Microsoft, Borland Offer Process Guidance for Developers

Microsoft unveils two new process templates for the Visual Studio 2005 Team System's Microsoft Solutions Framework, while Borland's Process Optimization Practice gains steam.

As developer demand for process guidance continues to grow, tool makers such as Microsoft Corp. and Borland Software Corp. are answering the call with new offerings.

Microsoft Wednesday announced it will be offering two new process templates with the Visual Studio 2005 Team Systems MSF (Microsoft Solutions Framework) to help enterprise developers get started with various development processes. One is the MSF for CMMI (Capability Maturity Model Integration) Process Improvement template and the other is MSF for Agile Software Development.

Microsoft made the announcements at the Software Engineering Process Group conference this week in Seattle. Microsoft also announced its collaboration with the Software Engineering Institute, or SEI, a federally funded research center run out of Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh.

"We based our work on some of the stuff the SEI is doing to help developers with processes, principles and practice," said Prashant Sridharan, senior product manager for Visual Studio Team System. "The process guidance overlaps on top of the [VSTS] tool. Were building in process as part of the product."

Sridharan said Microsoft is seeing demand for process guidance from early adopters of VSTS, "from both corporate customers and ISVs. Its quite surprising. I knew process guidance was important, but this [demand] really does validate our early decisions around Visual Studio Team System."

Meanwhile, some of Microsofts industry and systems integrator partners said they plan to base solutions on the MSF.

"In regards to the Microsoft announcement, the just-in-time and just-enough process guidance through the IDE [integrated development environment] is key," said Omid Hodaie, CEO of Osellus Inc, a Toronto-based Microsoft partner that produces Iris, an enterprise-class application that automates software development processes.

"We have been working closely with the Microsoft development team since before the announcement of VSTS at last years TechEd [conference]," Hodaie said. "We will be shipping a new version of Iris when VSTS comes out later this year that allows VSTS customers to define or tailor their standard processes in Iris and then export them to VSTS (as a process template) for enactment. This means that VSTS customers will not have to limit themselves to the two versions of MSF that will be shipped with VSTS. Every customer will need a process that is slightly different. With Iris, they create those derivative processes."

Sridharan said in addition to CMMI and Agile processes, Microsoft will support ISO (International Organization for Standardization) and Extreme programming processes.

Meanwhile, Borland Tuesday announced that its Process Optimization Practice has signed 15 new customers since its formation in January.

/zimages/4/28571.gifClick here to read about Borlands new software delivery platform.

In January, Borland acquired TeraQuest Metrics Inc., an Austin, Texas, process optimization consultancy, and named TeraQuest co-founder Bill Curtis, co-author of the software CMM, as Borlands first chief process officer.

During this quarter Borland signed Certegy Check Services, a division of Certegy Inc., Indus Corp., and Scientific Games International Inc.

"Borland is helping us ensure that our custom processes are the right ones for our business, helping us mitigate the pain points in our software delivery practices, as well as expedite our measurement and analysis efforts," said Mike Murphy, director of process management for Scientific Games, in a statement. "We have had a great experience thus far with Borland, and were especially pleased to see the company add a chief process officer to its executive staff. This shows their understanding of just how important process is to software delivery today."

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