All posts by JorgeNunez

I got acquainted to Uniface 1991 as a customer, later on I worked for a Uniface distributor in México and overseas on Uniface projects and since the end of 2000 I work in Amsterdam and I'm currently leading the development team.

Undercutting – Using SCRUM sprints to strategically beat the competition as pit stops do in F1

f1-scrum

Good luck Max Verstappen (twitter:@Max33Verstappen) on getting podium places at USA and Mexico after the great achievements of Malaysia and Japan!

As said before, the pit stops improved. By incorporating all developments in technology as well as fine-tuning the roles within the team the pit stops were made as efficient as possible “difficult to beat 1.9 seconds”.  All in all, pit stops contributed the most when used strategically to win races; that means that based on the efficiency level attained on a perfectly synchronized process with flawless collaboration of the team, the squads gained an advantage of 26 seconds over the opponents. 

Without going into the overall strategy, rest assured that making the team work efficiently is not a mere milestone, it is constant practice and sharp focus from all involved members including the crucial factor of trust. As Michael Schumacher said – “When you start out in a team, you have to get the teamwork going and then you get something back.”

In that sense, at Uniface our teams have reached the level of efficiency which allows us to release our software on many platforms and for two different versions of the product every scrum sprint (every 2 weeks). We can still improve and we keep on doing that as KAIZEN are part of our DNA nowadays. And the biggest achievement we see is, as in F1, being able to apply that predictable process to the overall strategy.

f1-scrum

Let me go back to what happened at the F1 with the pit stop, once the team had mastered the level of efficiency, the squad decided to think out of the box and not concentrate only on the pit stop but on the overall performance of the race. At Uniface, we are aligning the business with IT to look at the overall strategy, although we still improve our SCRUM ceremonies. We think that the areas where we will gain the most are vision, strategy, roadmap, backlog management and overall in open two-way communication. I’ll keep you updated with the progress on this fascinating project. Remember, undercutting is the art of knowing when the competitor will stop or come back to the race so that you can intentionally beat him or her by planning your own pit stop accordingly.

In my opinion, we need to make the most out of the well-performed process of delivering software to use the ever-changing priorities and hit the market with the software our customers/prospects need on time. We come from an 18-month cycle (~78 weeks) to a 2-week cycle to release software, now we need to use that to strategically deliver what helps our customers the most… in a changing world.

f1-scrum

Food for thought
The following table is an attempt to compare pit stops and scrum sprints, I know it is not perfect but its intention is to spark thoughts. Let me know what your think about it. Enjoy!

Pit stops Symmetry SCRUM Sprints
Used in Race strategy Goal is to win Used in Delivery strategy
Execution of the pit stop Synchronized perfection Sprint work
Pit crew Highly trained technical members Development team
Team / squad Harmonious collaboration Scrum team
Preparation

Changing tires

Refueling

Adjusting car

Tasks mastered by the team Architecture

Coding

Testing

Delivering stories

Choreography Coordination Swarming
Collaboration Communication Collaboration
Changing rules Adapt / Fast response Changing requirements

 

SCRUM to strategically win from the competition as pit stops do in F1

Congratulations to Max Verstappen on winning the Malaysian Grand Prix last weekend. You see, strategy pays out when everything falls into place.

Uniface Formula 1

So, my drive 😉 is to apply scrum in your business strategy to win the race too.

So in F1 the pit stop, besides being a masterly synchronized ballet of disciplined execution and expertise, the pit stop is used strategically by the team to win the race. How? The amount of pit stops depends on the desired lap time while gauging fuel consumption, tire wearing out, undercutting (taking over a car while making the pit stop or leaving one). With the above in mind the team determines to use certain amount of pit stops, or to add one more in order to win.

In SCRUM terms, the sprints are the perfectly synchronized production of software which can be strategically used to deliver value to our customers. Whether we deliver features gradually or change the order of delivery as to meet business value.

Here at Uniface, we are busy trying to get SCRUM to the next level where alignment between business and IT are essential to make a difference. We must be aligned to adapt to change and therefore better serve our customers. In that context, we already have a track record as we have been using SCRUM for more than 9 years and have done the necessary improvements to the processes ourselves.

As an example, we have even invented our own ceremony to facilitate the alignment among teams called  a Sprint Pitch (an already 3-year-old ceremony for us).

To stress why aligning the business with IT is important, I want to emphasize the analogy from the F1 championships; I was inspired to use it when watching a Red Bull documentary about “The history of the pit stop” during my last flight.

You know the thrill of changing tires and refueling the car in the shortest amount of time possible?

