Technology meets needs 
Friday, July 15, 2005, 12:30 AM - CMMI, CMMI Implementation, Technology, Technology Ideas
If you have read one of my first postings (CMMI first post ) you know I have been looking for the right tools for the job up till now. It seems the search is almost over and I have found a solution that will require little or no programming effort and will allow to achieve the goals set forth in the earlier posting.

The solution I have in mind combines the latest Office technology from Microsoft to deliver flexible and easy to use system.

1. SharePoint Services
2. InfoPath
3. SQL Server
4. Word
5. Excel

The idea is to organize the various artifacts in SharePoint to utilize its facilities for:

- organizing data in various views (grouped by, filtered, with only relevant information displayed)
- easy access via web interface
- provision for integration with Office, SQL Server and virtually all other MS Technology
- ability to version data

InfoPath provides means for editing structured data i.e. has advantage over Excel and Word with

- strong formatting i.e. users cannot involuntarily corrupt the format/schema
- validation facilities
- multiple views on data
- ability to sign documents electronically, important for documents that pass through review cycles
- ability to integrate with external data sources

SQL Server is of course providing facility for keeping data in a format that is easy to query, aggregate and analyze

Word and Excel are going to be used as report/result presentation tools.

The Big Picture


So far I had elaborated initial vision of the solution and only high level architecture.

In short we need:

1. Process Asset Library - holding different organizational process artifacts
2. Project Measurement Repository Ė this will hold the measurements we collect.
3. Per project repositories where project records will be held along with the projects defined processes
4. Additional data Ė these will be different lists with clients, contacts, suppliers, training & qualification records



The basic workflow for a contracted project will be:

1. Plan the project:

a. Input project summary info (planned cost, size, effort)
b. Create Project Repository
c. Create Projectís Defined process

2. Summarize milestone i.e. allocated engineers, planned and actual milestone data (effort, # defects, # change requests)

3. Complete the project

a. Enter completed project actual values and lessons learned, problem root cause analysis
b. Summarize the projects process specifics into the PAL as needed


Well this is what I am working on now. Once I make the complete solution from technology and requirements I will post more details.

I am also going to look at what the MS Team system is like as it may be just too similar to what I am doing. I am a bit afraid that it is going to be too much Microsoft Centric and integrated with Visual Studio, which of course is not good for .Net free projects.



Thanks for reading :)

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Great SharePoint demo/tutorial 
Monday, July 11, 2005, 11:41 AM - Technology, Technology publications
Microsoft had published FabriKam DVD, a very nice SharePoint demo/tutorial with complete applications and several components that can be reused including ADSI integration and SQLXML web services.

http://msdn.microsoft.com/fabrikam

The DVD can be ordered from MS site or can alternatively be downloaded from MSDN subscriber downloads.
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Going international 
Wednesday, July 6, 2005, 11:11 PM - Personal
I am very happy over the last three days I have had lots of visitors from all over the world. I hope the visits were worth the time. See statistics below


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Microsoft Solutions Framework for CMMI 
Tuesday, July 5, 2005, 02:38 PM - CMMI, CMMI Publications
This is very interesting Microsoft's new MSF will be developed with the guidelines of CMMI in mind. This is great as it will arm the Microsoft community with suitable tools for the job, hopefully making great push in software quality.

I am a bit afraid that this may not actually work as planned, but at least the direction is right.

See MSF for CMMI

Indeed the whole site of David Anderson is very interesting, see Agile Management
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Reality Bites: donít trust paper signs and business software 
Tuesday, July 5, 2005, 02:24 PM - Personal
I have recently been doing interviews for hiring software developers and software test engineers. Some of the interviewees were good professionals some not, however what amazed me is the lack of maturity in some of the organizations at which some of the candidates worked. Surprisingly enough these organizations were not small shops doing web sites for under 50$ per piece. I summarized the information I gathered in these interviews to make people aware of software reality.

The first shocking experience I had was during the second interview of a software engineer working at one of the major Bulgarian banks. They use software supplied by huge CMMI 5 certified Indian company, specialized in banking software. The Indian company had sent two engineers full time to support the system throughout the branches of the bank. As the engineer explained the guys were extremely helpful, friendly, knowledgeable and willing to help. She then started telling me that form time to time that the software will fail. Well I thought this is normal, it happens with all software. Then she told me how the issues get resolved. Basically she would call the Indian guys they would fix the software in couple of hours and put it as pilot in some of the bank branches. If it then runs ok for couple of days they install it in all branches. Then she started telling me about program improvements and changes and again repeated the deployment flow. She also added that it had happened sometimes that the program will fail in some of the branches and then it is really hectic process to repair the corrupted data. Was I shocked, in my 8 year experience in various companies none of them having any CMMI seal I had never seen such vivid demonstration of profanity and lack of responsibility. Not only were changes to the software made in an obviously uncontrolled manner, not only was validation and verification of any kind missing, but risk of failures was directly transferred to completely unaware end users having their savings at stake.

Few weeks later I interviewed software quality assurance engineer working for mid sized German company supplying reservation software to some of the biggest European airlines. The company at least in his words followed strictly Rational Unified Process. We had discussion on how long it takes to test particular project release and how he would estimate the effort needed to test particular project. To my amazement the QA expert told me that they release their software weekly with the changes that customers had asked for during the previous week and within one week or less they implement changes to functionality performed tests within a day and deployed the new version on Monday. He added that in several cases they had to rollback production servers during working hours as software failed. He then added that customers are pushing for quick releases and testing the application thoroughly would cost a lot. I were then thinking of all the frustrated people that lost their reservation data, missed a flight or in best case had to spend couple of days to make a simple reservation.

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