Major Media Company Puts the “Team” Back in Software Development

I really like to read success stories like this. And I'm seeing it more and more as organizations strive to increase predictability and quality, reduce risk and cost.

This is a story about an organization implementing a good process that is tailored to their needs, and enacting their process through great tools. Visibility and accountability become a great asset, and everyone buys in.

Some really interesting points:

“In reality, Rational consisted of a number of related products that didn’t work very well together,” remarks Szurek. “Rational was cumbersome and required too much specialized knowledge and time investment. Despite our best efforts, people simply refused to use it, and in a very short time, Rational became shelfware.”

Developers received two days of training in Visual Studio Team System. Although the training was by no means comprehensive, it did give programmers the skills and adeptness to start working with the software.

“With Visual Studio Team System, we thought we were buying developer tools; what we got was a culture-changing tool,” says Szurek.

Wilson remarks, “This project brought people together into a single process that everyone could understand. With clear roles, responsibilities, and a good set of tools, people are empowered and have a real opportunity to contribute. Projects now have a new sense of vibrancy, energy, and personal accountability.”

“Visual Studio Team System puts tools and good patterns and practices together, and reinforces the methodology we’ve put in place, every day, on every task,” says Szurek.

“There’s less e-mail chatter over whether an issue was a defect or a requirements definition problem,” remarks Zastawski. “Everything is in one place. We can easily see what needs to be addressed, so defects get handled sooner.”

Belovoskey, who manages testers and release managers, remarks, “It’s nice to have developer code, test code, and Web tests all in the same place in a single project. That is a huge benefit and a very nice feature.”

Szurek advises, “Even though the vision for our new methodology came from Visual Studio Team System, and much of our solutions framework came from MSF, we invested very heavily ourselves—and that’s what it takes. Great results require deep investment—even sacrifice. Not all organizations need to travel the same distance, but every organization has to own the product. Certainly, an organization could hand MSF to the developers, and they may get some value from it as a development tool, but that organization will never get the full organizational impact that’s possible. People need to understand MSF and make its values their own.”

 

Source: Microsoft Case Studies: Clear Channel Communications