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Is it too much to ask for when I ask the IT department to give my development team an environment where we can use whatever software that we can download without having to have security check those tools?

Of course, the software can be checked by security before deploying to Test, and the development environment can be on a VLAN that is not accessible from outside. This would greatly aid us by allowing us to use whatever open-source testing tools that we want.

I'm asking because we have such tight restrictions on the software approval process, and I hear of other teams that have an environment where they can configure their local server however they want and they can use whatever tools they want. What's the norm out there?

Thank you for any comments!

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migrated from Jun 8 '11 at 13:09

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4 Answers 4

up vote 9 down vote accepted

It really depends on who you work for, and what their policies are. If you work for an open-source shop, you probably have broad powers over your machine. If you work for the military, you probably have squat.

So there is no normative standard that you can point to and say, "See, this is how everyone else is doing it."

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Is it too much to ask ... an environment where we can use whatever software that we can download without having to have security check those tools? Short answer: Yes.

If you're "doing" Scrum properly, then you'll be producing Production-ready code every a couple of sprints; four weeks may not be anywhere near long enough for this downloaded Thing-a-ma-jig to be checked out - by whoever needs to do that checking. If that includes your company's legal team, expect a long lead time.

Also, I would say that "security checking" is only part of your problem.
In my experience, "pure Development" teams all too often forget that whatever they develop has to be supported, so your Support team(s) will have to get up to speed with this latest and greatest piece of whatever-it-is, before they can commit to taking calls about it from angry customers, if and when it stops working.

If you deliver Sprint 11 using utility #1 and then, in Sprint 13, decide to shift to utility #2 and then, again, in Sprint 17 to utility #3 then you, as a Development team, can forget about utilities #1 and #2 (you're never going to need them again) but your Support Team(s) may be stuck supporting all three.

Not a good way to make Friends and Influence people, I would suggest.

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For many tools, what development uses has no consequence regarding what support uses. Also most shops with onerous security/legal policies are often waterfall shops. – whatsisname Sep 16 at 21:34

At one previous employer, there was a meeting for the company (around 17,000 employers) to approve software takes place every six months. If you're lucky, you get your request in the next meeting, and legal reports the meeting after that. Then IT has to approve it, which takes a few more weeks. All software must be tied to a specific business need for a project. Most projects last three months.

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Does this process have any relationship to why you said "previous employer"? – David Thornley Jun 7 '10 at 21:46
Not entirely unrelated. – Pete Kirkham Jun 8 '10 at 11:59
I assume that the company wasn't in the business of providing software as one of their products... – red tiger Jun 8 '10 at 13:07
That has to be one of the worst examples of a highly hierarchical organization. This effectively meant that you'd end up not doing or inefficiently doing a task for over half a year due to giant organizational obstacles. – Cthulhu Jun 8 '11 at 14:37

I would say that providing the development environment is isolated, then you shouldn't be restricted as to what you can install (within reason). Creativity can be severely hampered by policies!

If you are being restricted, what's to stop you from setting up a VM on your own machine, and putting whatever you want on that? Switch off the networking on the guest machine, and you should be free to download through your host machine and copy into the guest.

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This assumes you have the permissions or are allowed to install VM software. I'm not joking. – Sparky Jun 8 '10 at 1:02
That's a good option, except it would be nice to have a network that's connected to my co-workers' machines, so we can all share a source control server, etc. – red tiger Jun 8 '10 at 13:09

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