97 Things Every Software Architect Should Know – 21/97
Failed projects can happen for a multitude of reasons. One of the most common sources of failure is altering the project schedule in midstream without proper planning. This kind of failure is avoidable, but it can require major effort on the part of multiple people. Adjusting the time line or increasing resources on a project are not normally of concern. Problems start when you are asked to do more in the same time line or when the schedule is shortened without reducing the workload.
The idea that schedules can be shortened in order to reduce cost or speed up delivery is a very common misconception. You‘ll commonly see attempts to require overtime or sacrifice ?less important scheduled tasks? (like unit-testing) as a way to reduce delivery dates or increase functionality while keeping the delivery dates as is. Avoid this scenario at all costs. Remind those requesting the changes of the following facts:
- A rushed design schedule leads to poor design, bad documentation and probable Quality Assurance or User Acceptance problems.
- A rushed coding or delivery schedule has a direct relationship to the number of bugs delivered to the users.
- A rushed test schedule leads to poorly tested code and has a direct relationship to the number of testing issues encountered.
- All of the above lead to Production issues which are much more expensive to fix.
The end result is an increase in cost as opposed to a reduction in cost. This is normally why the failures happen.
As an Architect you will one day find yourself in the position of having to act quickly to increase the likelihood of success. Speak up early. First try to maintain quality by negotiating the originally planned timeline. If a shortened schedule is necessary then try to move non-critical functionality to future release(s). Obviously this will take good preparation, negotiating skills and a knack for influencing people. Prepare by sharpening your skills in those areas today. You will be glad you did.
97 Things Every Software Architect Should Know – 20/97
The build as a “big bang” event in project development is dead. The architect, whether an application or enterprise architect, should promote and encourage the use of continuous integration methods and tools for every project.
The term Continuous Integration (CI) was first coined by Martin Fowler in a design pattern. CI refers to a set practices and tools that ensure automatic builds and testing of an application at frequent intervals, usually on an integration server specifically configured for these tasks. The convergence of unit testing practices and tools in conjunction with automated build tools makes CI a must for any software project today.
Continuous Integration targets a universal characteristic of the software development process – the integration point between source code and running application. At this integration point the many pieces of the development effort come together and are tested. You have probably heard the phrase ?build early and often?, which was a risk reduction technique to ensure there were no surprises at this point in development. ?Build early and often? has now been replaced by CI which includes the build but also adds features that improve communication and coordination within the development team.
The most prominent part of a CI implementation is the build which is usually automated. You have the ability to do a manual build but they can also be kicked off nightly or can be triggered by source code changes. Once the build is started the latest version of the source code is pulled from the repository and the CI tools attempts to build the project then test it. Lastly, notification is sent out detailing the results of the build process. These notifications can be sent in various forms including email or instant messages.
Continuous Integration will provide a more stable and directed development effort. As an architect you will love it but more importantly your organization and your development teams will be more effective and efficient.