How to introduce SCM to new companies?

y.shaikhly's picture
y.shaikhly asked on November 18, 2010 - 11:00am | Replies (7).

I have been making a research about how to introduce software configuration management to a new company's development process.

The research is about the risks and challenges that will face the company when introducing the SCM process to their traditional process.

I'm having a lot of trouble finding resources regarding the subject... please help.

7 Answers

Bob Aiello's picture
Bob Aiello replied on November 19, 2010 - 10:01am.


I am a little confused about what you are trying to do. Are you conducting a survey or are you doing research? If it is the latter then you need to describe your methodology. You would have a criteria valid research project just by analyzing the articles in the last few issues of the CM Journal. (The validity comes from mapping to actual trench level experiences - but you have to document that clearly.)

Bob Aiello
Editor in Chief

mbools's picture
mbools replied on November 19, 2010 - 7:36pm.

Like Bob, I am a little confused as to exactly what you need.

Assuming you are interested in existing research material then I assume you have searched sites like the ACM, IEEE, BCS, and CiteSeer as these are all good starting points for finding this sort of material (there are plenty of others, but these provide good staring points). There's plenty of published material, both research and case studies, on all aspects of CM, SCM, and process engineering (I am baffled when people say they can't find information on the subject, I currently have a backlog of over 100 papers I am trying to catch up on from these sources around the SCM discipline—and each of these papers lists many other sources too—and I note some new arrivals since I last looked—ah, so much to read, so little time!).

If you are within an academic environment then you'll probably have free access to these resources (and your library should be able to help you do the searches if you're having difficulty), similarly if you are operating commercially then you should enquire of your organisation whether they have access to these libraries (you may find you can access them for free). If you are operating on your own then you will have to pay to access much of the material. (You can usually search for free, but most of the papers require either subscription or individual payments to acquire them.)

If you are looking for case study data then there is some out there (see previous sources), but you may have to approach organisations with a more formal proposal for study and a proper research methodology (see Bob's comment).

If all you need is some informal information for a business case, or some slides for a presentation, then please provide a little more information about your objectives and exactly what sort of information you think you need, I'm sure the CMCrossroads community can make some suggestions that will help if you provide a little more specific guidance.

y.shaikhly's picture
y.shaikhly replied on November 20, 2010 - 2:39pm.

First of all i would like to thank you both for replying to my post.
The research that i'm doing is academical for my masters to be precise, the research is about suggesting some enhancements to SCM commercial tools that are already exist like (VSS, ClearCase, etc…)
The part that i'm having trouble in finding resource in is the introduction of an SCM tool to a software development environment (a development company) and the challenges behind the introduction of the new system.
Also i would love to find some resources regarding the comparison between a software development environment that runs without a tool to manage the configurations and an environment that runs under control of such tools.

Is what i wrote clear for you??

baynes's picture
baynes replied on November 23, 2010 - 4:16pm.

No resources but I can sumarize the main challenges. Not all can be addressed by improved tool features.

* Persuading the developers that the system adds value and will support them in doing their work rather than being a beurocratic overhead that will delay them at critical points in the project.

* Persuadng the project and middle managers it has value to them so they actively support and promote the use of the system. (Reports and metrics are good carrots for them).

* How much do the developers have to change their process to use the tool? (Is the process change good or bad? It can be either.)

* Chosing a tool which gives has enough complexity to manage the required work but keeping it simple as possible. As the organization is not experienced in CM they are likely to get it wrong as they don't know their needs.

* Deciding who will run the tool and who needs what knowledge. Some tools require all developers to know a lot, others only the build/integration manager needs to be an expert. Is the PMO involved in operations? Will the development teams do install/admin or will IT do it?

* Stop the quality/project support people getting overenthusiatic and making the internal procedures too complex and theoretical. But they need to be on board as they will have an important role in keeping it being used.

* Migrate the data, train the users and get it all working and keeping it working.

Saqib Khan's picture
Saqib Khan replied on November 25, 2010 - 1:17am.

@ y.shaikhly

First you need to have a clear understanding about relationship of both SCM tools & processes. Currently, SCM tools are widely used at small & large scale and companies are benefiting accordingly.

No doubt, resistance to accept new tool or process is always there but how effectively present really matters. Like you need to quantitatively measure different matrices between current performance vs projected performance, manual effort vs automated tool effort, etc.. In this way you need to select and define different matrices, compile their different results, analyze them and than go for proposed solutions.

Similarly, in implementing or choosing the right tool for the right job is highly important as every company or team has to perform 'Decision Analysis and Resolution' and analyze different tools and take decisions on the basis on measurable scales, comparisons, etc.

Lastly, you need to highlight importance of using SCM tools as a lot of material is available on CMCrossRoads as well. Moreover, it is suggested to go to its Blogs and White Paper sections for a better vision about SCM concepts.

bglangston's picture
bglangston replied on November 26, 2010 - 12:57pm.

You said, "the research is about the risks and challenges that will face the company when introducing the SCM process to their traditional process."

It will take a lot of time because of the number of threads, but if you look through the threads in this forum, you will run across a lot of the challenges. There have been many questions and comments about challenges similar to these:
"I am trying to introduce CM but my developers are against."
"My company managers don't understand why we need CM."
"We all agree we need CM, but we can't afford it."
"Team A wants it but Team B does not."

When you find those entries, you will also find some answers to many of them.

Similar, or maybe parallel, to Bob's answer, have a look through the Articles category here on CM Crossroads.

As to risks, in the conventional sense, not many. In fact, good CM mitigates many of the risks relating to the products. Most of the risks are to company management, such as:

"The risk of creating CM processes that bind too tightly or not tightly enough." Too tight and production can suffer, too loosely and quality can suffer.
"The risk of purchasing a tool that's too expensive, when it's full capabilities are not needed."
"The risk of buying a silver bullet." Many think that you can just buy a tool and have instant CM. This is usually the result of listening to sales people before deciding what you really need in the first place.

Again, many of these risks have been the subject of threads in this forum.

Good luck!

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