Jan 192017

How big is a project… or more specifically, how big should a DOORS Next Generation project be. Where do we draw the project boundaries in DNG. The answer, of course, is ‘it depends’, the trick is to know on what it depends.

At one extreme, you run a single project and have everything in there. At the other extreme, each ‘document’ sits in its own project. Neither of these extremes is ever likely to be useful, but there are reasons for leaning in one direction or another.

As a starting point, I would suggest considering a real world project, the scope that has a project manager, to be suitable for consideration for a DNG project. This is the same starting point that I always set for DOORS Classic, and, just as with DOORS Classic, there will be very good reasons for sometimes extending the scope, and sometimes reducing it. We start with this position because it makes sense from a language point of view, and an organizational point of view. Continue reading »

Jan 042017

p1020220It was a foggy day. Not so foggy that you needed to stay home, but one of those days where visibility was kind of OK. It was quite bright, but traveling at speed you really needed lights on. Ten years ago this would not have been a problem. Most people see the need for lights in foggy conditions, some even put fog lights on way before it is actually necessary. Last week it was a problem.

Many newer model cars now have automatic lights. The car turns the lights on as it gets dark, and off again in daylight. This is great, it catches the rare occasion where you leave a fuel station in a town at night and forget to put your lights back on, it also makes sure that you have lights on as the daylight light fades. The sensor detects ambient light and takes away one more responsibility from the person behind the wheel. The problem comes when you encounter daytime fog. The sensors detect sufficient ambient light to settle on ‘day’ and don’t trigger the headlights. Continue reading »

Dec 152016

2012-09-11-18-20-27I am going to take a look at two aspects of user access controls in DOORS Next Generation that frequently come up.

The first is how to restrict read access for some team members to some parts of the project area.

The second is how to limit who can make changes to individual attribute values.

Both of these require a little creativity in workarounds, but, in my opinion, the business needs can be met with the tool. Continue reading »

Oct 242016

ladybirdI recently came across a project working Agile with Rational Team Concert (RTC). This is great, they have all the tracking tools they need to monitor project velocity, and to manage which stories will go into which sprint. Job done. Short blog entry here…

Oh, just one thing. Who is ever in a project that couldn’t be working just a little better. Best practice, whatever that may mean, is too often an unachievable leap away for many reasons. Better practice is very often within  the grasp of the project.

Agile stories were well documented, some better than others, but in general they fairly good, clear, understandable. The only problem is that they are in the description field of an RTC work item. This means that requirements cannot be referenced individually, and finding a single requirement can be a challenge. RTC, after all, is not a requirements management tool. I have proposed a step forward, towards best practice. Mid way through a project is not the time to leap to a different tool solution, but better practice can be achieved with little disruption. This step is one to a state of better practice. It is also a viable option for a new project starting out. Best practice, state of the art, is not what is required on all projects, and for many Agile IT projects, the rigor demanded of large defence project best practice is not only unnecessary, it can be positively harmful.

There is value to be gained from moving towards DOORS Next Generation (DNG), with a lightweight approach, the value gained should far outweigh the investment. Value comes in the forms of searchability, traceability and analysability.

My proposal is as follows:

Continue reading »

Aug 052016

2012-07-14 14.26.45IoT is almost everywhere, even where it has not reached, it is either assumed or talked about. It is in our homes, our wearables, our cars, it is in our public buildings, cities and transport. Surely designing for all these ‘Things’ must come with special challenges and need new techniques and tools?

If we look at the technology to solve a problem twenty years ago, and look at the technology to solve the same problem today, then yes, the two are vastly different. We typically have more software included, and there are some features now that were not considered then. This change has mostly happened slowly. This year’s car has been a small improvement over last year’s. I have a remote control for my TV – how about I put one with the central heating controller.

IoT does bring some interesting challenges, particularly in the areas of security and standards, but much of it is a small step on from what we had before. I worked on equipment in the mid 1980’s that had BIT, Built In Test, it put a code on the simple front panel display to show the result. Many things now have self-test, diagnostics, or predictive maintenance features, but they send the result over the internet and become part of the Internet of Things.

When we design for the IoT, we still have to have the core functionality, and all the challenges that gives us. Understand the need, understand the environment into which the system or equipment will fit, understand the operation and disposal parameters. Requirements, modelling, testing, and such things. We already have tools for this, we already have processes to support this.

So what is really different? Continue reading »

Apr 052016
Streams of Truth

One argument put forward for the use of databases, models and other data storage solutions is that we need a single source of the truth. The question that is not raised at this point is ‘What is the truth?’. We often want multiple versions of the truth. When I give data to a supplier, I […]