Monday, February 15, 2010

Starting with the Startup - Setting Up Development Environment

After we have set basics for using Scrum we can start with our first sprints. Our first sprints were devoted to choosing and setting up development environment.

So let explore what do we know so far about the project (of course I knew much more than I can write in this post).

* Our main focus are desktop and mobile web applications
* Our core business is in the field of affiliate networks
* We will use agile process or to be more specific Scrum

So I will jump directly into decisions we had to make and what have we decided:

Web development framework
Basically we have been deciding between two choices: Grails and Wicket. Who is reading my blog from time to time probably already knows answer to this. We have decided for Grails.

Build process
Although Grails have nice build commands we needed something that is easier to integrate with the builds of other projects. Basically we have been deciding between maven and ivy. As Grails supports ivy much better than maven we have decided for ivy.

Continuous build process
More or less we have not been thinking too much here. We have decided for Hudson. Hudson is easy to install, has great front-end for management and number of very useful plugins. One note: although Hudson has Grails plugin we are not using it. We are using ivy in the Hudson to build the Grails projects.

Bug tracker
Although we would be happy not to have bugs that is not reality. So we needed bug tracker. As most of us had experience with Mantis we have decided that our bug tracking tool will be Mantis

Libraries repository
We will be depending on some external libraries. As we don't want to have them stored on Internet we needed some tool that handles dependencies. We have decided for Nexus.

Source code control
Although there are new source code control system like git we have decided to use probably the most common one Subversion

Mobile web development framework
After lot of investigation you find out that the market with the mobile web application frameworks is quite poor. The only available and really useful open source solution is: WALL NG. Luckily we have managed to almost fully integrate WALL NG with the Grails.

IDE Tool
Although we didn't have any experience with InteliJ Idea as this is currently only tool with good support for groovy/grails we have decided that our IDE tool of selection is InteliJ Idea.

In-house Grails plugin repository
As Grails has number of useful plugins and we knew we will be using them. This leads that we need local Grails plugin repository. Grails repository is set in the Subversion.

Having setup like the one mentioned above should give you fluent build process that is easy to repeat in the any moment. Additionally Hudson will ensure that your build is in the fit condition because it will report all build and test breaks.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Starting with the Startup - Start Using Scrum

After Scrum has been selected as process and the team have been educated about agile and Scrum we can start with setting up development environment. Very important thing to notice is that we can start using Scrum right away. Yes, Scrum can be used for tasks where you need to make decisions, investigation, setup of development environment and similar tasks.

As quite often those tasks are not too much time consuming and you want to review current status more often it is best to start with short sprints. E.g. we decided to make one week sprints. This means that you can review your progress, adapt to new findings and adjust your directions on the weekly basis. When you are deciding about length of the sprint you should ask question: For what time period can we be sure that we will not change our minds?

The first thing we did was not part of the sprint but we did that with the purpose. We wanted to select some Scrum tool.

More or less there are two basic options:
* Using excel for product backlog and sprint backlog
* Using some of existing (commercial or open sourced) Scrum tools

We have decided to use ScrumWorks basic edition with the addition of the big pin-board.

ScrumWorks enables you to have product backlog, sprint backlog with the burndown chart, and some advance reporting options. Pin-board is used for user story cards. Idea is to split the pin-board in columns (e.g. todo, progress, testing, done) so everybody can see the status of the current sprint by simply looking onto it. If you are asking: isn't Scrum tool enough, I would say no. The reason is that if you are not part of the team, to check the status of the sprint it is enough to check the pin-board. Without pin-board you would had to open Scrum tool and this is already enough to give it up on checking status of the sprint.

One of the most important features of the agile and Scrum is transparency. We want to be aware of the real situation in each moment. If the project or sprint is late we want to find it out as soon as possible.

So we have prepared our Scrum tools and now we are ready to start sprint(s) for setting up development environment.

So how we set up development environment will be described in the next post.