A commentator to one of our recent posts, Getting Agile, asked for more perspective on our development time frame and resources. Following our statement that we have had a team of 14 people working for over 6 months to get CODA 2go product released, he stated that “This is the same sort of time frame I would expect from a ‘traditional’ approach and/or like one based upon .NET. This may be agile but it is not what I would call rapid.”
I think a definition of ‘team’ and the product we are creating will provide some depth to the high level answer I gave at recent Tour de Force events: At least 14 people have ‘worked on’ CODA 2go. This team consists of Product Management, Architects, Functional and Tecchnical Designers, Programmers, Automated Test Engineers, Testing Engineers, Documentation and Marketing. If you add in legal and corporate representatives, the team would rise above that. However, the core scrum team actually producing the product itself consists of 9 people (5 programmers, 3 testers and 1 on documentation). Other individuals are working on this project as well as others.
Not forgetting, of course, that the accounting knowledge and design brought to bear by the team builds on nearly 30 years of intellectual property represented by CODA. We are a 600 person, 14 country organization, part of the 5th largest midrange software author globally, Unit 4 Agresso. In the 6 months, the team has created an all new, multi-company, multi-lingual, multi-currency accounting service on Force.com. Not only is it seamlessly integrated with Salesforce.com and Google Apps, but it has an extensive workflow engine, deployment to mobile clients (check out the demos running on BlackBerry and iPhone) and many other advanced features.
The application has been stress tested, carries full automated regression testing for future releases and we have created and documented pattern based coding and best practices for developing on Force.com. I believe that the benefits we have obtained and the speed of delivery are far more than agile, they are revolutionary. At the same time as the application has been developed, the extended team has been part of the creation of the business model for Platform as a Service (PaaS) with Salesforce.com as well as creating the legal and operational framework around delivering applications in a PaaS environment. There are many things that an international application developer like CODA will not cut corners on.
Right from the design through the coding and testing and having a full time documenter on the project. What we have created and will continue to build, on is a fully scaleable, unified international accounting solution. I really don’t think you will find many world class business applications built in such an aggressive timescale.