Selecting a CM/ALM Tool That Will Add Value to All Users

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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.

24. Multiple-site distributed development capability: Support for distributed development is supported, while maintaining the ability to create consistent backups. Distribution of data applies to all elements of the ALM, not just source code.

25. Scalability to hundreds per server/platform: The CM tool should not require more than one server at a single site unless several hundred users are using the CM repository at that site.

26. End-to-end traceability (requirements to builds/test cases): Traceability navigation is supported through various browsers such that it is always easy to map between one set of artifacts and other related artifacts. This includes requirements traceability to test cases and actual test results, from build definitions to feature and defect content, from source code to change packages and back to requirements, etc.

27. Advanced data import capabilities: It must be easy to import data from existing solution components. This includes source code, documents and data (e.g., problem reports, tasks, etc.)

28. Project management with Gantt charts and WBS support: A basic project management capability must support Agile development (priority-based feature/task driven development), preferably with charting to show plans and progress. As well, the tool supports a work breakdown structure (WBS) so that a project may be easily decomposed into workable units.

29. Full ALM suite, from requirements tracking through to test suite management: The CM/ALM suite must cover version control, change control, document management, requirement tracking, test case management, build and release management, problem tracking, feature/task management and ideally can be extended to cover other development areas (e.g., lab time assignment).

30. Real-time metrics to support decision making: A 3G tool must allow easy harvesting of up-to-the-minute metrics that can be used for risk assessment, quality assurance and decision making.

31. High reliability and availability: The CM/ALM repository content must be available at all times (less than 24 hours outage/yr). A larger outage is permissible for repository content change capability, (e.g., for consistent backups it may be disabled) providing it does not impede the project significantly.

32. Data transaction journaling and data recovery capabilities: All changes to the repository, source code or otherwise, must be clearly tracked so that it is always possible to know who did what, and when. There must also be support for recovery in the case of a disk crash or other repository corruption. If transaction journals remain intact through such problems, it should be possible to recover without any loss of data.

33. Advanced backup and redundancy capabilities: As data volumes can grow significantly, advanced backup techniques must be used so that full backups can be performed in reasonable time frames. This is especially true if changes to the repository are disabled during backups. There should be sufficient redundancy such that operation of the CM/ALM environment can survive disk crashes/errors, network problems, etc.

34. Web access interfaces: At a minimum, a web interface must allow access to information within the repository to support field personnel, or specific contractor or customer access. Controls must be sufficient to adequately ensure that access is restricted according to the user. Ideally, updates to the repository (e.g., feature requests, problem reports or replies) can be performed through the web interface.

35. Flexible reporting and interactive query: A 3G CM/ALM tool must support flexible reporting, within a specific application and across applications. It must be possible to produce both summary and key detailed reports directly from the tool (although in some cases some scripting may have to be put in place ahead of time to define the reports). As well, the tool must provide various interactive query capabilities so that high level data displays may be drilled down to reveal details, and so that traceability information can be traversed directly through mouse clicks.

About the author

Joe Farah's picture Joe Farah

Joe Farah is the President and CEO of Neuma Technology and is a regular contributor to the CM Journal. Prior to co-founding Neuma in 1990 and directing the development of CM+, Joe was Director of Software Architecture and Technology at Mitel, and in the 1970s a Development Manager at Nortel (Bell-Northern Research) where he developed the Program Library System (PLS) still heavily in use by Nortel's largest projects. A software developer since the late 1960s, Joe holds a B.A.Sc. degree in Engineering Science from the University of Toronto. You can contact Joe at farah@neuma.com

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