Skip to main content


Showing posts from May, 2009


It seems that nearly everything that we are formally "taught" turns out to be useless. Yet a few of the so-called "useless" things we do turn out to be invaluable - incredibly useful. And without the "useless" things we do, that do indeed turn out to be useless, we would never have found those incredibly useful ones!

I was struck by Nassim Taleb's story in The Black Swan about the inventor of the laser. Far from having eyesight correction, compact disks, fibre optics, data storage or microsurgery in mind when he invented it, he was just satisfying his desire to split light beams. As Taleb observed "We build toys. Some toys change the world."

The moral of the story to me is simple: learn play! Rather than seeing education as the process of acquiring knowledge, we should see it as the first steps in learning to think. The knowledge we acquired may be dangerous, particularly as it displaces the unacquired knowledge that may turn out to be more us…

What is an "overhead" task?

When starting to use xProcess there are a number of terms that may be unfamiliar. What for example is an "overhead" task?

In general terms an overhead task is one which does not directly result in the modification or qualification of a required project deliverable. Under this definition most management activities, meetings, planning and monitoring are overheads, while specifying, designing, coding, documenting and testing are "payload" activities.

In xProcess there are 2 ways of specifying how a task will be scheduled: date-based or effort based.

Date-based tasks are generally more applicable to overheads. They run from a date to a date (the date may be derived from other dates such as project start and end or target dates) and have a specified time (or percentage of available time) to determine the effort required per day. If there are no resources available to carry out the task the start and end date are not changed - they will just consume less time in the schedul…

Nominate xProcess for the Source Forge Community Choice Awards

Source Forge today opened nominations for its Community Choice Awards. Why not nominate xProcess now in any or all of these categories:
Best New ProjectBest ProjectBest Project for the EnterpriseBest Tool or Utility for DevelopersBest Commercial Open Source ProjectMost Likely to Change the Way You Do EverythingVote now - it only takes a click!

Resourcing your Scrum Project

In a previous article I explained how to set up a Scrum project in xProcess and the steps to go through to set up a Scrum project in xProcess:Import the Scrum process into your data source.Create a project (setting the various parameters in the New Project dialog)Add project resources and give people the appropriate Scrum role (e.g. Product Owner, Scrum Master or Team Member)Create the first SprintCreate backlog itemsCreate a DeliveryEnsure Team Members update their tasks regularly.Here I want to look in a bit more detail at adding project resources.

Clicking the Resources icon on the Project Toolbar (see image above) takes you to the resources tab for the project where you can add people to the project and also change their roles. There are 3 roles defined in the Basic Scrum process: Product Owner, Scrum Master and Team Member. Adding in people with these role types is the next step.

The tasks for Product Owner and Scrum Master are defined under "Administration and overheads"…

Using the Workflow Server

A number of people have enquired about the xProcess Workflow Server recently and whether they can download it from SourceForge and run it. Though you can download and build the source code (see instructions on the Wiki to find out how to do this - and which projects here), we’ve not included the Workflow Server in the pre-built packages for download. Instead we are supplying it as part of a support package for clients in order to ensure that we can put all the components in place for any specific implementation of workflow.

The xProcess Workflow Server runs on Tomcat and is designed to respond to events that occur within the xProcess Data Source (detected by the DataSourceMonitor) or in external systems (detected by custom Monitors). Typical uses for the Workflow Server are
to integrate with other systems, such as bug tracking systems, that are running in your environment to notify users by email of changes to plans or processes to update external systems with changes that have occur…

Open Source Announcement for OpenXprocess

This press release is hot off the press. You read it here first!

Date: 1st May, 2009

Ivis Technologies and xProcess Europe announced today that xProcess will now be available under an open source license, expanding its already substantial user base to a much wider community.

Also announced today was the setting up of a new company, OpenXprocess Ltd, to own, manage and support xProcess and supply training mentoring and maintenance services to users worldwide.

xProcess allows users to define project management processes (for example task patterns, artifacts, gateways and workflows) and then run live projects while monitoring targets, deliveries and process compliance. Agile methods for software development such as Scrum, FDD and variants of Unified Process are particularly well supported by the technology, which provides priority-driven ordering of activities and resource balancing. The free download of the product includes pre-configured processes for Scrum and ot…