In the early days, the pit stop was just a pause that took up to a minute, there was no changing of tires. That came in the 1970’s when an unplanned pit stop to change tires would take 3 to 5 minutes. In the early 1980’s Gordon Murray turned them into the strategic pit stops, considering the car weight, the tire degradation and saw a relation on how all that influenced lap times. At that moment another race began, the one to bring the pit stop’s time down to the minimum. In order, to use the pit stop more strategically and make the time necessary for a pit stop negligible.

Well, it is no surprise that to reach the shortest time, it took analysis, collaboration, improvements to get to the changing of the tires or better even the entire wheel set and refueling the car, cooling the car’s engine in just under 2 seconds. Bear in mind that actually it takes a crew of 18 to 20 highly skilled individuals to handle a pit stop.

You may wonder how do we do that in SCRUM at Uniface, but first time for a pit stop … (to be continued)!

What does the cloud bring to application development?

Following our line of thought of keeping up with technology, I had the privilege and pleasure to join a diverse group of Uniface engineers who participated in the Google Cloud Next  event in Amsterdam. As mentioned earlier, Uniface is at the leading edge of application technology so in that respect we participate by learning about the newest trends. We do this also for cloud with great partners like Google by obtaining the technological highlights,  and diving deeper into some examples like spanner and app maker.  All this to drive momentum and to spark innovation at Uniface.

Next Amsterdam being such a nice and big event consisted of several tracks with different areas of focus all around the cloud. Tracks that were visionary, strategic and technical besides the experimental breakout sessions; handling everything from the business, the technology and innovation.

I attended several sessions and had a look at the experimental/technical campground as presented by Google and some of its technology partners at the conference.

The most outstanding thing I realized while at the event was that cloud is moving everywhere, from application development, to deployment and innovation.

So, in that sense, cloud is becoming a game changer in application development. What do I mean by that? Well, in general, we are used to waves of technologies and application architectures like mainframe, client/server, Static Web, Dynamic Web, mobile apps, and now the cloud.

The cloud is reshaping the way we think about software; whether that is containerizing, micro services, contributing to developing new applications, exploiting the data produced by the usage of applications, all in all, taking software to a new level. Actually, one could say, it is being changed in several dimensions.

What does the could bring to application development?

Think about security which appeared to be something for the experts, and nowadays reshapes the way we think about software. And some of the thoughts around security today may involve user behaviour as an additional way to authenticate us. Wow! Nice. Although it does also imply user behaviour is something you need to consider.

What does the could bring to application development?

What does the could bring to application development?

Well, you may think “but there is a lot of data that now needs to be processed for that”, and “what about the structure of such data?” Well, have you seen all the developments around big data and high performing databases which the cloud is enabling? Ok, I give it to you… but then how can I, as a developer, make use of that data? Well, API’s is the answer. An old and beautiful concept that is being embedded in software development now, as collaboration with others is a must. Your software needs to be easy to interface with and as such it must provide a clear and easy API for others to use. Better even is the fact that software in the cloud must have API’s, becoming a de facto standard otherwise you are out. (By the simple fact that adoption will be hard if not impossible with all the competition around.)

What does the could bring to application development?

The more common areas where the cloud appear initially to have impact was on whether the application was executed on bare-metal or on a virtualized environment reshaping componentizing the hardware and the different layers of software. This too, is something that affects application development as we need to think also on those components/containers we can use/enable others to use. Consider frameworks for it and make the necessary provisions in your application architecture.

What does the could bring to application development?

Also of utmost interest were the innovation presentations that took place on a plenary/breakout, or campground sessions. It was amazing to see how creativity is being applied to develop the technological step around the cloud; think about natural language support API, and its applicability on the artificial intelligence spectrum, which nowadays is within our reach, it is in our hands (literally) with our phones/tablets.

What amazed us too was to see synergy in our approach to application development and the new trends like App Maker.

Whether you use the cloud to deploy your applications, execute on the cloud and or to innovate, the cloud is here to stay.

All in all, the value proposition around the cloud is to think not only of what the cloud can do for you, but what you can do in the cloud too.

 

 

 

 

 

Keeping up with technology…a lot like Formula 1

Uniface, being a low-code platform which shields developers from technology changes in the application stack, takes pride on staying on top of the leading edge of technology. To start, the application stack I refer to is based on the Open Systems Interconnection model (OSI) defined by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) about the interoperability and communication layers. So all the technologies needed to maintain applications’ interoperability while communicating to achieve the business goal as programmed by the developers.

