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Tad McClellan - Professional Profile


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GeneralGlobal Development-Part II Pin
Tad McClellan2-Sep-08 10:31
professionalTad McClellan2-Sep-08 10:31 
Working with people who are not in your location is a new situation for many people these days. My leadership is in New Jersey along with some other development teams I work with and most of my users are not in Dallas. While most of my users are in India I have a good number in the Caribbean, UK, and in the next couple months Australia and Germany. I work with system administrators in Singapore and Stuttgart. I have to remind people that people all around the world don't get July 4th off. Really there are very few if any "Global" holidays. Christmas is close but not quite. New years seems to be the only one I can think of.

If I had to put one thing on the top of the list of priorities when working in this environment it's communication. You have to make an effort to think about what needs to be communicated and the best way to facilitate that. Meetings are really hard to accommodate as it generally means that someone has to wake up early or stay up late. Email works well except you have to remember that anything that needs to be fixed or communicated probably will take at least a day depending on what time you send it out. Unfortunately people all around the world need to sleep and without exception most of them like to do that at night.

Working with a distributed development team adds some more complexities. Their are 4 pillars of any development organization.

1) Source control (version control)
2) Task Tracking (SDLC tracking)
3) Testing
4) Deployment

These 4 things must work in a distributed environment. We use VSTS which deals with source control well. As far as task tracking and SDLC I find VSTS too project centric. It's difficult to see multiple projects at that same time. We use the AxoSoft product OnTime for this which is much better then VSTS tasking. The downside is that the web version requires IE7 and my company has yet to upgrade from IE6. The latency from India on the client (OnTime is one of the few packages that has multiple interface options) is slow but workable. I prefer fat clients for this type of thing as it is very important that people be able to quickly create screen shots and save them to the task. That really can only be done on a web client if the user saves the file to disk first which is a major pain.

Testing is a topic unto itself as it's the heart and soul of any development group. Let me just say here that any product that is written will get tested, the question is by whom. If their are defects in a production the sooner they are found and the closer to the developer they are found the better both money wise and politically. The best way to deal with testing is continuos integration and automated testing. Those are big topics and with data driven applications very difficult to get done. I'll save our solution for another day. But suffice it to say here that having builds and tests run every 4 hours on a product where check-ins can happen 24 hours a day due to development happening around the world is critical. You want people to know about issues as soon as they happen.

Deployment on a global scale is a development issue since many times the application has to be created to allow for it. Our site has the web site flattened out and then we create the site hierarchy in IIS virtual directories. This allows us to XCOPY deploy. The point of using XCOPY is so we can leverage our DFS/R on our Inetpub directory. This ensures that we have the same version of code on all of our web servers. When you have multiple web servers in multiple locations the last thing you want to do is deploy to each one separately.

GeneralGlobal Development - Part I Pin
Tad McClellan2-Sep-08 9:59
professionalTad McClellan2-Sep-08 9:59 

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