Skaane Network of Excellence in Software Configuration Management
Impressions from SCM-12
The bi-annual International Workshop on Software Configuration Management is the international event where primarily researchers, but also some people from industry and an occasional tool vendor, meet to present and discuss the advances in the state-of-the-art in SCM. This year SCM-12 was held in Lisbon, Portugal.
In this presentation, I will give a brief overview of the contributions of this year's workshop and the trends that the people at the workshop saw for the coming years.
SCM and Product Data Management (PDM)
(Annita Persson Dahlqvist):
Software is an increasing and important part of many products and systems. Software, hardware, and system level components have been developed and produced following separate processes. However, in order to improve the quality of the final complex product, requirements and prospects for an automatic integrated process support are called for.
Product Data Management (PDM) has focused on hardware products, while Software Configuration Management (SCM) has aimed to support software development. Several attempts to integrate tools from these domains exist, but they all show small visible success. The reason for this is that integration goes far beyond tool issues only.
According to our experiences, three main factors play a crucial role for a successful integration: tools and technologies, processes, and people. This presentation outlines the main characteristics of PDM and SCM, describes the three integration factors, identifies a model for the integration process, and pin-points the main challenges to achieve a successful integration of hardware and software development. The complexity of the problems is shown through several case studies.
SCM in pervasive computing
In a situation with programs everywhere in computers, hand held devices, etc. providing different services to everybody there will be a need for supporting SCM. Especially if the programs exist in different versions and need different versions of other programs and, in addition, can be changed by anybody. In this presentation we will discuss the SCM related issues in the described situation of palpable computing (a new perspective of pervasive computing).
SCM is an important support activity in software development. However, its transparent nature as a service that makes life easier for others and as an insurance against disasters, often makes it difficult to justify investments in tools and processes that apparently do not have any direct return. We have made a first step towards establishing a model for showing the return on investment in SCM, making the costs and benefits explicit. In this presentation, we also sketch how to take the next important step and establish a set of metrics that can be used to manage and tune the SCM processes and tools.
Let configuration management add value to your company
(Anne Mette Jonassen Hass):
Have you ever tried:
- producing the test specification on the basis of an outdated requirement specification?
- having an error reoccurring?
- being unable to fall back to a working version after having tried an unsuccessful update?
These are a few of the symptoms of bad configuration management. Configuration management is a much neglected discipline - but it has a lot of great value to offer.
This presentation will focus on the basic principles for configuration management, and explain how the proper practice of it can add value to the work being done in the organisation.
Configuration management is not difficult - all you have to do to get the benefits from it, is understand the principles and turn them into daily practice.
Walking the fine line between formal and informal SCM control
Software configuration management stresses the importance of keeping everything under control. However project work often requires fast responses and changes in direction, especially in the case of customer projects. These quick changes can easily fall from the formal control of SCM, leading to problems later on. For the project manager whose main interest is delivering on time, in budget and with required functionality, understanding how and when informal control is needed and how to return to formal control is essential.
Handling multiple software variants
You have to adapt to survive. This goes for software development as well. The software needs to be customized for different hardware, different markets and different customers. To handle all the variants of the software a lot of demands are put on the SCM processes and tools. For example, how do we:
* make sure all software variants build and work all the time?
* increase the odds that new software variants, that have never been set up before, build?
This presentation will describe problems and possible solutions for handling many customized variants of software. Many of the problems and solutions are generic while some are somewhat unique for embedded systems.
The future of SNESCM (panel):
Should the local Skaane Network of Excellence in SCM be taken to a national (Swedish) or even Scandinavian level? Would there be an interest from Swedish/Scandinavian industry to share problems and solutions? Are Swedish/Scandinavian researchers interested in sharing ideas and working together? Might Swedish/Scandinavian academia and industry want to discuss and trade results and problems?