Kamon Ayeva The Platform, The Framework And The Coach How The Right Trio Helps For Application Fast Time To Market

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When a company project team has to deliver an application, with the help of a Plone consultant (or consulting company), they generally have two possible paths to follow: 1) get the Plone expert to do …

When a company project team has to deliver an application, with the help of a Plone consultant (or consulting company), they generally have two possible paths to follow: 1) get the Plone expert to do the job for them, and then deliver some knowledge transfer, or 2) get enough training to help them get started in the Plone world and then continue with their own in-house learning and development process. Sometimes, none of both approaches (outsourced or in-house) is adapted to the constraints and deadlines of the project. A third way of doing, somewhere in between, exists. We call it "coaching-based development", and we have been using it with great success ! I will present a real case where I worked with the project team of HEP Bejune (a Swiss Education Institution) to help them with the development of an Education e-Portfolio application. Attendees of this talk will learn how to get more productive with this way of working, lessons we learned from practicing it, and how, as an additional benefit, it can be used to strengthen our community.

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  • 1. The platform, the framework and the coach Coaching for in-house application developments The case of ”HEP-Bejune Portfolio” Kamon AYEVA Ingeniweb
  • 2. Introduction Kamon AYEVA  Custom development & Training @ Ingeniweb 
  • 3. Let's start with the most important question ! What do our clients want ?  Solutions (Not Technology)  CMS and/or web-based apps that deliver service to  employees/partners/customers. You may replace ”clients” by ”users” 
  • 4. How they approach the problem We see 3 trends 
  • 5. Approach A : Outsource Hire Plone consultants to deliver the complete  solution ; very common. Also : They don't want to ”enter” in the technology. 
  • 6. Approach B : Get training Train the developers that will deliver/maintain  the applications on top of Plone ; frequent.
  • 7. Approach C : Flexibility A mix of A and B generally occurs after 1 or 2  successful project(s).
  • 8. Good news, all this works ! Clients find  Experts that understand their problem domains, and  deliver the customized solution. A helpful community : 3rd-party modules,  documentation, mailing lists, books. Good training offering. 
  • 9. But there is a flaw... Isolation : We (Solution Providers) are  perceived as ”the only experts” that understand the technology. As a consequence, the day it does not work as  expected, disappointed users could simply switch to the competition.
  • 10. It's important to solve this... ... because we have big plans for the ”web-  based applications” industry.
  • 11. Plone's ambition Be at the core of every major intranet or  collaborative site... and beyond.
  • 12. IMHO, 3 efforts Simplify the technology  Spread the technology  Help the company's team adopt the technology 
  • 13. #1 : Simplify the technology It's getting better : See Plone 3 !  Modular  ”Batteries included”  Settings : Sensible defaults + configlets for easy  changes.
  • 14. #2 : Spread the technology It's on its way : The community is alive ! 
  • 15. #3 : Help the team adopt the technology Help companies get their staff more involved.  IMO, the best way to do that is through  ”Coaching” !
  • 16. Value of coaching – for the client Interaction with someone that has a good  knowledge of the platform's internals. He is a member of the community.  He is ”engagé” in the project. 
  • 17. Value of coaching – for the provider Better understanding of what users want...  More opportunities for those ”AHAH” moments A more exciting way to transfer knowledge 
  • 18. We are doing it ! HEP-Bejune  A regional education center for trainers : ”Hautes  Etudes Pedagogiques” A project to build their new website 
  • 19. The new site is live !
  • 20. What HEP-Bejune got right ! If you know how to use the power in Plone, you  can win big ! There are many possibilities beyond basic  content management. Getting trained soon in the course of the project  helps avoid many traps.
  • 21. History Internet site project (Plone 2.1 + AT-based  custom content types + CMFPlacefulWorkflow & GrufSpaces...) A first training for integrators, in the middle of the  project.
  • 22. Our coaching experience Development of an add-on to be integrated in  the website : HEPB Portfolio A first 2-day session on-site : specify + develop a  prototype 2 x ”2-day virtual sessions” (using Subversion +  email + phone) Ping/pong between the coach and the developers with  code changes. Help with improvements / quality / bugs.  Along the way, the coach explains the  techniques/tricks used in the code.
  • 23. Démo of the application Some code snippets...  Let's see it in action ! 
  • 24. Lessons learned Build a ”team” (possibly virtual).  Prepare coaching sessions up front (using a  wiki or other specifications tool). Choose realistic objectives.  Generally 4/5 days.  Use the first day for a general introduction to the  framework, APIs, and the development tools. Use Subversion for better collaboration on the  code.
  • 25. How I will do it next time Methodology  Scrum ?  ”Getting Things Done” (productivity methodology) ?  Framework & librairies  New generation ”content types” techniques.  Grok ? 
  • 26. Q&A