4-page Case Study - Posted 7/29/2013
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LG CNS

Expanding the role of ALM for strengthened development productivity and quality

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* We don't have to ask those in charge or go through one thing or another to see who did what, when, where, why or how. All the data is right there for us in ALM and we can search whatever we need using the existing tool we use now *

Cho Kyungho
Head of Engineering Solution Unit
LG CNS High-Tech BD

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Situation

In 2010, LG CNS announced its new vision - to become the company at the forefront of leadership in smart technology. The crux of the vision lies in expanding new growth businesses such as its mobile service and smart green city while, at the same time, promoting its overseas business through in-house solutions. To realize this vision, LG CNS is currently focused on promoting its in-house solution business internally, namely through Smart Factory and e-Healthcare.

While working on the self-developed solution-based business, Engineering Solution Unit, LG CNS High-Tech BD came up with a new innovation. Namely, the department adopted ALM (Application Lifecycle Management) to bring about a change in the SI and IT service-focused culture and capabilities of LG CNS, steering the company towards being more solution development-oriented. What is most important in SI projects, given that they tend to be run on a one-off basis, is how to fulfill customer requirements within a given period of time. However, solution projects are different.

“An SI project does not need to be perfect, provided that the customer is satisfied with the result. However, a solution development project is provided to customers under a different set of evaluative criteria: ensuring quality from the project outset is critical. In short, quality is the most important thing in the solution business. You simply cannot compromise on that", said Cho Kyungho, Head of Engineering Solution Unit, LG CNS High-Tech BD.

Before deciding on the adoption of ALM, Engineering Solution Unit weighed the pros and cons of the traditional approach to project management and reached a shared conclusion: though it had the tools and processes applicable to the concept of ALM, they hitherto had only worked in isolation.

Those participating in a project traditionally were required to share data on requirements, design, implementation, test and deployment through PMS (Project Management System) and to use the tools that were allocated according to role. In other words, developers managed source code using a configuration management tool, while testers did their job using different tools; likewise, the Project Manager (PM) focused on integration in the process of development, test and build through the CI (Continuous Integration) tool.

From process to tools, in theory there was nothing missing, but that’s not how it tended to work in practice. When a new requirement came up, it would affect all processes, from design to development, right through to testing and deployment. In other words, various side effects can be caused whenever something is modified or added. The problem here is that when requirements are frequently requested and added one by one, the process for managing that change is simply not robust enough. This leads inevitably to problems with both quality and performance.

To reduce the risk of such a problem arising in the first place, project managers had to ask those responsible to do paperwork and report on progress made each day prior to leaving the office.

Despite such efforts, problems with ongoing project were almost without exception never clearly identified. Though project managers worked hard to manage paperwork correctly and to check output as required, such detail was never able to be put together into a bigger picture. It was, in other words, difficult to get a complete overview of how the project was progressing across design, development, testing and deployment. Engineering Solution Unit realized that this approach was simply unsuitable for its solution development. With that decided, it adopted the ALM solution in 2010.

Solution

Engineering Solution Unit, LG CNS High-Tech BD conducted a careful review of the numerous ALM solutions available, including both open source and commercial variants. The conclusion it reached was that there was no tool which could satisfy everything it needed completely. So, the department made clear that what LG CNS needs most is ‘data integration and process automation’ and, in this regard, it narrowed down three final candidates – solutions from Microsoft, IBM and HP. “The solutions provided by the different vendors all had both merits and demerits. Those with good functionality were typically difficult to use, while others strong in one specific area were afflicted with compatibility issues. In the end, the Microsoft solution was the one which was best suited for our needs, in terms of covering the whole area of ALM. It was particularly good in terms of integration and process automation", said Cho Kyungho, Department Head.

“Microsoft Team Foundation Server provided a full set of every tool needed for ALM. Plus, it was easy to optimize every step of the project, right from process management through to requirement analysis, design/development and testing in precisely the way we want”, he explained. “Most solutions focused on source code management, but Team Foundation Server facilitated not only source code management, but also DB change management".

Another reason behind the choice of Microsoft Team Foundation Server was that the adoption of ALM solution by Engineering Solution Unit would serve as best practice which could encourage others to use this solution at the enterprise level. In this regard, Engineering Solution Unit examined the applicability of Team Explorer Everywhere with Eclipse plug-in to see whether the Java Development Team could benefit from full use of the solution. After a rigorous evaluation stage, the Engineering Solution Unit decided to adopt Team Foundation Server.

This decision kicked off the Engineering Solution Unit ALM adoption project in 2010. Its goal then was simple and clear: to make it easy for everyone to use ALM without the need to learn something new. The Engineering Solution Unit took on board its experience from previous projects when too many tools led to team members overly focusing on reporting, rather than on output. Hence, it took a different approach this time to help developers embrace new tools more easily.

Engineering Solution Unit structured the use of ALM in such a way that the PM, developer and tester did not have to ask each other what they were doing, nor check related code/documents in order to assess project progress. Indeed, the PM and analysts were given Microsoft Project and Team Foundation Server with Team Explorer, whereas designers and developers were provided with either Visual Studio Professional or Visual Studio Premium; Visual Studio Ultimate was given to testers. Then, data located on the configuration management server, tester server and PMS became structured in such a way that the ALM system was able to keep the data in batches, while non-structured data such as design or requirement became integrated within SharePoint DB.

