Saturday, December 30, 2006

Essential CVS and Global Outsourcing with VSTS

Just received two new books about version-control tools:
The Essential CVS, 2e book is one of the better CVS books available these days. I think I like it better than the classic one by Fogel, but not quite as much as the Pragmatic Programmers "Practical Version Control with CVS" (still - it's pretty close).

To be honest though, I really dont feel like CVS is very desirable among free Version-control tool offerings when we have the likes of Subversion, Monotone, Arch, and others that support the more recent paradigms and higher-levels of abstractions for working with project-wide streams (branches) and more.

The VSTS book is rather interesting. The "Global Outsourcing" parts of the title, and some of the corresponding content, would likely "turn off" a lot of folks. It even has a brief section about Agile development (to which, you'd think "global outsourcing would be anathema).

Mickey Gousset published a review of the book back in October, and it's worth a read. I mostly agree with the comments he makes. I think the book is pretty good, but there is another one coming soon that I expect I'll like a whole lot better, as well as several VSTS books available from

Still, if you need to do a lot of distributed development across geographically dispersed sites, and want to use VSTS not just for its versioning capabilities, but also the tracking and coordination capabilities, this is probably the book to get.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Upgrading my Blog -- tagging in-progress!

I've upgraded to the latest version of Blogger now that it's no longer in beta. There are still a few blog-entries I haven't "pushed out" yet. I will be going through my old blog-entries and trying to add "tags" to them.

What that means to subscribers of my blog is that you will see dozens, perhaps even hundreds of "new posts" of "old" blog-entries. You might want to temporarily unsubscribe until you see a subsequent entry from me saying Ive finished "tagging" all/most of my prior blog-entries.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Agile Tooling Survey Results

From Pete Behrens' Agile Executive Blog, the results to the Agile Tooling Survey they conducted in October are now available online at

    With over 500 survey responses from 39 countries, we feel this survey
    provides an excellent benchmark for where the agile movement is at
    today and how we are using project management tooling to assist our
    agile processes.

    This report builds a corporate profile of companies that are following
    agile processes today and then uses that profile to analyze how they
    are using project management tooling to support various aspects of
    their agile processes.

It's rather interesting to see what sorts of tools are being used for version-control, defect/issue/enhancement-tracking (DIET), and project planning & tracking, particularly when some high-profile Agilists would have us believe that (other than version control) Agile should "eschew" such tools.

I don't think the problem is the tools. I think the problem is most of them were/are made and used in a non-agile fashion that didn't have the agile way of working in mind. Now that there are some tools out there which do, it seems they are helpful after all :-)

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Product-Line CM in CACM

The current issue of Communications of the ACM is focused on Software Product-Lines for software engineering. It has a number of interesting articles on software product-lines and product-families for large-scale reuse.

It even has a few articles related to CM of product-lines, particularly change-management and variability-management:

Friday, December 08, 2006

Dimensions and Views of SCM Architecture

The November issue of The Rational Edge has three articles that are closely related to my ideas about applying what we know about software & enterprise "architecture" to the domain of SCM/ALM solutions (and another article about an SCM tool vendor "eating their own dogfood"):

Some of you may recall my 4+2 Model Views of SCM Solution Architecture. I've since updated the picture a bit as follows (which Ive now updated over there too), click on the small image below to see a much larger one:

Anyway - reading through the above articles (particularly the one on model "dimensions" and the one on UML+RUP+Zachman together) gave me some more thoughts about my 4+2 views model, such as:

  • I have "scale & diversity" as a dimension of "concerns" that bridge all views. I wonder if that corresponds to the "scale" or "level" dimension referred to the in article on dimensions of system models?

  • I also have change/creation time, and decision binding time as a "dimension" of concerns. It's not explained real well though. I suppose it corresponds to considering both a "static" and "dynamic" perspective for each view. In a sense there are lifecycles (e.g., promotion cycles) for the elements in each view, as well as important times when decisions are committed to, and/or when artifacts or changes are made. When dealing with variation (diversity) across a product or system, the binding-time employed by the solution can be of great importance.

  • By adding a +2 view to RUP/Kruchten's original 4+1, I end up with something that sort of maps to the 6 columns of the Zachman model. Does this mean my 4+2views are really a subset of Enterprise Architecture (EA), or might it mean that its some kind of "bridge" between the two?

  • Does it really make sense for me to have Organization and data combined into a single view, or is Data really a separate view (a +3 view?), or should I not go so far as to equate metrics, queries and reports with "Data", but rather as the requirements for data (and hence the possible "bridge" mentioned above)?

  • What if I compare contrast my 4+2 views with the model or views put forth by any of ITIL, RUP-SE, DODAF, TOGAF, FEAF, or others (see below)? What value does mine add that warrants being its own "thing" instead of just some poor sawed-off wannabe clone of one of the others?

Anyways, these questiosn made me want to go look-up some of these other models and views. I found some pretty good online articles for some of them (I'm sure I missed a few as well). Here they are:

I welcome feedback/comments on any of my thoughts above!

Saturday, December 02, 2006

The Cone of Uncertainty

I came across a great set of responses to an IEEE Software Article by Ted Little that seemed to question the cone of uncertainty. Among the respondents were Phillipe Kruchten and Steve McConnell. This prompted me on a search for resources about the cone of uncertainty. Here is what I came up with:

Does anyone know of others? I'm particularly interested in anything available online by Barry Boehm and also from Steve McConnell. [Updated 2/2/2007 - Steve McConnell emailed me himself with the URL to a recently available article on his website]