Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Share your Personal-Edition plans NOW!

It's great how many people are discovering the free Personal Edition of xProcess. I get to see the download figures occasionallly and it's very heartening to know so many of you are getting this version and putting in your own plans and processes.

Of course there is a snag with the Personal Edition - it's personal!

This means there's only one of you who can see it and that means you're missing out on the best aspects of xProcess - its support for collaborative processes and team planning. This month the development of Ivis' partnerships with CollabNet and Clearvision means we now have a very simple way to upgrade you to an evaluation version of the Enterprise Edition. Straightaway you'll be able to share your plans and interact with them as a team. Just go to www.ivis.com/evaluation if you'd like to try it out.

Friday, May 26, 2006

"Plan of Intent" and "Plan of Record"

Ron Lichty is well known in the Software Engineering community on the West Coast as a practitioner, as a seasoned project manager of many successful ventures and in a number of SIGs and conferences in which he is active. In spite of knowing Ron by correspondence over a long period of time it was only at JavaOne this year that we finally got together and I'm very glad we did.

Ron wrote to me after our meeting:

I told a number of people later at JavaOne, and even later that evening at the Software Engineering Management SIG, about xProcess. It really looks good. A question came up: It's a common technique in large organizations to keep a "Plan of Intent" and a "Plan of Record" - to have two project plans, one for the business partners and boss, one you actually execute to. Any support for that in xProcess?

Good question! Here's my reply...

There is support in xProcess for an arbitrary number of target levels through what we call (in the process definitions) Planning Boundaries (PBs). The patterns containing PBs can be called what you like in the process definition - typically timeboxes, milestones, releases, "sprints", commitments, etc. PBs consist of a "scope" (a set of tasks) and a target date. So your "plan of record" could be contained in a set of PBs showing your commitments to one or more parties and the status of the PBs would be different from the team target status even though it is derived from the same project forecasts. It's a useful technique and one we recommend to xProcess users.

By the way Ron has just completed a cross-country ski marathon in Anchorage, Alaska benefiting the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. If you enjoy photos, maps, and stories of such adventures, see this site http://www.active.com/donate/tntgsf/RonLichty. Also check out Ron's blog at http://ronlichty.blogspot.com.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Interview with Artima: Planners and "Do-ers" (AUDIO)

JavaOne is all about meeting people and finding the connections between what they are doing and your own work. This was brought home to me when I spent some time talking to Frank Sommers and Bill Venners, who are editors of the Artima Developer site, while they were recording interviews with vendors of innovative technology at JavaOne. You can hear their interview with me by clicking on this link... Audio file.

Many of the developers that I met at the show immediately denied they had anything to do with project management, which they associated with people who drew charts and manipulated budgets but rarely interacted effectively with the teams they were working in. It was very clear that the kind of synchronized connection between planners and "do-ers" that xProcess supports finds a strong resonance with such developers. It's a solution with a corresponding problem that's high on a lot of people agendas right now. Maybe that's why traffic on our site hit an all time high during last week and downloads of the free Personal Edition of xProcess are growing exponentially.

The interview by the way lasts 5 minutes 20 seconds and is available as an MP3 pod-cast.

Friday, May 19, 2006

JavaOne Feedback

We're preparing to head for the airport in San Francisco so this seems like a good time time to look back on an eventful week at JavaOne. There are so many conversations, new people we've met and significant feedback that we received from people who have used xProcess or were using it for the first time. Ivis didn't have the most conspicuous booth in the Pavillion but somehow word got round that something goodwas going on there and we had excellent traffic through the booth and interest from nearly everyone who stopped by. We also had opportunities for meeting with valued Ivis partners like CollabNet, Apple, Sun and Serena while we were there and the building excitement around both the feature set and architecture of xProcess 2 was very heartening.

One highlight for me was Paul Kuzan's Birds of a Feather session on the Tuesday. Its timing was not ideal - 10.30 to 11.20 on the Tuesday night, competing with many vendor parties, restaurants, bars and simply being in bed ready for a 7am start the next day! Nevertheless we did have a small but very engaged audience to hear Paul explain the principles of xProcess's connected/disconnected architecture built on a file version control system. The penny is gradually dropping that this architecture has significant applications beyond the immediate extensions to xProcess's. Several of the audience who attended and came up to talk to Paul and me after the event had also seen this potential and were keen to discuss further.

The final proof of the JavaOne pudding will be in the eating. Not just the great conversations, record leads generated and subsequent record stats on the web site - it will bejudged on how this exposure leads to actual users of the technology and ultimately delivered business benefits.