Agile Development and TDD in Federal Government Projects – Part 2

by Administrator 23. November 2010 11:48


“The ECLSS maintains the thermal stability of the craft and provides a pressurized, habitable environment in the crew compartment for the crew and onboard avionics.”

Formalities were behind and we were moving forward...

We needed highest level of efficiently for this project to achieve its deadlines, we needed best practices.

Our office manager was on 24x7 schedule to set up success, she did miracles. In few days we had separate office area with big room around 2000 square feet, there was its own little kitchen, small isolated conference room and a little office for private life and to store paperwork, then she got some tropical shrubs from store and some of them were contributed by team members. It was sweet, it was done with heart.

At the separate front we were upgrading development workstation from 2 monitors to 3 monitors systems that could compile massive code in matter of minutes if needed. Our infrastructure folks were buffing up server so we could run 30-50 virtual servers and get environment set up in less than hour, if needed.

But a luxury of our big space was it walls, that is where we plan to set up our scram board and stick all necessary materials.

Before we even moved a firs box our President and CEO jumped in to Mini Cooper and in an hour later they got back with astonishing white 4x8 feet panel board from Home Depot to track our iterations and bag full of half a letter size heavy duty index cards. Welcome to a high tech! Dry eraser was the first available pens sitting on the top of the unopened box and we sliced board in to a few areas: Pending; Analysis; Development; Testing and Done. For those who do not know Agile Development might think of the stone age with white board management. Do not get us wrong we were operating on the full blown out cutting edge PMP methodology optimizes for performance, the scram board was communication tool, and believe us we all have iPhones, Droids and Windows Mobiles we know how geeks technology works. Subversion were already running and SharePoint team site was in place with Wiki updated on the fly.

While fun was taking place our admin was preparing separate closet for storing endless required paperwork.

The project room was laid out in a way that everyone was has enough privacy and there was a transparent fluent environment where information shared quickly safely and decisions were made of the fly. Team leads and management folks were sitting in one room with developers. All life was about project and about client, if you need privacy we had conference room and separate office with the door, chair, phone, PC and view from the window so you can privately chat or pay your bills.

Our working hours was officially from 9:00AM to 6:00PM but everyone has different commuting schedules and we had staff in the office from 5:30AM to 11:00PM with wide open communication window.

In a matter of just a few days we were moving forward on a yearlong project with two years of scope. Open heart and unbreakable enthusiasm for software development. 

To be continued ...



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Agile Development and TDD in Federal Government Projects - Part 1

by Administrator 23. November 2010 09:59


"A mathematician is a blind man in a dark room looking for a black cat which isn't there"
Charles R. Darwin (1809-1882)


Job Continent is wrapping up one of the project where we took the role of leading development team to deliver new version of federal budgeting software to a few government agencies. Names are not a point of this article, what we wanted to share with our readers is how Agile and Test Driven Development played main role in success of the final product ( just on a side note our prime was PPC, which is the great and honest company to work with if you are small business). Of course, the product itself needed a great visionary to promote it and we even happier that solution we have delivered helped him get solid base to secure over 20 million in funding for a next few years.

Let's  get to the software development part because it is more fun than blubbery about sales nirvana.

So just to give you quick overview we have inherited marvel of integration with diverse technology set that run on the Web with Microsoft platform, utilizes MS Office as it is core user data collection interface, adopts set of different technologies for data storage like XML, SQL, Content Management System and does our magic to create federal budget documents.

This does not sound different from average project that is pretty much could be found at any organization. What made this project a good fit to Agile and TDD is its ever evolving business logic, requirements that change on the fly and ridiculously low price tag... But hey, we are the Small Business that moves America forward, employs the Best Minds and proudly delivers so DOL Bureau of Labor Statistics could report to the whole world about our country's success.

What we have got at the beginning?

-          Some version of archived source code that did not compile. Parts of the code were in VB parts in C# and a few parts were missing, so developers would have fun cracking DLLs with Reflector;

-          Version of database that matched business logic somewhat, with old data and missing stored procs;

-          Wild time line with our estimates cut literally in half and totally unrealistic expectations on the client side.

Among  the good thing was that we were working from our office, we do not require developers to dress up like business models, could turn music as loud as we can, we could sit in quite room under keyboard whisper submerged in to our sought for hours or talk about coding until late at night all we want ...

Work in front of us was challenging, we knew that project required extra attention, it was late September 2009.


To be continued...

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by Administrator 14. October 2010 14:59

Welcome to new Job Continent blog. We will be posting new articles here on this site.


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