortunately, many of the add-on change package solutions have given other solutions a bad name. They instantly conjure up images of multiple tools and databases, restrictions and complexity. The third generation CM tool will have change packaging as a natural, core component - not as an optional add-on.
Workspace synchronization will be more easily automated and higher visibility to workspaces provided. Active workspace feedback will allow the user to compare any CM repository view with a workspace visually, identifying missing files and files that differ. Workspace-wide comparison and merge operations will support detailed query and synchronization processes.
The process will be supported at the user interface with the introduction of in-boxes/to-do-lists. Traceability will be established as the contents of these to-do lists are used to initiate events, such as fixing a problem or implementing an activity. The set of to-do lists will be established based on a user's role and visual indications will identify those lists in which work is queued.
Stream-based development models will become more prevalent, not because of the branching simplifications, but because it will allow users to easily filter the data they wish to see. For example, one would switch views from one stream to another to look at pending work. The age of configuration view specifications will disappear as the CM tool will use the product, stream, and possibly promotion level to establish the views, not only of source code but, of all pertinent data for the user. Especially at the management level where it is often difficult to use the CM tool to garner required data, the automatic view specifications will permit simpler data filtering and