In his CM: the Next Generation series, Joe Farah gives us a glimpse into the trends that CM experts will need to tackle and master based upon industry trends and future technology challenges.
Administrative efforts such as consistent backups and stand-by disaster recovery become automated. Eliminate the effort, eliminate the error. Multiple site support approaches zero as the framework handles the job across all functions.
Information content becomes richer, but not only in terms of data, navigation diagrams, etc. Does the need for human direction, communication and leadership disappear? Not at all. It becomes much enhanced because everyone's on the same page, and the strategies and direction can be communicated instead of the details which are managed and communicated within the ALM solution.
Need more role specific attention from your ALM tool. The 4G solution should allow you to make it so, quickly. The goal of the 4G solution is to take the different roles and, one by one, improve productivity in them. Fine tune, add missing capabilities. Create useful dashboards to make the tool easy to use with minimal navigation necessary.
Something missing from your solution - add it on in time for next week's iteration or meeting. The 4G ALM solution is extensible to encompass all related business processes from HR and Budgeting, to Sales and CRM. Ideally, these extensions are made available to others for quick add-ons.
As technology evolves, your tablet should be part of your ALM interface. Your smartphone should, too, but perhaps quite differently. I think it's too soon to tell what forms will be where. You'll need keyboards for some things (e.g., raising a problem report), but generally not for query and navigation. But will you use buttons or your accelerometer?
When to Switch from CM to ALM
Should we go and implement ALM tomorrow? No. Yesterday would be much better. Can it be done that fast? There are ALM tools that can be put in place quickly. Evaluation. Data population. Evaluation. Customization. Pilot training and use. Evaluation. Full cutover. Those are the steps you should use. Your vendor should be happy to help, at least up to the end of the second evaluation, at no cost. If not, put them further down on the list.
It's hard to get a team to move from CM to ALM. Why, because the part of the team using CM will not be the only beneficiaries of the ALM tool. So they'll resist change. Education is important, but not what ALM is, or how the new tool works. Instead, we're having these problems and our ALM solution will address them or the benefits to you and in your role will be, etc. If you educate like that, and involve the team in the process (after some education), the buy in will be greater.
If you're starting a new project, don't start with a 2G CM solution. Start with ALM. If ALM seems "too much", look at a different solution. ALM does not have to be too much. A later generation solution should always make life easier, not more difficult. This is especially true in an agile environment where there's more resistance to formal tools and processes which impose themselves, it's critical to have advanced tools that can support the higher demands of Agile, while making life easier for all of the team roles.
If you've looked and are intimidated by the ALM world, look harder until someone tells you why ALM is less intrusive than CM alone. If they can't, then you have a right to be intimidated, as the solution is probably still half-baked, or perhaps suggests a rigid process that doesn't fit the mold. Move on to the next one. With ALM solutions, you'll have to look deeper under the hood than with CM solutions, to make sure that end-to-end management