What the Next Standard of CM Will Look Like

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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.

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.

User Interface?
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

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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