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Are there any tools for Process?

 
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I was wondering if there are any tools out there for 'Process'???
 
(instanceof Sidekick)
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If you mean tools to support a particular software development methodology, there are many. Some lock you into the methodology more than others. The Rational Suite (now renamed by IBM ... what is it today?) includes Rose for modeling, ReqPro for requirements management, ClearQuest defect tracking, ClearCase ? version management, WSAD (now RAD?) for development, everything they could afford to buy and integrate to some degree. They document how to work the tools and RUP together, but you could use the tools however you see fit.

Borland is working towards the same kind of coverage with Caliber tools and their own IDE.

And the agile folks use white boards and tons of index cards. Seriously, you can get by with really low tech tools, too.
 
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Originally posted by Stan James:
And the agile folks use white boards and tons of index cards. Seriously, you can get by with really low tech tools, too.



Actually, I think they are often more effective than high tech. One of the most important parts of software development is still human interaction, and high tech tends to get more in the way than foster that.

Here is a nice example (I'm referring to the section starting with "Here's a challenge"). See also http://www.xprogramming.com/xpmag/Etudes.htm#N31
 
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When it comes to human interaction, you might find Inclusive Modeling to be of interest.

When it comes to tools to describe a process, IRIS Process Author is an option. So is an HTML editor, as I think I've shown at the EUP, Agile Modeling, and Agile Data sites.

- Scott
 
Naina Si
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Thank you all for your inputs.
 
Ilja Preuss
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Originally posted by Scott Ambler:
When it comes to human interaction, you might find Inclusive Modeling to be of interest.



Nice page. The link to http://www.agilemodeling.com/artifacts/freeFormDiagram.htm doesn't seem to work, though.
 
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To me, this is kind of like asking, "Are there any tools out there for cooking?"

There are clearly tools -- including, as has been mentioned, pencil and paper -- that probably help solve some problem in Process. (And cooking, too -- to write down recipes.)

The question for me is: <em>What problem are you trying to solve</em>? That, to me, ranks highly as a possibility as being in the same league as the question begged by the answer "42." No one asks that question enough, and we have far too many answers in the absence of any question giving it context.

That doesn't seem to stop people from trying, though.

In the Organizational Patterns Book project we analyzed failure symptoms and were able to trace most of them back to communication failures. We undertook a broad study of organizational communication. Yes, we used tools -- social network analysis tools -- and they were useful. However, these days we are also teaching people that they can make a lot of progress without tools.

The key activity is introspection.

One more parting thought: The problem rarely lies with process. Process is just a (rather unstable) artifact of organizational structure, and that is a (somewhat stable) artifact of values and principles. (See any book on systems thinking, including the exemplary <em>Becoming a Learning Organization</em> by Swieringa and Wierdsma.) Process tools--tools that look at process (the partial ordering of events and tasks) are remarkably unusable, because you're studying noise. That's why our patterns (are those tools?) are organizational patterns and not process patterns. Study organizational structure and you'll understand the problem. Study process and you'll understand only the symptoms.

Just ask anyone who's been through an ISO 9001 audit.

[ May 03, 2005: Message edited by: James Coplien ]
[ May 03, 2005: Message edited by: James Coplien ]
 
Ilja Preuss
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Originally posted by James Coplien:
To me, this is kind of like asking, "Are there any tools out there for cooking?"

There are clearly tools -- including, as has been mentioned, pencil and paper -- that probably help solve some problem in Process. (And cooking, too -- to write down recipes.)



It seems to be quite common in our profession, though, to first look for an automated canteen kitchen that will make it unecessary to hire a chef. Even if all you want is some fried potatoes... <sigh>
 
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