ALM Summit Trip Report

This week I am participating of the ALM Summit. We have a great attendance of a diverse audience, comprised of ALM leaders in several Fortune 500 companies, plus Microsoft ALM MVPs and ALM Rangers. All the presentations have been great in pointing to upcoming ALM trends. I will be summarizing my perception on those in a few posts as I do this trip report.

The first day theme was on “Agile Acceleration”. The day started with Ken Schwaber’s key note “ALM & Scrum - Necessary But Not Sufficient for Agility”. In this talked developed the following reasoning:

• Agility Is Necessary

• Empiricism and Transparency Are Necessary for Agility

• Scrum and ALM Are Necessary for Empiricism and Transparency

• But, That Is Not Sufficient For Agility

So what else is needed? His answer is that Agility requires organizational culture change, and therefore Agility requires an organizational change program.

That implies assessing the current state of Agile adoption, providing training to cover the gaps, and other incremental culture improvement steps. Finally, Ken said that “ALM Is As Good The Culture”, that is the same toolset can be in several different ways, and not always are all appropriate. The culture has to internalize Agile if ALM is to be used in an Agile way.

Brian Harry continued with a retrospective of Visual Studio evolution. We revisited the well known themes of VSTS 2005 and 2008, which in essence were to bring transparency through streamlined data capture across development activities. These versions set the standard for the competition to follow in integrating the development tools beyond the usual “after the fact” (or “after acquisition”) strategy of others: Team System was built integrated from the ground up, not just assembled from existing parts. Smoothing the communication between Developer and PMs was the main goal.

The theme for Visual Studio 2010 became to smooth the not always clear relationship between developers and testers, to break the silo/glass wall that prevents straightforward resolution of issues and to eliminate the endless game of “bug ping-pong”, where each party tries to put the ball in the other court instead of focusing on collaborating towards the common goal of shipping the product.

Dev11, the next version, will be now focusing on streamlining the feedback loop between customers/users to developers and the rest of the team. It’s been well known that while you could always use TFS to do requirements management (if you don’t agree, just think on the fact that MSF CMMI could always satisfy the Requirements Management key process areas) but on the other hand there was always room for improvement. This is the coolest moment for Visual Studio because the Forrester CHAOS reports have always emphasized that poor requirements management is one of the main cause of the dismal rate of project success across the software development industry.

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