Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Configuration Management Crystal Ball - Is Agile in the Forecast?

As we gaze into the horizon, what do we think will be hot in the CM landscape and where is the CM field headed? Let’s take a look into the crystal ball:

My forecast will focus on:
  • Agile in the forefront of CM
  • More CM books to help you Deploy
  • Extending the CM reach into ALM and beyond
Prediction #1:  Agile in the forefront of CM
We will continue to see a strong focus on Agile in the way we approach and deploy CM.  Organizations are seeing the benefits of Agile and there continues to be a significant increase in adopting Agile.  There continues to be a heavy focus on continous integration and build where teams can take advantage of frequent merging and compiling to ensure their product is integrating, building, and testing correctly.  Also, since so many teams are going Agile, CM professionals need to ensure they are in a position to provide a CM environment that maintains the integrity that CM provides but is adapted to the more frequent actions that Agile introduces (more frequent check-outs and check-ins, builds, etc.). 

Prediction #2:  More CM books to help you DeployConfiguration Management is a field that is pervasive in software engineering.  With the shift to Agile comes the need to adapt and change and become lean.  These are challenges in the CM community.  The good news is that there are newer books on the market that help us address both the deployment of CM as well as the integration of Agile and CM.  With that in mind, here are some new CM books as well as blogs that focus on CM and Agile:
  • Configuration Management Best Practices: Practical Methods that Work in the Real World” by Bob Aiello and Leslie Sach.  The materials in this book are practical, easy to understand, and fully reflects the day-to-day realities faced by practitioners.  It addresses all six “pillars” of CM: source code management, build engineering, environment configuration, change control, release engineering, and deployment. 
  • Adapting Configuration Management for Agile Teams” by Mario E. Moreira.  This book provides both a CM Primer and an Agile Primer for those wishing to learn more about each topic followed by a chapter on how they can work well together. It then focuses on infrastructure for Agile and how using the cloud can reduce technical debt.  It follows this with a robust chapter on adapting the various CM practices for Agile.  It ends with chapters on identifying good tools for Agile (including CM tools) and adapting to standards and frameworks in an Agile environment.
Prediction #3:  Extending the CM reach into ALM and beyond
As we continue into the future, we see CM extending into the Application Lifecycle Management (ALM) space and then see ALM extended into a more unified approach.  Integration across engineering areas helps teams streamline their processes and reduces the effort of implementation and maintenance of manual integrations.  Two such examples of extending the reach include:
  • Rational Team Concert (RTC) provides a lean collaborative lifecycle management solution with agile and formal planning, project reporting, process workflow, work item management, source code management and build management, in a single integrated product supporting all popular platforms.
  • Look for innovative tool companies like AccuRev and AnthillPro establish Agile ALM solutions focusing on source code management and continuous integration and build as its core for organizations looking to improve and scale their Agile processes while still maintaining control.
As we look into 2011, what is the CM forecast and what is your forecast in CM?  Agility will continue to show up in various forms in both the Configuration Management (CM) and Application Lifecycle Management (ALM) contexts.  Also, books such as “Adapting Configuration Management for Agile Teams” will help CM and Agile teams understand and adapt to Agile methods and books like “Configuration Management Best Practices: Practical Methods that Work in the Real World” to help you deploy CM in a lean manner.  What is your organization’s CM forecast?  Whether your forecast is sunny or cloudy (or both), consider flexibility, adaptability, and agility in driving your business!  Have a productive 2011!!!

Feel free to visit the full article at: http://www.cmcrossroads.com/implementation-excellence/13898-cm-forecast-for-2011.  Enjoy!

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