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Showing posts from May, 2008

Availability - how much and who to?

When you're specifying your availability in xProcess there are 2 parts to the information required: when are you available? and to which projects? If you are wanting to change availability for people in your project from the assumed defaults (usually 8 hours each weekday), then here are a few hints to get you started.

The first part - your overall availability - can be specified for both organisations and for individuals Open an editor for either a person or organisation and you'll find (at the bottom of the editor pane) a tab labelled "Availability". This shows the availability records that have been defined. Each record has a from and to date ("..." means "forever" in this context, either in the past for the "from" date, or in the future for the "to" date). For each day of the week you can either specify a specific number of hours or inherit the hours specified on another person or organisation.

By default organisations at the…

Process patterns: what are "composites"?

The key to defining the task structure in a process definition is the task pattern. Task patterns consist of prototype tasks, optionally contained in a prototype project. Here's an example:

This is the task pattern for a "Feature" in the FDD process and it results in the creation of a set of subtasks and artifacts when the Feature pattern is "instantiated". This is quite a simple pattern and it doesn't include any composite tasks, which are structures to allow multiple tasks, optional tasks and iterations of tasks (repeated tasks that follow on one after the other). It is composites that allow arbitary process diagrams, drawn say using UML's activity diagram format, to be translated into xProcess processes. Here's an example of a task pattern, this time shown in the Hierarchy Diagram view, which does contain a composite. It's the "Feature Set" pattern from the same process.

The composite task in this example is called "Features: $Na…

Not just project management - not just process improvement

Explaining xProcess's position in the market of agile management products is something I never find straightforward. On the one hand it's important to emphasize the way you can simply define a set of tasks a team will be working on and immediately generate a plan (which you can then monitor in real time as tasks are re-prioritised, started and completed). On the other hand there's all that cool stuff you can do defining the task patterns, artifact templates, gateways and workflows that make up the process definitions behind different project approaches. I guess it all depends who you're talking to. If they're project managers needing something to get them started quickly, emphasize the simplest possible agile approach (prioritizing a list of tasks, defining the resources available and generating the plan). If they're process gurus - it has to be said these guys are thinner on the ground! - try impressing them the process modelling facilities xProcess provides f…

SpringSource Application Platform released

An interesting announcement this week that you may have missed is the release of the SpringSource Application Platform. Effectively this is a lightweight but high-performance platform providing most of the functionality of existing application servers in a much simpler, small-footprint package. SpringSource CEO Rod Johnson has been quoted as saying that it will provide a "leaner and more powerful solution." He continued. "The SpringSource Application Platform, comprised of the dm-Kernel we developed, along with the proven Spring, Eclipse Equinox and Apache Tomcat technologies inside, provides the industry with the leanest, most flexible server for running enterprise Java applications". Paul Kuzan, a leading software architect and part of the team that put together xProcess, has been contributing to the open source code in the SpringSource platform. "It's a really exciting development in the app server world", said Paul, "and one that is likely t…