Designers & Developers within the ALM / TFS vision.

What Wikipedia says about ALM:

Application lifecycle management (ALM) is the marriage of business management to software engineering made possible by tools that facilitate and integrate requirements management, architecture, coding, testing, tracking, and release management.

Like most people know, Microsoft supports this with their Team Foundation system.

VS2010

This is very cool and keeps getting better and better. And with the introduction of Blend 3 (The tool for creating interfaces & prototypes in WPF or Silverlight) Microsoft is extending this towards application design. And this progress is where I have a special interest in.

TFS supports different roles within their ALM vision. Project Managers, Testers, Architects, Developers, etc… There have been very much attention towards specializing the tooling towards the specific needs of the roles within ALM. And now they’ve added Blend to this.

I am currently spending a lot of time trying to integrate User Experience Design in this ALM vision, with primarily using Microsoft technology. And yet I still haven’t figured out how exactly Blend fits in the process. I mean, it’s a really great tool, and I do like to work with it, but when you look at how it must fit within your development process, it’s hard to tell where to place it.

ExpressionBlend3PhotoshopImportFeature_web I know for a fact that a lot of Designers aren’t really enthusiastic about it. Why is that? Because you can’t really design in it. Microsoft knows this and that’s why they created the Photoshop and Illustrator import in Blend 3. I also know that Developers try to avoid using Blend, because they like to prevent a tool that will alter their code, markups or projects.

So that means to me that there are only two roles possibly using Blend. Interaction Designers and/or Integrators. And now I am wondering if this is actually part a of ALM. And does it need to be a part of it. How do you work together as designers and developers. And how do you do this with TFS, using Blend.

I’ve seen some great ideas, but every project so far (including projects within Microsoft) does it their own way. There is no real thought on how to work together.

Maybe it’s time to refine all these technologies, patterns and project guidance’s and set up a good way for letting the User Experience part collaborate within the Application Lifecycle Management.

I’ll get back on this.

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