Corné Human Archive

Welcome to part two of our blog series on change visualization and Peer Reviews (Click here to read part one). We’ll look at how peer reviews will help developers gain confidence in the release readiness of their work and be empowered to share best practices between peers.

With a focus on the developer experience in Dimensions CM 14, Serena believes that Peer Reviews can unlock the potential of team members to share their learning and encourage teamwork, without becoming a hindrance and burden to getting actual work done.  We find that many organizations want to implement peer review, but struggle to find a good way to start. By streamlining this process within Dimensions CM we are making it accessible to development teams inside the tools that they use every day, making it easy for organizations to adopt this development best practice.

Dimensions CM Peer ReviewThe integrated Peer Review feature optimizes your code review process, improves team collaboration and drives development efficiency and quality. Peer reviews are automatically created and assigned to the right developers, enabling efficient communication and collaboration using a configurable workflow. Reviewers are provided with a checklist to ensure that coding standards and regulatory compliance are achieved. CM’s approach to peer review emphasizes both collaborative team work and the promotion of your development best practices.

Peer Review is often provided by a tool that is separate from your change and configuration management software, leading to multiple tools/interfaces that your developers need to use.  With the introduction of collaborative peer review as an integrated value added feature contained within Dimensions CM, we can seamlessly integrate peer reviews with the rest of the development process.  When making decisions about the release readiness of code, access to peer review status within the IDE gives developers confidence as they move code through the development process.

Dimensions CM Peer Review InterfaceWe wanted to create a Peer Review user interface that was modern and social, making it easy for reviewers to exchange comments including screenshots, links, lists etc.  But we also wanted to provide a high degree of process and control.  So the rules around when a review can complete are highly configurable; a full audit trail is recorded and we even provide a review checklist of standards and compliance items to be completed during the review.  This focus on process allows us to meet the needs of customers working in highly-regulated or lightweight environments in an accessible way.

The Dimensions CM 14 Beta 2 release is now available for those customers who’d like to try out the new Peer Review and/or Changesets features with opportunity to provide direct feedback. Simply email us by clicking here and we’ll send you the simple license agreement to complete before we send you links for the software download.

We also invite existing customers to join the Serena Dimensions CM 14 preview program. After registering your application to join this program, Serena will invite you to our various preview webinars and sneak peeks as we work our way towards final release in April 2014. Visit this link to register your interest:


Two of the most highly anticipated areas of new development for Dimensions CM 14 are change visualization and peer reviews. Taken as individual new capability areas, these features represent a massive stride forward for our flagship SCCM solution.  And when combined together, they will redefine the way Dimensions CM users think about parallel development and agile practices. In this two-part blog, we’ll talk about Change Visualization first and then follow up with a look at Peer Reviews.

Traditionally, Serena has excelled at providing control and insight into the development process for stakeholders, such as release managers, business analysts, auditors and quality assurance managers. With Dimensions CM 14, we wanted to bring similar value to every member of the development team.

An advanced implementation of changesets gives developers much greater visibility into changes and allows almost instant creation of projects, streams and baselines. Changesets give developers the freedom to manage and merge changes safely. They also provide release managers with the control and visibility they require to create stable releases.

Developers often need to know what changed where and why in order to diagnose a problem or discover why some functionality is broken or has changed.  The Changeset View does just that.  It not only shows which team members are delivering changes to which features and branches of code but it also gives further insight into the “health” of those changes (did they build and pass their unit tests, who performed the peer review of the change, did it pass peer review and what was checked during the review etc.)

We wanted to add features that would make a developer’s daily life easier, rather than traditional change and configuration management features which are often viewed as “getting in the way” of the developer’s work.

Dimensions CM 14 introduces an innovative graphical view of change history and streams across multiple releases. This gives developers and release managers a visual understanding of what changes are being worked on, where, and why. Tight coupling with continuous integration tools, such as Jenkins, provides feedback on the health of changes and real time indication of release readiness based on build and test status. These results are linked to the changesets in CM and enable you to make decisions based on the quality of the builds. Now you can monitor all your streams of development and changesets at a glance. Without switching tools you can easily review the health of your changes ahead of further development or release activities.

The implementation of changesets, together with Change Visualization, significantly improves development team performance, considerably simplifies the management of  stream-based development, and provides actionable insight into the health of each development or release stream.

Look out for more from Serena in this area – the Changeset Graph is just the first step! We will be adding further information about changes, their dependencies and their health/release readiness.  Another area we’re investigating is improving the process and visibility of branching by making it easier to start a new branch of development, eg. provisioning the required tools and environment. Even further out, we’d like to explore opportunities to simplify and automate the merging of branches.

