Tools and Teams
I recently saw a post on Twitter from the Great John Cutler on allow the team to pick the tools that they use to do the work. Generally, this is not a bad idea, but not necessarily a great idea either. It sort of depends.
My experience in companies that also have hardware parts associated with the software, each group selecting their tools comes at a great disadvantage when it comes to understanding the various work products as it moves through the organization. It is not possible for one team to see what the other team has done, when the tools are not connected, or each group selects what that individual group needs without consideration of the departments that are depending or associated with the work. In these cases, a product life cycle management tool that connects the various work departments and work packages can help tie all of these together. Consider a vehicle manufacturer that develops hardware along with software (not net based stuff but embedded real time applications on a hardware platform).
For an example, let’s consider a company as described above, and the test and verification department is using some specific tool, that nobody else has access. There is no way to see what has been completed, what has been found, and the severity unless somebody distills what their tools holds and sends this information to other departments. Contrast that with an enterprise level tool that connects the various work stations with the work, and any department or person with access can see the state of the work at any given time prior and after the work is done.
I think the one size fits all approach seldom works regarding team tools. To be sure the members of the individual teams should contribute to what the tool should look like, and how they would use that tool. However, we should not optimize one function area of the organization at the expense of the whole of the organization. The answer is it depends.
Check out PTC’s product life cycle tool – I do not own stock in the company, and have no monetary connection with the company but I have used their tools so many years ago.