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.
trunk versus main trunk per stream? Will we agree on technology that will allow automation of time consuming functions such as view creation, labeling, and change promotion? The industry is not ready to dictate a CM standard other than from a high level process and best practice perspective.
A more promising approach might be to start introducing common interface elements that, in turn, imply some level of interoperability or perhaps data exchange capability. Some of the common interface elements might be:
- Source tree browser
- History browser
- In-boxes/to-do lists
- Gantt charts
- Delta and merge operations
- Baseline definition
- Problem report forms
- State flow diagrams
- Trigger and rule definitions
The goal here would not be to identify one tool's presentation over another, but rather to identify all of the common (i.e., must have) and all of the optional (e.g,. vendor variant) features. On its own this approach would not give us data interchange capability immediately. However, just as operating systems and computer languages are now largely hardware independent, it might allow the industry to settle more easily on what's under the hood because it's really the user interface that becomes the driving force. Even so, this would be a very long road to standardization of CM.
So Where Do We Turn?
How will we attain CM standards? I think we need to address the issue on several fronts. A mix of the above approaches and a stronger consensus on what are the best CM practices is a start. Existing CM process standards