Stay tuned for part two of this blog series where we’ll take a look at the upcoming Peer Review capabilities in Dimensions CM 14. If you are an existing Dimensions CM user, we invite you to join the Serena Dimensions CM 14 Preview Program. After registering your application to join this program, Serena will invite you to our various preview webinars and sneak peeks as we work our way towards final release in April 2014. Register your interest in the program!

Dimensions CM 14 Changeset GraphSerena announced the Dimensions CM 14 Preview Program in a press release today, which aims to give existing customers deeper engagement with the product, in the lead up to release in April 2014. Innovations within Dimensions CM 14 extends the product’s established leadership position in performance, scalability and security, in addition to driving advances in exciting new areas such as change and branch visualization as well as support for mobile development. A private Beta Program has been running since May of this year and initial reaction from customers has been extremely positive.

Software development is a complex practice and Dimensions CM 14 goes to great lengths to simplify some of the toughest problems facing development teams. For example, the innovative approach to changesets and wizard-driven merging simplifies parallel development through our new low cost, high speed branch provisioning and baselining capabilities. This gives developers the freedom to manage changes safely in isolation, without sacrificing the control and visibility required by release managers to bring these changes together into a coherent release.

Distributed teams building multi variant software within shorter delivery cycles has become the norm. With Dimensions CM 14 developers and release managers are empowered to better understand what changes are being worked on and manage the streams of incoming requests and updates. The state-of-the-art ability to visualize changes and code branches across multiple projects, platforms and locations will enable teams to streamline the delivery of code changes in a process that is consistent and easily managed. Visual change history facilitates contextual and meaningful cross-team collaboration. Direct integration with popular continuous integration tools further ensure that release readiness and the health of builds are instantly visible at all times.

Developers of mobile apps will be excited to learn about the new Subversion bridging capability, which enables Dimensions CM clients to support integrations built for Subversion, including xCode and AppCelerator. A new annotation view will enable teams to analyze the historic context of code changes down to the specific lines of code. This capability greatly improves trouble shooting and reduces the risks associated with updating legacy code. In addition, new integrated peer review capabilities will ensure that only the highest quality change submissions end up as part of the build. Dimension CM’s approach to peer review emphasizes team work and the sharing of best practices, which in turn promotes “good citizenship” amongst developers.

Dimensions CM 14 is not just good news for developers. Administrators will appreciate the simplified approach to global enterprise rollout and upgrades. The automatic upgrade of clients and agents will make Dimensions CM 14 the easiest release ever to keep up to date. Beta Program participants are already reporting 10 times faster file retrieval over previous versions, using the new Personal Library Cache Directory (PLCD) technology over a WAN.

The newly announced Preview Program is designed to further extend our customer validation efforts, ensuring value for developers and administrators alike, in addition to bringing to market a high quality release. Upon approval of your registration, Serena will provide further details of the Preview Program, such as invitation-only Webinars, early product demonstrations and an opportunity to enroll in the Open Beta program.

Tasktop logoSerena has entered into a strategic relationship with Tasktop Technologies where our joint solutions will be extremely valuable to customers that want to integrate SBM with third-party ALM environments.

Our customers need Serena solutions to work seamlessly with other tools in the ALM ecosystem.  Integrating with Tasktop allows us to offer those connections without having to build and maintain every one of those connectors ourselves, so it’s the perfect win-win combination!

Serena Software and Tasktop combined solutions will:

  • Enable SBM to easily co-exist within complex ALM environments.
  • Extend the ALM reach and integration options (over 40 vendors!) open to Serena customers.
  • Reduce the risk of adoption and integration of multiple ALM systems for customers.
  • Streamline the integration of work item driven development in the IDE’s with SBM’s work orchestration capabilities.

Working with Tasktop is also a cost-effective solution to provide future proof integrations for Serena’s customers.  There are two major functional components to the solution:

  • Tasktop Dev – integrates SBM-based work items with the Visual Studio and Eclipse IDE’s.
  • Tasktop Sync – keeps SBM artefacts in sync with third-party ALM repositories (for example, defects in HP QC or Change Requests in JIRA).

The initial release of our SBM connector for Tasktop is expected by the end of September.  It will cover most of the basic use cases for browsing work items in SBM from within the IDE.  Plus, users will be able to keep SBM-hosted work items in sync with other supported ALM systems using Tasktop Sync.  We expect to deliver a follow up connector release towards the end of 2013, which will complete the full targeted functionality.  Stay tuned for more details!  See the Serena/Tasktop Partnership story in eWeek.

Tags: ALM