January 16, 2007
Authoring Tools for Process GuidanceWhether it has any practical merit or not in the rough and tumble of real-world software process improvement, I've certainly enjoyed playing with the Eclipse Process Framework and associated tools for capturing process definitions. I'm aware that Microsoft have created something along these lines for Team System too, and if - like me - you're in the SPI game then it's probably worth getting your hands on these process authoring/publishing tools and familiarising yourself with how they work.
Both the Eclipse and Microsoft process content authoring tools help you break your process documentation down into more meaningful and manageable chunks
Organisations looking to score higher in a CMMi assessment, and this is particularly applicable in regions where outsourcing and off-shoring are big business, might like to consider exploiting these tools as a more effective means of documenting their software development processes. Certainly they're a better bet than just sticking it all in Word documents and PowerPoint presentations, as you can break your processes down into their constituent parts (activities, tasks, inputs, outputs, roles etc), which means you can better ensure that things are documented once in one place only - so if it changes, we only need to update it in one place. I've seen process libraries done the Word way, and believe me, they suck!
The web view of Microsoft's MSF for Agile process guidance
As an added bonus, the guidance integrates seemlessly with the IDE, and you can also output it to nicely formatted and easily navigable web pages, which will earn you brownie points with senior management, who are easily impressed by that sort of thing.
So if you're going down that route - and let's save the philosophical debate about whether you really should for another day - then these tools are designed specifically to make it easier.
Posted 14 years, 6 months ago on January 16, 2007