June 10, 2011

ADP West Reflections


Today Michael Alessio and I staffed the Perforce booth at the ADP West Agile conference. I also gave a talk on scaling Agile for the enterprise, using some of the features of Perforce version control. (The talk should be available for download within a couple of weeks; if you're interested, drop me a line if you'd like a pointer.)

Randy DeFauw
Randy DeFauw presenting at ADP West in Las Vegas, NV.

As I was speaking, I started thinking back to my days as a programmer in the defense industry. The defense industry adopted some practices like code review earlier than many industries, mostly due to contractual issues working with the government. But back in those days the tools hadn't caught up to the ideas. Doing code review, branching and merging effectively, tying code to requirements, and collaborating with a big team were difficult at best and downright painful at times. I think a lot of the developer backlash against unwieldy tools can be traced back to those fitful starts at putting the accumulated wisdom of software developers into practice.

Now, of course, the situation is very different. There are efficient, powerful tools available to help with all of those best practices. Perforce has evolved a lot over the same time frame as well. (I have a feeling that once release managers start using streams, they'll wonder how they got by without it.) So, developers of the world - enjoy! The tools have finally caught up to the methodologies.

For anyone who saw my talk, I'm curious what your impressions are. Sometimes its difficult to strike the right balance between concepts and nuts-and-bolts details. Of course, if you're interested in talking Agile with us in more detail, let us know. At Perforce we're thinking about the software development world pretty much every day, and we're always happy to chat!