Hi. I'd appreciate some help from real people who are working with software configuration management tools.
I'm writing an article for the new magazine, Software Test and Performance (http://stpmag.com); the new publication is coming from the same folks who do Software Development Times (http://www.sdtimes.com), where I'm a contributing editor. I have the bizarre idea that it should reflect what people who work in the field actually _do_.
I've been asked to compile a short list of "best practices" for configuration management tools - though personally I think of it as "the things I wish I knew before I got into this." Or, maybe, "If you had someone to help you when you started with this kind of software, what do you wish they'd told you?"
Note that I'm not looking for anything that's product- or vendor-specific. (I don't *hate* the idea, but tool-specific stuff isn't useful to people not using that particular tool.) For example, what advice would you offer to someone who hasn't yet chosen a tool? What REALLY DUMB MISTAKE do you wish that you had learned from someone _else's_ experience? What are the unforeseen problems that messed up your development or deployment schedule? I want to compile a list of five-or-so pithy points (not the "read the manual" stuff -- don't you hate stupid articles like that?) which I hope will really help other folks like you.
Feel free to contact me privately (firstname.lastname@example.org), though I'll do my best to check in here as well. It'd be cool if I can quote you by name and company affiliation, but I don't mind being vague ("says Kim, a developer for a midwest insurance company") if that's necessary.
(Also, it's cool if you forward this message to other developers. I need to have input by Monday, January 26, 2004 in order to get my article done on time -- so don't bother answering after that date.)
writing for Software Test & Performance (at the moment, anyway)
I see our biggest problem is not everyone using the tool is following procedure. If you dont have all the important parties buy in and someone to enforce with real power the tool is not so usefull. Maybe thats obvious.