April 21, 2006
Corporate Deployment of Team System / Team Foundation Server
I have had experience with a number of different "systems" throughout my career, ranging from keeping track of issues in Excel and source control being making backup copies of the files you are replacing as you develop in production, to lightly integrated tools like FogBugz and Vault SourceGear, to the fully integrated Team System platform.
I am currently using FogBugz and Subversion for consulting and other personal projects where budget is thin and scale is not an issue. In the corporate environment, I am piloting Team System by dogfooding it for the R&D team that I am on. There is simply no comparison to the usability with this tool. I really think those two features alone -- Work Item Tracking and Source Control -- in Team System will reinvent how IT shops view and utilize change management tools.
That is not even mentioning the software lifecycle and project management tools that assist in collaboration and governance without micro-managing the developer. In fact, now more than ever does management (as well as the developers themselves) have visibility and insight into how specific projects are proceeding without having to harass the developers for status reports. Less micro-management, more visibility and insight for the managers -- it's a win-win situation.
The hard part of Team System adoption is going to be selling the idea to IT management to take the risk in changing the current system that is working and may even be better than what was done in the past. Even if there is the potential for making further strides in improvement, questions and concerns like: what is the learning curve for development to adopt the new tools, what about the end users who are used to entering bugs directly into the system -- do we train them on a new tool, change their process, etc., do we move a single project at a time onto the new platform, or do we move everyone over to a particular feature at a time, or do we go even slower and just move a single project for a single or subset of features.
These are just some of the questions/concerns I am facing right now in trying to make the sell. I lean heavily towards single project, full adoption, or otherwise you miss some of the inherent benefits of tightly integrated change management tools.
Has anyone already faced this problem? Any suggestions, recommendations for successful deployment/rollouts as well as ideas in evangelizing of the platform?