... but are there any interesting standards/projects related to the next steps that we should look at?
Yeah, the Eclipse ALF (Application Lifecycle Framework) project is pretty interesting. The focus is on gettting various tools to provide semi-standard SOA interfaces so that it is relatively easy to get various tools to talk to each other. That opens the door to nice tool to tool integration. ALF also provides a service flow feature to allow users to script commands to tools in response to events in other tools.
Getting test tools, bug tracking, source control, and build all on the same page is important and something industry players care about even if we're not doing well at making it happen yet. Seeing some open source projects (svn is somewhat involved) join ALF might be nice..
I think CI changed the game. To the point where even if the project has just a single developer, its worth having the project formally implement CI using the organizations shared build process/server(s) for publishing builds.
Definately, but I think when a single developer is doing that, they are just implementing some build management and continuous feedback. An easy trap to fall in to is to believe that once an organization has installed something like Cruise they 'have CI'. They don't. They have an application running builds and sending out feedback regularly. CI requires that developers are checking in regularly, don't tolerate a broken build, etc.
All a tool can do is make it easier to implement a good process (I hate that word) but at the end of the day, the development team is either integrating continuously or not. Tools aren't required.
We've used CI for a good few years and the payback is huge, no more fingers being crossed when a release is built, no more "Well it worked/built on my machine", predictable improvement of product as build numbers increase etc.. etc..
I hear you. Actually, we're starting to think that the whole concept of a 'release build' is a bit silly. Pretty much anything built on the authoritative build machine should be able to be converted in a release build. How do you know it's time to do a release build? When the developers claim some set of of build artifacts contain all the fixes for the release and QA doesn't disagree. You could go back and run the release build process against some source control tags, or have check-in freezes, but what you really want to do is run another process to make the set of artifacts that you already have and have tested into a release.
I'll stop here before I turn this into a product advertisement :)