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Which development practice should we follow?

Kunaal Vaghela
Greenhorn

Joined: Aug 11, 2011
Posts: 3
Hi all,
I've been tasked with finding out which development approach our team should follow and wanted your inputs. Here's some background info
- team of 6 developers
- 3 tier setup, Java EE application: JSF front end, JBoss app server middle tier, Hibernate(EJB3) persistance.
- Currently we use a waterfall approach, design docs produced and implemented.
- Use Hudson for the builds
- Some very simple tests using TestNG

Over the coming weeks, we'll implementing an automated test tool, where by each bug fix, will get it's own test and with each auto-build, will be compiled, deployed & tested.
As the application is a fully web based app, I'm struggling to see how moving to Test driven or Agile methodologies would assist.

Do any of you guys have a similar setup and what development practices are you implementing??

Thanks,
Kunaal
Jimmy Clark
Ranch Hand

Joined: Apr 16, 2008
Posts: 2187
Welcome to the JavaRanch - a friendly place for Java Greenhorns!

Currently we use a waterfall approach, design docs produced and implemented.


Please explain what is wrong with your current development process.

Also, did you ask the individual that assigned you this task why they wanted you to explore development styles?
Kunaal Vaghela
Greenhorn

Joined: Aug 11, 2011
Posts: 3
Jimmy,

For as long as I can remember, its been a quite a 'cowboy' approach towards developing. It's really been, let produce a product where by each developer is following their own nose.

[Please explain what is wrong with your current development process]

These are the common, repetitive issues we face with each release.

- lots of fire fighting show stoppers, both near the release and once the product is out.
Lack of tests

- lack of structure for developers to follow
developers (predominately new ones) would go ahead and write methods which do pretty much the same thing, no object orientation taken into account. Security, business logic not centralised. Ultimately, these factors fall onto the developer, and their ability to copy existing methods, rather than using centralised methods. I'm going to do factoring of the code and streamline it.

We've recently introduced better
design docs,
technical specifications required for each new major functionality
code reviews for each bug fixed.

[Also, did you ask the individual that assigned you this task why they wanted you to explore development styles?]
As the team are rather young, we want to put in place a management/development style which will make their life easier and equip them with the working practices that they would need should they move jobs.

How are you guys set with your working practices? Any ideas how we can help the developers by making things more structured and their lives easier?
Jimmy Clark
Ranch Hand

Joined: Apr 16, 2008
Posts: 2187
Thanks. It certainly looks like there is room for improvement in your software development process. This has very little to do with the actual technologies being used, e.g. Java, Hibernate, JBoss, however.

It is obvious that there is a significant absence of technical leadership. And you might benefit from bringing in a management consultant for 6 to 12 months. Someone with experience in process improvement could certainly help. Or you can attempt to do it on your own.

I suggest learning deeply the Software Engineering Institute's Capability Maturity Model Integration (CMMI) methodology and also learn in detail what the Unified Process is and how it works.

When I say "learn deeply", I'm not talking about a Google search and review of a few HTML pages for 15 minutes.

Kunaal Vaghela
Greenhorn

Joined: Aug 11, 2011
Posts: 3
Ah thank you for your suggestions.
As a challenge, I would like to learn these practices and move forward from there.
Looking at Google books, there is fair choice of literature out there . Can you recommend any books/authors you who regard highly?
Jimmy Clark
Ranch Hand

Joined: Apr 16, 2008
Posts: 2187
Sounds good. All CMMI materials published by the Software Engineering Institute are very good. A good starting point would be:

http://www.sei.cmu.edu/cmmi/

Good luck son!
 
With a little knowledge, a cast iron skillet is non-stick and lasts a lifetime.
 
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