Is SCM dead?

Jirong  Hu's picture
Jirong Hu asked on February 11, 2014 - 2:55pm | Replies (7).

I feel lost now. I have been a SCM consultant with IBM tools for more than 10 years. Now it's all gone.

First, IBM tools are getting out of business. Most of companies moved to the 10 times cheaper and maybe better open source tools such as GIT, TeamCity and JIRA etc. There is no way IBM can compete with them, even with the new RTC. They are just so much cheaper and in today's business, cheaper is what the management want.

Second, when come with open source tools, people think everybody can work with it. Just let devevelopment team install it and use it. And because it's cheaper, nobody will seriously question it. So there is no need for SCM consultants. Doesn't matter about branching strategy anymore. In my current company, people just install these tools without even an architecture and design document. I guess they just start to use it and will figure out things later.

So where is our next job?



7 Answers

Drew Benson's picture

Presumably you "believe"........

ie You know and understand how GOOD CM is beneficial to an organisation.

Then your "job" is to sell that knowledge and belief to the bean-counters in the various organisations and also sell yourself!!

Some open source tools are good (enough) some are actually quite decent (when used well).

A CM tool (on its own) has NEVER been the Silver Bullet!!

Good process, Procedures and general good practices have always been a good investment (often alongside a good tool/suite).

SVN chucked into a bucket in a free for all for any/everyone to do what they want is no better (or worse) than PVCS or SourceSafe or Harvest etc just dumped onto a desktop without setting out good practice etc first.

It might be cheaper to install but the long term cost of bad practise will be just as bad!

So sell the benefits of doing it well/properly (and your services in doing it) - then you'll be laughing!   





mstern11's picture
mstern11 replied on February 18, 2014 - 10:19am.


I'm in the same boat.  Projects are pretty much ignoring enterprise policies & procedures and doing 'CM' themselves.  I'm feeling the need to broaden my roles & responsibilities (maybe into a QA type of position).  Selling oneself is an excellent solution, but I've never found anyone who was of the mindset that CM would save them any money, headaches, deadlines, etc. It's just too easy for them to blow us off & take the short term solution - do it themselves.  I'm feeling pretty stuck.


Joe Townsend's picture

I don't think SCM is dead.  I think SCM the way it used to be done is dying and for a variety of reasons.  Gone are the days where an administrator for a big huge tool, i.e. PVCS Dimensions and the Rational Suite was needed.  Both of these companies are losing market share at an alarming rate. Once the darling of the SCM tool world, I would doubt they control any more than 20% of the market combined maybe even less. 

With that being said, like any IT field you have to be willing to adopt and change with the flow of the market and trends.  There still is a need for SCM folks and always will be.  SCM has many different functional areas, Build Mgt, Release Mgt, Change and Issue Magt, Requirements Mgt, Deploy Mgt and of course Version Mgt. 

With GIT and Subversion you still need to have someone manage the code and versioning as well as the branching strategy and merging strategy.  We have to bend, meld and mold ourselves into what the IT industry is needing.


Joe Townsend

Cristian C's picture
Cristian C replied on February 20, 2014 - 11:49pm.

Yes, i believe SCM, as it used to be is dead, or on the dying bed. RIP. The true name of the SCM game is integration, that is done on the design and implementation level, and not on the tools management level, branching and maintenance.

however, we need to rejoice, since that needs to be viewed as a great opportunity to move to new skills, expanded responsibilities, and the definition of a better role. There is no better way to preach best practices than to live them as a product is developed and shipped. You can look at it as a step to maturity vs. a sense of Inadequacy. You can move on and become a scrum master, adopt agile, test automation, and why not qa or development.

because I've never met a good SCM guy who didn't earn his chops in software development or qa (at least).

Dana Frost's picture

SCM is far from "Dead".  Its not longer a special thing though. Its becoming the standard for most software development so it may not get as much attention because its simply expected.

I will say that IBM SCM is certainly "dying".  They just don't have the stranglehold on SCM tools that they did in the past. Also, the antiquated tools that IBM owns (ClearCase/Doors/etc.) are simply not as flexible and much more expensive than the new generation of tools. The use of open source and less expensive solutions is much more viable than the IBM SCM suites of the past.

We have finaly migrated away from the IBM tools to more modern web-based tools and we are all happy to no longer be dealing with IBM support and documentation which we always found lacking.

David Day's picture
David Day replied on March 24, 2014 - 2:43pm.

You guys need to get in the financial industry or insurance where the Federal government regulates the snot out of all processes. You have to have a process and a controlled tool to pass an audit. SCM is alive and well in this sector. 


Derick Williams's picture

It’s cheaper and cost effective due to government funding for Development efforts being cut.  Open Source software can be customized (configured) for your use (e.g. dashboard displays, log file output, email capability, etc.).  My agency still uses Serena Products, but development efforts are under to way to replace them with Open Source tools like Jenkins and possibly Git.  Today’s economy isn’t the same and government agencies have to deal with less funding and still produce the same high-level quality applications.

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