Black Marble was approached by a leading Irish bank, via the Microsoft team in Ireland. The bank has an existing process for carrying out project management, whether it be constructing a new building or writing a piece of software. The process is based on waterfall principles, with a strong separation of duties between roles. The Senior Level Management has identified the Execute phase of the process i.e. the software development phase, as one aspect of the process where they wanted to gain greater visibly, predictability and throughput.
Our consultant met with the relevant stakeholders in the bank, to discuss what was needed, how the process could be improved within the constraints of the process. The plan was to figure out how to use TFS to improve the process in the Execute phase. A careful path was needed to be taken, to ensure it didn’t push back into Planning phase to any great degree, or to push out to end user department based UAT testing phase – they were deemed separate and beyond scope for this project. It was very heavily stressed that we couldn’t scope-creep. That was a basic aim.
Our consultant initially installed TFS in a sandbox environment to develop the required customisations. The aim was to bring the benefits of iterative development into the Execute phase without impacting the overall process. Once our consultant was happy, and IT resources were available, he installed TFS on production hardware and source code was migrated from Visual SourceSafe and TFS 2008 to TFS 2010.
Key to the success of the project was the evangelising to the bank staff. This was achieved by delivering training on different aspects of TFS, using weekly ‘Friday training sessions’, formal training hands-on workshops and the production of a Wiki that covered the whole process including video material to make it easy for future staff to get up to speed on the process without too much need for classroom training.
So essentially, Black Marble brought in iterative development within the development team while sitting within the waterfall model of the bank.
- Predictability – showing how many tasks are to be done, how long they are going to take.
- Make the progress of projects visible to senior manager, including those that are drifting.
- Increasing efficiency.
- Ensuring Best Practices are followed.
We knew it was important for the bank to have the best advice around ALM, and outside of Microsoft itself, we knew Black Marble could deliver.