Sunday, March 30, 2008

MDM Summit Demo: Some Learnings and a Great Team Work ....

Still seas do not make skillful sailors ... that was the message emanating from the Gir conference room at India Engg. Center of SUN Microsystems on the evening of 27th Feb 2008 as team Ahi was working full throttle on the MDM Summit Demo to be delivered around 8:00 PM to Monrovia team that evening.

Though the work had already begun couple of days before on the individual components for the demo, real impetus came in when the integration started with entire team getting involved. The stage was set, goals were clear and the eyes were focussed. The team got into a common room after a pint of wisdom from Ahi. All discussions came to a screeching halt and it was time to execute and build the bones together.

What appeared to be a sprint started taking the shape of a marathon when the team was unable to find a stable Netbeans installer to use for the integration. Version that was used for trial integration was phased out from the build machine. Local copies were also lost. We all groped for an Installer for close to six hours before we got something that looked promising !

Learning #1: Archive the best working software pieces that are used in the integration dry run. You never know when you would need it.

By the time things started getting into the shape at Bangalore, team at Monrovia started coming in and waited for a while before we could send instructions and software to proceed.

Learning #2: Work in a parallel mode with geographically distributed teams. Anticipate latency when huge pieces of software components need to be moved over the web.

As we chugged our way to the dawn, we started facing unusual software issues that required quick fixes and patches. Problems started creeping in when we unplugged the test data that we were working with till then and started using rich data sets created specifically for the demo scenario. The data created had been laying unattended for hours while other minor engg. issues were being fixed at mid-night.

Learning #3: Do early integration (as early as possible) and save time and last minute surprises.

After wresting with issues till 11:00 AM next morning with only occasional forty winks on the respective office chairs, the team started wrapping up gradually. The final bugle was blown at about 3:00 PM and that was when Ahi and Nilesh left the cockpit and ensured safe landing with a successful demo. Srini, went last, ensuring that what we delivered worked fine !

Thats the smile of contentment that keeps the life going .. despite all odds. Part of the game .. eh!

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