Software Quality

March 3, 2012

Successful Large Scrum Project

Filed under: ALM (Application Lifecycle Management), Case Study, Practices, Uncategorized — Tags: — David Allen @ 10:30 pm

From 2009 – 2010, the US Veterans Administration built a system called the Veterans Benefits Management System (VBMS).  It reportedly used agile methods including Scrum and appears to have been a success. Here are some links for further information.

Early report mentions agile. Budget is in the ballpark of $100 Million.

A VA press release from January 31, 2011 indicates the system was launched successfully thanks to agile methods

The Linked-In profile of a person working on the project indicates that there were 12 Scrum teams involved. I am not citing that out of respect for his privacy as I do not know him. Though you should be able to find it by searching linked in for terms ‘VBMS’ ‘agile’

October 15, 2011

How we sped up our Microsoft CRM data conversion using the Microsoft Task Parallel Library

Filed under: Case Study, Microsoft CRM, Parallel Programming — David Allen @ 8:49 am

In an earlier post, I summarized the business benefit and overall performance improvement we achieved in a data conversion program that loaded data into a new Microsoft CRM system.  I have received several questions asking for more detail on the problem and the techniques used. This post provides some additional detail. (more…)

May 31, 2011

How to speed up a data conversion program that loads Microsoft CRM 4.0

Filed under: Case Study, Microsoft CRM, Parallel Programming — David Allen @ 9:43 pm


Our organization recently adopted Microsoft CRM 4.0. We developed a data conversion program to convert the data from the source systems and insert it into the new CRM system. Our initial effort was unsatisfactory because it ran way too slowly. We eventually solved our performance problems, and experienced a six-fold improvement in performance over our initial design! This report summarizes the challenges we faced, and our solutions, so that others who face performance issues with data conversion programs might benefit from the lessons we learned. Some of the lessons are specific to Microsoft CRM 4.0. But other lessons are of general interest. (more…)

February 13, 2011

Diana and Actaeon – Actaeon played by a programmer on support duty

Filed under: Case Study, Testing — David Allen @ 6:48 pm

I went to the Minneapolis Institute of the Arts with my friends today, and saw some amazing examples of art from the 14th and 15h centuries .  We saw an exhibition of Venetian art Titian and the Golden Age of Venetian Painting: Masterpieces from the National Galleries of Scotland, and another The Mourners: Tomb Sculptures from the Court of Burgundy.

Afterwards, I was talking with one of my companions, who is a programmer. Last week was hard on him because he is on call as part of a rotation that comes to him once every three months. It was his turn to support production application issues.   He was essentially up all night – Barbaric!   (more…)

January 30, 2011

Architecture is a process, not an artifact

Filed under: Case Study, Practices — David Allen @ 10:57 am

Architecture varies with the project

As a developer, if you work on small projects, you probably play many roles, including architect. Those are nice gigs because you have a close relationship with yourself (I hope). The feedback loop is short and efficient.

If you work on large projects, architecture may be a specialized role played by one or more people. The minute the architect is someone other than the developer, things begin to get challenging. Many modern software development projects involve the integration of several different technology platforms, with the efforts of large numbers of people divided into many different kinds of teams.

This post is a tale of architectural neglect and possible solutions.


January 25, 2011

Agile as an excuse for not gathering requirements

Filed under: Case Study, Practices — David Allen @ 7:52 am

Over the last two years, I have observed RUP and Scrum processes in action and I can make some comparisons. And they have more in common than you might think. In particular, the factors that cause them to succeed or fail are very similar. (more…)

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