Is Microsoft’s ‘Democratic’ ALM really a ‘Republican’ Party Reptile?

Microsoft’s Visual Studio Team System (VSTS) 2010 and the .NET Framework 4.
Written by Adrian Bridgwater, Contributor

Microsoft’s Visual Studio Team System (VSTS) 2010 and the .NET Framework 4.0 have already garnered media attention from ZDNet and many other media sources.

Codenamed ‘Rosario’, according to Microsoft the new product is capable of ‘democratising’ application lifecycle management (ALM) by uniting the members of a development shop from, “The core developers and testers to the wider team of project managers, designers and business analysts.”

There are, admittedly, new collaborative modelling tools aimed at techies and non-techies (let’s call them “civilians” for fun) in this next iteration of everyone’s favourite (or not) developer tools and platform. They do indeed feature UML and Domain Specific Language support and sit alongside Microsoft’s Oslo repository, tools and language.

As previously reported, there are also new testing capabilities and new workflow-focused wizardries for Windows converts to gorge on. But is ‘democratisation’ a dangerous word to use?

Apart from Bill Gates’ own admirable philanthropic efforts, Microsoft is perhaps not immediately associated with being the most altruistic company on the planet.

I’m not up for a political debate, but quite apart from jarring with me as one of the key themes of this week’s announcement, perhaps software application development should not be an essentially egalitarian process anyway. That’s why team leaders, project managers and CIOs exist isn’t it?

A sceptic might suggest that this is not democratisation at all and that this is spreading a wider penetration of Microsoft technologies more deeply into the organisation – and that this ultimately puts more power in the hands of management, which may not always be a good thing.

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