Dimensions CM 14 Reveals Change Visualization and Peer Reviews (part 1 of 2)

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.

Dimensions CM 14 Graph View

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!

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