Agile ALM Traceability – is it good thing or is it Evil?

Well – just like a lot of things – the answer to this question is: it depends.  🙂

As part of being part of a larger software company it's my job to continuously learn more and more about the larger CollabNet family.  One of the things I have spent a lot of time on is the interplay between our new product stack and how to articulate it to customers that have an intermediate understanding of why it is that you can't live without us. 

Although there are plenty of buzz words floating around these days within the Agile space, "traceability" is one I hear at customer meetings ranging from North America to Europe to India.  In fact, it's one of the words I use to describe our product stack. The pitch usually starts:

"Imagine – if you will – a world where you can have visibility from code to program management – from user story to authored documents and back."  

So – what's wrong with this?  Often times just as many get excited as cringe.  What is it that makes traceability as creepy as James Gosling's interpretation of working for Larry Ellison.  Well – it's the concept of micromeasurement:  abuse, command and control, and a reason not to have daily face to face conversations.  Now that I can show you source code to program management – what is it that you intend to do with that information? 

Is your company interested in traceability?  Do you think that folks interested in traceability are interested in making things better by driving durable competitive advantages or as an excuse for micromeasurement?

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