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Agile Project Management & SaaS – Low Hanging Fruit

Cowboy Method

Just about the best thing ALM vendors can do for development teams and organizations, I’d wager, is add a real SaaS offering. Especially if you’re in the Agile world, running on-premise project management (or, “Application Lifecycle Management” tools if you like to get all fancy pants, compliant, robust, and enterprisey) seems like the biggest help in the long term. Sure, in the short term existing teams would be best served by having their favorite features introduced – but take out the long term need to manage, upgrade, and run an on-premise project management system, and I think you’ve done a lot of improve part of the Agile development toolchain.

Of course, there are problems with this thinking: in the whacky world of cloud-driven dev/ops, you might need really tight integration between your daily (if not hourly) development cycles, builds, tests, and all the ALM wing-dings. That said, having cloud-based build farms and labs seems like it’d be advantageous if you can work out the network speeds. That whole concept was one of the things that made the now dead Project Kenai interesting.

Making ALM Move Faster

In general, when you get into the 10+ releases a day wizard world of dev/ops, the question of how traditional ALM applies starts to loose its wheels. Ironically, as John Allspaw pointed out in a podcast on that topic here, you can’t release that often if you break the release all the time. As he says in a follow-up post:

You have to prove that pushing whenever you want is an ok (safe, secure, etc.) thing to do. And the minute you can’t prove it, and you decide to continue that way

…and the only way to do that, adding in my two cents, is a high degree of discipline. It may be fast discipline, but it’s certainly not the shoot from the hip cowboy coding you might expect.

The challenge for ALM software (or “project management” if you prefer more light-weight diction), then, is to figure out a good, cloud-based delivery approach (or getting the same benefits on-premise of minimal management, continuous release delivery, virtual labs, etc.) and at the same time figuring out how to speed up the delivery of software without the wheels falling off the release train. Most ALM focus I come across is on quality, which is fine: if you can’t ensure quality, you’re dead in the water. But the interesting ALM thinking I see focuses on quality and speed.

(I was reminded of all this by CollabNet’s acquisition of ScrumWorks today.)

Categories: Agile, Development Tools, Programming.

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Continuing the Discussion

  1. […] the case is, most Application Life-cycle Management tools don’t seem to support this type of managing. In a cloud world, there’s theoretically ways to better asses the value of any given […]