After creating a single ALM environment, Engineering Solution Unit phased in the solution from the fall of 2010. Later, in 2011, it applied ALM in depth with the development of MES (Manufacturing Execution System) for the pharmaceutical industry. The result of ALM was then reported to board members. Today, Microsoft Team Foundation Server is the tool of choice for all solution development projects managed by Engineering Solution Unit. Going forward, Team Foundation Server and Visual Studio are to be upgraded to the most recent version.

Benefits

Transparent, five W's and one H approach-based development process

ALM brought about changes to the day-to-day work of every member of the Engineering Solution Unit including PM, developers and testers. In the past, each had to get to grips with different tools, but now all they have to do is to check into ALM and that’s it. “We don't have to ask those in charge or go through one thing or another to see who did what, when, where, why or how. All the data is right there for us in ALM and we can search whatever we need using the existing tool we use now”, said Cho Kyungho, Department Head.

Then, what changes did ALM bring about in people’s day-to-day work? One example is when the PM creates a schedule with Microsoft Project and uploads it to the Team Foundation Server using the schedule button on the ribbon menu. Now, the developers and testers can check this schedule on their to-do list as they open Visual Studio. Plus, when the developers and testers complete the tasks they were given and upload the output to Team Foundation Server, the PM can find out how the development project is doing, without having to ask them for the relevant data. Handling a new requirement also became expedited. When a requirement was altered previously, it used to affect many programs. The developers had to go through design and source code line by line to handle any last-minute changes. Now, ALM provides a list of both program and design within Visual Studio. The only thing a developer has to do is click on the link and trace the changes made.

Clear and smooth communication

The main means of communication in a development environment is documentation. The problem here, though, is that document-oriented communication sometimes ends up making an easy task more complicated. A typical example is a simple misunderstanding between a developer and tester. In some cases, the developer might deliver source code that runs fine without any trouble on his or her own PC, but the tester suddenly finds an error while testing the same code. However, ALM serves as the ultimate solution to such problem. In Engineering Solution Unit, the tester is able to capture his or her screen and record video when an error is found in the code. This captured image or video is uploaded to Team Foundation Server DB and the relevant link is placed in the developer’s to-do list. That is, the developer can now figure out the problem while watching the image uploaded, without having to go through the rigmarole of having to explain the problem over the phone or via a complicated document. “For small-sized projects, the developer and tester can resolve differences through face-to-face discussion. This approach becomes more complex for large-scale projects involving hundreds of people. By figuring out from where the problem is promptly, we can save vast amounts of time”, said Cho Kyungho, Department Head.

Implement ALM at the lowest cost

ALM is commonly regarded as an investment that is both expensive and complicated. Tellingly, though many companies have shown an interest in ALM as part of the craze for agile development, only a scarce few have forked out the actual investment. However, Engineering Solution Unit overcame this harsh reality through a rationale choice. “We tried to adopt ALM with open source-based tools, but could not secure experts capable of making full use of each tool while still having an extensive understanding of the development process, right from configuration management through to CI and test. Commercial ALM solutions had proved the functionality and process, but they were too expensive. However, Microsoft Team Foundation Server provided everything we needed at low cost in terms of both installation and license", said Cho Kyungho, Department Head.

Serve as the best practice of ALM adoption

Engineering Solution Unit is now promoting the global MES implementation project for LG Electronics using Microsoft Team Foundation Server-based ALM. In this project, ALM is used as a means of enabling collaboration between customers and IT service providers. Such collaboration is realized through providing an understanding of how the project is being carried forward and in enabling action to be taken to address problems from the viewpoint of SI, rather than solution development. In other words, the whole process from delivery of customer requirement to designing, developing and test of an application is controlled and managed within ALM. Engineering Solution Unit plans to prove the benefit of Team Foundation Server-based ALM, providing a best practice benchmark for its application at enterprise level.

Microsoft Visual Studio & Team Foundation Server

For more information about the Microsoft Visual Studio, go to:

http://www.microsoft.com/visualstudio/eng/2013-preview

For More Information

For more information about Microsoft products and services, call the Microsoft Sales Information Center at (800) 426-9400. In Canada, call the Microsoft Canada Information Centre at (877) 568-2495. Customers in the United States and Canada who are deaf or hard-of-hearing can reach Microsoft text telephone (TTY/TDD) services at (800) 892-5234. Outside the 50 United States and Canada, please contact your local Microsoft subsidiary. To access information using the World Wide Web, go to:

www.microsoft.com

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This case study is for informational purposes only. MICROSOFT MAKES NO WARRANTIES, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, IN THIS SUMMARY.
Solution Overview



Organization Size: 10000 employees

Organization Profile

LG CNS is a global IT service provider with a wide range of services, including consulting, system integration, outsourcing, ERP/BI, IT infrastructure solutions and IT convergence.


Business Situation

LG CNS was faced with a clear business need for a higher standard of development productivity and high-quality assurance to be established in line with the new corporate vision of promoting its overseas business through in-house solutions.


Solution

In this regard, Engineering Solution Unit, LG CNS High-Tech BD adopted Microsoft Team Foundation Server. The rationale was clear: Microsoft’s solution ensures integrity throughout the entire development process. It takes this further by automating the process in order to strengthen its competitiveness as a solution.


Software and Services
  • Microsoft Visual Studio Team Foundation Server
  • Microsoft Visual Studio Technologies

Vertical Industries
Hosters & ISPs

Country/Region
Korea

IT Issue
Development

Languages
English

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