Quick Look: VersionOne
Project management, .NET-style.
VersionOne is a product designed to help support agile development in
medium to large groups of developers. The idea is to provide support for
tracking releases, tasks, iterations, and software quality, while not
adding burden to developers using agile methodologies such as Extreme
Programming. A Web-based application designed to be deployed on your own
organization's servers, it's written in C#/ASP.NET and is targeted to
help agile methods gain acceptance within Microsoft-centric organizations.
I talked this week with Robert Holler, the President of VersionOne. He
tells me that VersionOne has a twofold aim. First, there's helping the
developers keep track of what's going on with a project. Second, there's
providing visibility into the process for management, to help on the planning
side of projects using iterative development. The software makes it easy
to tell what's going on and to estimate where the project stands, without
requiring a ton of data entry.
If you've got a small team (say, half a dozen developers), VersionOne
doesn't even want to sell you the product. At that level of development,
you can do your planning by getting the whole team around the whiteboard,
and you should. But when you hit the 10-50 developer range (the target
market for VersionOne in its first release), and you start needing visibility
into the project for marketing and management, you'll need a tool to help:
at that point, the logistics of gathering around the whiteboard get insurmountable.
VersionOne tries to keep the same quick, informal planning process while
making it distributed and asynchronous. Think of this as a way to scale
up agile methods to larger organizations.
A second goal here is to help developers bridge the gap between where
they are today and where they might like to be in the future. Being a
Microsoft-centric application, the hope is that VersionOne can help developers
make the case for changing the process. It's an interesting thought, and
one that bears keeping track of.
Future plans include issue and defect management, enhanced requirements
management, and specialized versions for XP and Scrum (two of the most
popular agile methodologies). You can get more information or give the
product a free test-drive online by visiting the company's Web site.
Mike Gunderloy, MCSE, MCSD, MCDBA, is a former MCP columnist and the author of numerous development books.