Private Developer Workspaces: Where the Development Process Meets SCM Process


Another common argument is that it's just too hard to set up multiple databases. Like any other aspects of your application, you should be able to create a database in a reproducible manner. If it is costly in terms of time and resources to create a new database at a certain version, you need to fix your database deployment process. Having these private workspaces give you many opportunities to debug the database deployment process through practices.

I know a fair amount about database design, but I am by no means an expert, and I should let the experts have the last word for database changes. But I can do a fair amount to make the database developer's lives easier. For example, I can define test data sets that reproduce a problem in my private schema. If a new feature requires a minor table change, I can write the DDL to create new columns (or new tables). I certainly want the people with database expertise to review my work (that's how we can learn), but I don't need them to spend time on all of my dead-ends. A key aspect of agile approaches is that there is a team with common of goals, but while a certain amount of division of labor is inevitable, there are may valid reasons for the team to cross boundaries.

When your team has good Private workspace environments, you need to be sure that team members keep their workspaces in synch with the state of the codeline. The goal of Private Workspaces is to give team members small windows of time (and space) to work on tasks, not to isolate themselves for the long term.

Private Workspaces are a simple way to increase productivity. Setting up workspaces for your team may require a bit up-front work, but the increased rate of progress will more than compensate for the initial outlay of work. References & Further Reading

  • The Illusion of Control in Software Configuration Management
  • [SCM Patterns], Berczuk, S.P. and B. Appleton, Software Configuration Management Patterns: Effective Teamwork, Practical Integration. 2003, Boston, MA: Addison- Wesley.
  • [Flow] Csikszentmihalyi, M., Flow : The Psychology of Optimal Experience. 1st ed. 1990, New York: Harper & Row. xii, 303 p.

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