In Uniface development, we have a track record of keeping up with technology, nowadays more challenging than 33 years ago when Uniface started of course. 😉

Let me share how Uniface development approaches technology and technological paradigms. Uniface is a technology partner for our customers and partners. As such, we take pride in actively participating in the technological world around us, which should add value to our customers. It also reinforces our relationship with technology resulting in the Uniface direction. Additionally, and with the intention of being transparent, we blog about it.

I want to start by making an analogy between Uniface and Formula 1 (F1 Championships). In F1 racing there are also a lot of technological developments on which all car manufacturers and teams rely on (powertrains, ERS, ES, power units, tire compound, telemetry, DRS, KERS, chassis, etc.). Actually all of the participants follow the evolution of these developments actively or passively depending on their area of expertise (additionally sanctioned by the FIA).

It is the same in our application development world, there is a lot of technology involved and we do actively follow it. Essential to that and following the Uniface value proposition, we need to be up to par with the latest trends in what applications need from technology.

Following our analogy, the Uniface car might today have a power unit from Mercedes, while we simultaneously look at the power units from Ferrari and Renault.

The Lab and the engineers look at all technologies and we make sure that the leading edge in technology is used by the car we build (Uniface) because that is what makes us different. Product Management makes sure that our customer requirements plus the technology innovations are included in the Uniface portfolio.

I think that all of the above confirms to our customers the value Uniface provides is much more than one mere technology, but they can be confident we are looking at a much broader spectrum of the application technology stack.

Rest assured that the direction that Uniface takes will be defined and determined by Product Management and reflected in the Uniface roadmap.

 

Our Day by Day Highlights of MWC Barcelona

It was the first time we participated in MWC15, and to sum it up in a few words: Totally exceeded our expectations! Here’s a day by day recap of our time in the “trenches.”

Day 1:

It was a very interesting first day. There were initially some quiet moments, but then things picked up and all demo stations (3 of them) plus the 5 devices were being used by our Uniface colleagues were all busy and everyone engaged in conversations. It was awesome. The energy flowing around the booth and within the team was fantastic. The day flowed with up and down time and in general with a lot of positive reactions.

Danny (account manager) attended Mark Zuckerberg’s keynote presentation. Even the Uniface (freelance) photographer 😉 got a great picture of the King of Spain!

Arriving at the event

Arriving at the event

The King of Spain who attended the event

The King of Spain who attended the event

Day 2:

After an early team debriefing at the booth to the Uniface crew, the energy was good, we had a good synergy between the whole crew and the roles were working fine. We worked hard, including sending people canvasing around to talk to people around our section “App Planet” which by the way it is the perfect spot to have Uniface. Also, it was clear that our tag line “Design your mobile enterprise” is spot on.

Remind me to tell you later about my public transport adventure after the day was over, I mean  Tianle, Thomas, Christophe and myself going back to the hotel with the idea to see a bit more of the city. And we did, including walking the “extra” mile … literally!

Busy time at the Uniface booth

Busy time at the Uniface booth

Day 3:

The Uniface crew went through a metamorphose with some people leaving and new people coming. I must confess that as a former ‘amateur’ football coach/trainer, you know you never change a winning team; so I was a bit worried. Luckily for me, this was not a football match, so everything transitioned perfectly fine.

Again the day passed on the blink of an eye. For me, the best way to describe it is using as reference the differences between the length of technical demos which are: on day one demos lasted approximately 15 minutes, on the second day those lasted 25 minutes and on the last day these were over the 35 minutes average; the main reason being the interest of the prospects (of course) and the type of questions they asked.

At the end of the day, people were partying all over the exhibition halls, listening to music and having drinks. I have a complaint which I want to make public now, Danny Ragowan went to drink tequila with my fellow Mexican countrymen on my invitation and he left me behind at the booth. I was invited earlier on the day when I visited them. (On his behalf I need to say I was involved in the last demo.)

Part of the Uniface Crew

Part of the Uniface Crew

More booth traffic

More booth traffic

Day 4:

The experience has been unreal – In my wildest dreams I would not have imagined such positive results of MWC15 for Uniface. The people we talked to were interested in the core Uniface message, which means that a cross-platform model-driven development and deployment environment is what people are looking for.

Besides the above, how about our approach to the market by extending technologies (CHUI, C/S, WEB, RIA, Mobile) in the spirit of shielding the business from technological evolution and then again empowering the developers to embrace those and in case needed go the depth necessary to solve the business requirements. And guess what? It did all of these and more. Because even fellow exhibitors considered that an incredible strength of Uniface.

As a bonus, the Uniface culture also shined at the event. The ambiance and behavior will be remembered and we heard on several occasions: “Here come the nice guys in the white shirts!”

Packing up at the end of MWC

Packing up at the end of MWC