If you ever worked in a project where a scaling factor applies (see the scaling factors description
), you know that an appropriate tooling can help a lot. To deliver a software-intensive system, agile teams need to collaborate efficiently in a complex environment. In many cases, a white board with sticky notes is not enough, so teams adopt specific tools according to their needs for iteration management, test automation, or continuous integration (just to name a few).
If you have experience in software-intensive system delivery, you also know that when your tool set is not adapted to the needs of your team, it becomes a barrier to adopting agile practices. Agile is a highly collaborative approach to software development. If your different tools are not integrated, you are wasting time managing the links between project assets manually instead of focusing on creating working software. I have seen many projects using spreadsheets or wiki pages to compensate for the lack of integration between their development tasks, business needs, design assets, and quality management systems. It is a time consuming and error prone process. And when you need to figure out the impact of a changing requirement on a piece of code, it takes hours where it should only take minutes.
Open Services for Lifecycle Collaboration (OSLC
) is an open community creating specifications for integrating tools. These specifications allow conforming independent software and product lifecycle tools to integrate their data and workflows in support of end-to-end lifecycle processes.
With OSLC, your team can link elements from your defect tracking tool, your requirements management tool, your test management tools, and your design management tool. You may argue that traceability already exists with tooling platforms provided by some vendors. True. But what if you have a task tracking tool from vendor A and a test management tool from vendor B? Then integration no longer exists, or relies on some proprietary mechanisms. Do you really want to restrain your options to one unique vendor.
OSLC specifies a minimum amount of protocol to allow independent tools to work together relatively seamlessly. You can have quality management tools from vendor A and decide to use requirements tools from vendor B. Both will be integrated if they comply to OSLC. And later one, you will also be able to acquire another OSLC tools from vendor C without compromising your lifecycle integration.
So how does OSLC help agile team? Simply by enabling integration between lifecycle tools. If your team members must collaborate, your tools must work together too. Integrated tools help agile teams react quickly to changes and deliver software frequently.
(Watch the IBM OSLC video on YouTube for more details: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B2vqL8fujgE