Predica automates, improves and increases control over software development and project management processes.
Situation and challenges
Predica Business Solutions was founded as a limited liability company in June 2009. It is formed by IT professionals with multiple years of experience in corporations like Microsoft, Dell. Predica delivers systems on Microsoft platforms (such as SharePoint, SQL,. NET) for companies from various sectors, including real estate, logistics, telecommunications and banking. Predica products and services are characterized by consistent high quality. In the years 2010-2011 the company has significantly grown in size and is now a 15-person team of software developers and testers distributed in two cities in Poland. Delivery of complex, large projects in such a team requires excellent coordination and organization of software development process. For this reason Predica analyzed a set of IT tools available on the market to support this process.
Predica specializes in Microsoft technologies, hence the natural choice seemed to be Microsoft Visual Studio Team Foundation Server 2010 and Microsoft Visual Studio 2010 Ultimate Edition. In addition, several tools from partner companies have been used, such as: TeamSolutions TeamSpec
, Telerik TFS Project Dashboard
Predica uses Microsoft Solutions Framework (MSF) Agile project methodology. Team Foundation Server 2010 contains a template for MSF Agile process, which Predica additionally adapted and extended to their needs. The platform supports the full scope of a software development project. The first phase of each project is Vision & Scope, which is stored in Team Foundation Server as User Stories. The result of business requirements analysis and a joint workshop with customer are these user stories, or in other words short descriptions of each system functionality from end user’s perspective. On the basis of user stories a Vision and Scope customer-ready Microsoft Office Word document is generated automatically with the use of TeamSpec add-on.
The project during implementation is divided into major versions (releases), which in turn are developed in weekly iterations – each TFS iteration labeled by week number. This process is characteristic for software development in an agile model, and allows the customer to quickly see new product builds and provide valuable comments and feedback at an early stage of system development. User stories are a central element connecting customer requirements with software development team’s work. The project manager has instant insight into work progress and can monitor this progress through reports. The reports customized by Predica include: planned and unplanned work, user stories progress, burndown chart, etc.
The test team also uses Visual Studio toolset to manage test plans and test cases. Test manager allows to generate a customer-ready Test Cases document automatically from TFS. With one single platform the test process is tightly integrated with software development.
In the center of the office a large screen shows basic project status metrics, including automated build statuses, test progress in a given iteration, and next tasks for each person.
Benefits from implementation of the described processes and tools translate directly into benefits for Predica customers as follows:
- Reducing delivery time of new application versions - the “time to market” is critical for the success of any company in any industry in today’s competitive market
- Integrating quality control and software testing processes directly into software development project has resulted in vast improvement in the quality of delivered code
- Increased transparency in the software development process has brought greater predictability of application delivery dates and earlier detection of any issues or project risks
„Consolidating all information in TFS and adapting those Microsoft technologies to our needs, allowed me to break away from the repetitive work of preparing project reports and documentation and focus on what is most important for us: our customers’ needs” – Grzegorz Chuchra, Project Manager, Predica Business Solutions.
Predica advises, provides training, implements and optimizes software development processes in other companies, using the developed know-how. Contact us at www.predica.pl to learn more how you can leverage these methods and tools.