I have to agree with Jeff’s blog that the seperation of the VS2005 product line into architect, developer, and tester may make sense from the point of view of MS’s development model, but a lot of shops just don’t seperate the roles in this way.
Now my current team – XP and four of us – may not represent the target market for Team System as we probably can’t afford it and would have to persist with open source equivalents at those prices. But MS has a right to make a profit and my concern is not the pricing, it is the bundling. Because we are small and XP we all do design, development, and testing all the time. So we need access to the suite of tools. We all use VS2003, Cruise Control, NUnit, NCover, Nant, NMock, NUnitForms, VSS (though we may switch to Subversion), Visio for UML etc. So dividing up the tool suite into different VS editions does not make sense to us. For us it would make mush more sense to see the Team System products seperately to Visual Studio, so we could get the ones we needed. By all means offer discounted bundles like Developer, Tester, and Architect, but let’s make it possible to buy the whole suite or just one or two parts. Surely MS could get more revenue from that?
I have worked for larger teams too. Even there the architect-developer mix frequently did not exist and although a seperate test team was common, unit testing and coverage were still developer responsibilities. The roles are a product of the methodology as much as the size. In addition although I work in a small team we are part of a large enterprise, which must be the target market. Large enterprises will have small teams using Agile methods on projects. Those teams will not find their roles meshing with those identitied in the pricing.
I don’t want the bundling decisions made by sales and marketing to dictate how I organize my team. So can we rethink?