Three Wishes for Software Configuration Management (SCM)


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.

Joe Farah writes of three Christmas wishes he has for the world of software configuration management (SCM). If we do these key things properly, we won't just see an jump in SCM maturity. We'll see a fire that spreads the wealth.

Another year has gone by. We've seen what's happening out there and what's not.  So looking back, what's my Christmas wish for the SCM world?  I think I can actually put it down to 3 key points:

1. Bring Next Generation CM and ALM education to the market place.
2. Give Software Configuration Management training and certification a boost.
3. SCM: Aim higher

If we do these things properly, we won't just see a jump in SCM maturity.  We'll see a fire that spreads the wealth.
Bring Next Generation CM and ALM Education to the Marketplace
I have seen significant efforts to adopt a more advanced CM or ALM solution in the marketplace over the past couple of years.  However, these efforts are just a fraction of what there should be.  Organizations, for the most part, still seem happy to go ahead with low end or open source solutions, saving $10,000s, yet missing $100,000s in unrealized productivity gains.  Or they're willing to pay big bucks for solutions that have been popular in the past but no longer deliver the state of the art in capability.

Some of this is the fear factor.  CM Managers have been through a lot and they expect CM/ALM solutions not just to be costly and time consuming, but rather to require significant investment in expertise.  That's not the case anymore.  Not enough people understand this, though, so we really need to educate the market place.

While it's true that open source solutions are gradually improving, and that there are many commercial solutions out there that are near par with these solutions, there are also solutions out there that really exceed these lower end options.  The annual savings potential is staggering

  • CM administration
  • Multiple site capabilities
  • Tool glue and maintenance thereof
  • Customization costs
  • Additional training costs
  • Lost productivity
  • Lower quality

There are companies spending $10M in CM administration alone.  Plus licensing costs, consulting costs, upgrades, and so forth.  Just to keep the CM solution working.  Tell me of a company that wouldn't like to recover $100M from the past 10 years of CM, yet life goes on without change.  Why?  Education.  Sure cm crossroads helps, but there's a wider audience out there that needs to be educated.

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

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