6. A lack of customization capabilities in commercial offerings
Open source version control tools have very limited customization capabilities, including scripts, triggers, and settings—perhaps sufficient, considering version control is a small part of the SCM and ALM puzzle. SCM and ALM tools, on the other hand, must support a greater variety of users, process, and data. Whereas version control needs may slightly differ between one organization and the next, this is not the case for SCM and ALM.
And while some commercial tools support large processvariations that fit many projects, other offerings are much less configurable. SCM and ALM tools need to support significantcustomization and configuration, including the definition of metadata, tuning of the user interface for specific roles, defining the presentation and navigation of data, defining custom information links to to-do lists, and modification of process. In addition, the tool should provide documentation support, report and dashboard creation, and metrics required for a project.
With a high level of customization capability, each user can look at the complexity of SCM and ALM through views specific to his roles and requirements. The easier to customize, the more value the tool adds, resulting in increased productivity.
7. An overall poor understanding and poor marketing of the true benefits of full ALM
There are plenty of inexperienced team members out there. But they are going to remain inexperienced if the benefits of a full ALM solution are not easily and readily explained. The software SCM industry has not done a good job of educating the industry or marketing ALM.
Proper marketing of true benefits might take the form of annual tool competitions, where real-world SCM and ALM issues are addressed by all commercial tool suppliers, and even open source solutions.
SCM product reviews can help, but the complexity of SCM may preclude a thorough review and result in comparing only the basic common elements of each tool. You cannot compare an open source tool such as Git to an advanced, modern SCM and ALM tool. It would be like comparing a bicycle to an automobile.
8. The perception that building around open source tools is easier to sell to management than capital expenditures of ALM tools
“How much does the tool cost?” is usually the first question. And if the answer is that it is free because it’s an open source tool, then the response a software manager will most likely give is “Great! No cost? Go for it!” However, a decision like this would never pass a business case review. The cost of licenses is not the largest cost of SCM. Training, process implementation, scalability, and integration with existing systems can be very costly.
Every company needs an ALM solution. How much of that is manual or done piecemeal is a separate question, but the cost of ALM is the cost that has to be measured in a business case.
Free version control, no matter how good, is not an ALM solution. Solutions may be built around it and engineered for cost-effectiveness, but it’s even better to have a version control component specific to a full ALM solution. Then certain things become more obvious: You don’t check in files; you only check in changes. You don’t just type in comments; you reference and link to approved problems and feature activities.