Sunday, December 17, 2006

SCM vs Software Development

I came to the realization a while back that I'm not really an SCM person. In fact, I'm a software development process person who has been focusing on SCM. That's probably why most of my posts lately can't be directly linked to SCM. I've been working on broadening my thinking. As a result, I've decided to change the focus and title of this blog from SCM to Agile Software Development.

I think there's a lot of value to be realized using top-notch SCM tools like AccuRev, ClearCase, Perforce, and others. But I've come to the conclusion lately that a lot of the value of these tools either sits on the shelf as potential value or goes unrecognized and unappreciated. I think there are two reasons for this. First, I think that most people think of SCM tools as a repository and nothing more. Second, most SCM tools are optimized for being repositories and nothing more.

To put it another way, I've decided to turn my emphasis upside down. I don't think that most developers show up for work thinking about how best to optimize their branching and merging. So, instead of starting there and ending up at the developer benefit only to find that the audience has surfed to another page, I've decided to always start from the developer's point of view and link the discussion back to SCM only when necessary.

This also gets to another point. SCM folks by and large already recognize most of the value of SCM tools. That's what they do all day! Whereas, developers prefer to just write code all day and keep their interaction with an SCM tool to a minimum. That is as it should be. As a result though, I don't think that developers are getting the full value out of their SCM tools. I'm not saying that developers are thick, just that their focus is on writing code, not playing with SCM tools on the off chance that they might stumble across something that will increase their productivity.

Thus, it is up to folks that do think all day about how to improve developer productivity through better SCM tools to make the extra effort to pitch things from a developer's point of view so that when a developer does come up for air they see right away that they are being offered a lifeline and not a lead weight.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

First Hyper Agile Project is Now Complete

The project that I mentioned back in October, now called AccuWorkflow, has just been announced this week! You can also learn more about it here. While the connection to Agile Development may not be that clear yet, this is just the first release.

I believe that for Agile to succeed it must be supported by more tools and it must scale to larger teams. Further, short iterations will actually require much better defined and much more automated process. To that end, AccuWorkflow, a new add-on to AccuRev makes it much easier for teams to establish and automate their desired process across the entire software development life cycle regardless of methodology.

For this project we used an Agile methodology that I call "Hyper Agile." The key ingredients of Hyper are:

Short Iterations
Automate Everything
Virtual Pipelining
Source Control
Issue Tracking
Development Hierarchy
Quality Quotient

For more information on the role of short iterations in Hyper see this article. In future updates I'll elaborate on other aspects of Hyper and the experience of using it in the development of AccuWorkflow.

Streams for Large Scale Development Projects

Joel Spolsky recently did a posting on large scale development and mentioned AccuRev!