Defining Agile SCM: Past, Present & Future (2008)


Who are the Customers of SCM?
SCM is a foundation stone of development processes and underpins many aspects of software development. SCM is also an enabler of other processes and procedures. Thus the customers or stakeholders of SCM range from developers to QA, project management, release engineers, potentially auditors, and indirectly the end customers/business users.

Orderly Flow of Change and Evolution
SCM seeks to control change and we just need to make sure that this is adapted to consider the flow of change and ultimately the evolution of the system.

Systems that do not consider their evolution tend to become brittle and fragile, resistant to change. Activities such as refactoring can seem like unnecessary overheads, and yet their long term worth has been proven to many. Software must evolve gracefully, which requires supporting practices such as unit and acceptance test frameworks. Do your SCM processes have equivalent frameworks so that process can evolve in a well-supported manner?

Repeatability, Reproducibility, Traceability
Fundamental watchwords of SCM, and yet how are they achieved? If the effort is too high, then they become merely theoretical:  "Yes I could reproduce the systems as released, but it is too much hassle and is it worth it?" This re-iterates the importance of appropriate automation (with unit tests or the equivalent), to ensure that systems can be advanced forwards or rolled backwards with faith and confidence.

Traceability should be something that can be satisfied at the touch of a button with information collected unobtrusively.  It should not be at the cost of manual reporting and cross referencing, or of significant extra effort on a as part of their daily work by developers.

The 3 Pillars of (Vetruvian) Architecture
These are:

  • Utilitas (utility):  useful and usable (in terms of form, fit & function)
  • Firmitas (firmness/durability) :  product integrity (correct, consistent and complete)
  • Venustas (beauty/aesthetics): simplicity and elegance of design

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