Yesterday was a significant day in the Uniface 9.6 project. It was the day that we RTM’d, or released to manufacturing. This means that we’ve sent the Uniface 9.6 images to be packaged up and the eDistribution created. (we’re not going to make physical DVDs/CDs from now on).
It’s a kind of ‘lull period’ for us, we are starting the high level planning on what happens next, with Uniface 9.6.02 and Uniface 10. Tomorrow we hold an internal RAD Race, where the development teams have 24 hours to build a Uniface app which is based on Uniface 9.6. (so a real case of eating our own dog food, which is a term that stems from Dave Cutler and the project to release Windows NT). We did it for the first time last year, it was a great exercise, and also a chance for everybody involved. I’d originally wanted to invite those customers who were involved in the Uniface 9.6 preview, but as it become more popular, it became clear that idea would have to change. Watch this space, we’re going to hold the Uniface Global Challenge, a global, cloud based RAD race for customers in March.
Looking back over the past year, one thing that has really struck me, has been how useful agile as a development methodology has been. The thought was provoked when I read this online article http://www.itpro.co.uk/644143/making-it-more-agile . Uniface 9.6 has been my first release from concept to RTM (not quite GA yet!). I inherited Uniface 9.5 somewhere in the middle of the project.
Over the past 12 months, we’ve had a couple of changes, additional requirements, influences, etc where we’ve changed the scope on what we will deliver in December. And looking back at how we used to manage projects (with the waterfall methodology), it’s clear to see the benefits of being agile brings us. And I don’t even want to think of the late breaking implementation issue with threading that George uncovered in the HTML5 control!
Agile isn’t perfect, most of the books and guidelines are focused on new projects, and there are some aspects which are not covered in so much detail. A couple of examples would be how to manage the input from a large, global and very diverse global customer base, or how to deal with a the support of several versions in the market place. And support isn’t just maintaining the product, it’s also currency updates, we can plan for what we know. But we also have requirements coming at us that we did not anticipate, the new Sybase driver being an example.
But the development group has really done well, it’s on time, and it’s got everything that we really wanted. And based on the feedback from the Japanese, US, Dutch and German usergroups, it’s a good release.