Building an Agile Ecoystem

Michael Vizard

The way companies tend to operate when it comes to developing new products is changing in two fundamental ways.

The first is that IT, and especially software, is critical to just about every aspect of the business. The second fundamental change is in the way new products are developed. Instead of spending huge amounts of time and money on internal research efforts, there's a greater emphasis on acquiring emerging products developed outside the company.

This approach allows companies to mitigate risks of developing new products. The challenge, of course, is integrating the development work from disparate development teams.

This is what makes the recent acquisition of Codesion by Collabnet worth noting. Collabnet makes an application lifecycle management offering designed specifically to deal with agile application development methodologies. Codesion provides a cloud computing platform for developers based on Subversion, an open source version control system that is closely tied to agile development methodologies. Collabnet funded the development of Subversion and earlier this year acquired Danube, which created the ScrumWorks Pro application lifecycle management platform around Subversion.

According to Collabnet CEO Bill Portelli, one of the things that Collabnet is trying to foster is the creation of an agile development ecosystem. In the view of Collabnet, small teams of developers will use Codesion to create applications. As those offerings mature, companies will invariably want to acquire the technologies. If they are using either ScrumWorks Pro or the Collabnet ALM framework, integrating those projects will be easier because a common methodology for creating and managing applications will already be in place.

In short, Collabnet is trying to foster the development of a marketplace around its ALM frameworks. There's no doubt that this is an ambitious effort. But if Collabnet succeeds in seeding that environment, the big companies will surely start to investigate not only the applications being developed by startup companies, but also the platform used to build them.

And as that happens, a vibrant market for intellectual capital based on agile development methodologies might come into being.

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