We often get in contact with people evaluating an SCM tool for the first time. Most of the time, they work in a small team that has grown. So all of a sudden, the “have you finished working on file A?” or “which folder was the latest version in again?” questions don’t work the way they did before. Things get chaotic and errors start to creep in. Valuable time gets lost. So they start looking around for a tool to help them address these issues.
However, implementing SCM is just as much about how to define and set up the processes, as well as addressing resistance to change. Process might be a big word, but questions like “do I need to support multiple releases? If yes, how?” or “how and how often do I create builds and keep track of them?” have to be addressed even for the most basic implementation. This isn’t a bad thing at all, as going through these issues will already pay dividends.
Some resources to get you started
Of course, you can’t spend all your time on researching either. This is where some input in the form of best practices comes in very handy. CM Crossroads, the configuration management portal, has just put together a great set of articles to cover just that. It’s called “SCM Essentials for Small Teams” and gives an excellent overview about common issues and best practices when implementing SCM.
A somewhat more specific approach covering how to enhance responsiveness to change recently appeared on Dr. Dobb’s: “Everything Changes: How Dev Managers Can Cope With Ever-Shifting Requirements”. It’s been written by Mike Shepherd, who just happens to be a colleague of mine at PureCM. His article covers key best practices that help you dealing with an ever faster rate of change.
That said, responsiveness to change automatically links to Agile, so you might also be interested to learn more about how to support your agile initiative with a sound SCM foundation. There’s a white paper on our website that sheds some light on the link between SCM and agile: "Agile SCM Adoption - 10 Essential Practices".
I hope you can benefit from these resources – enjoy reading!
P.S. Feel free to get back to me directly; I’m happy to discuss.