CIS-NET 5 was not Built in a Day!
I hope the modern Look and Feel of CIS-Net 5 and its main new function the Single Work Dashboard will be appreciated by all CIS-Net users. In this article, I would like to present the process of working on the product that you may benefit from on your desktops since 18th of July 2016.
THE TIME FRAME OF THE PROJECT
Following the CIS-Net releases policy every 6 months we a new, enhanced version of the product. CIS-Net 5 is the latest release, which we are happy and proud to present.
It is worth adding that FastTrack is involved not only in the enhancements of CIS-Net but also in X-Industry projects, which are out of our regular releases, so the project process of CIS-Net 5.
As it can be seen in the timeline, we can say that the works on CIS-Net 5 started in May 2015 with the conception of the Single Work Dashboard. Then in July 2015, the idea of the new User Interface Framework appeared. In the meantime, as usual, we were working on the Requests for Enhancements. Every month the Business Liaisons group was discussing them, the development team was estimating them, then they were ranked and developed in order to be included into CIS-Net 5.
THE PROJECT MILESTONES
The activities on CIS-Net 5 were split into two projects: the User Interface Framework update and the Single Work Dashboard. On top of that, we were working on the development for Requests for Enhancements (RFEs) and on the usual documents that we deliver on the occasion of new releases (such as the update of the user manuals, creation of the business release notes and a technical implementation on the societies nodes etc.)
As presented in the project timeline above, the most important event for the overall process was the finalization of the development of the most important ingredients of CIS-Net 5 such as the new Framework and the Single Work Dashboard. It set up also the rhythm of the user acceptance tests. In the first iteration, all testers were focused on the new framework and references, in the second one, on the Single Work Dashboard. Then, all of the user acceptance tests were finalized and formally signed-off by all of the domain managers and key testers. In the meantime, all documentation was prepared and released. At the same time, the update of the user guides had to be done.
THE PROJECT TEAM
The people involved in the whole process were the key element of the CIS-Net 5 project.
At its heart there were the development teams: one based in Paris and one in Toronto. As they consist of the finest specialist in their domains, I was certain that they were going to deliver a product of the highest quality. Their work and co-operation can be compared to a Swiss watch - years of experience allow them to synchronize with the highest precision. Besides, the usual follow-ups with individual teams on a daily basis and weekly sprints for all of the development teams were maintained in order assure discussions and communication on all the details of the project.
All of the domain managers and key testers were also very important ingredients of the project. The domain managers were responsible of the formal sign-off of the user acceptance tests. Key testers, as usual also helped us a lot with their participation in the test process. In order to test the application with its every-day users, some of the key testers actively involved their teams. It was to give us a view on the usability of the changes introduced into the look and feel of the application (because besides the RFEs, we did not introduce any other functional change). As you can see in the map, we were working with people living across the continents We had Business Liaisons involved in the overall process since its beginning, giving their important input since the project’s inception.
ORGANIZATION OF WORK
Prioritization was the key element of the work organization. We were to set up the overall priorities, They were set up in line with our general targets. Then we had to manage day-to-day priorities that were a consequence of our overall project delivery policy and additional requirements requested by CISAC. All that was to ensure that this major release could be delivered with the highest precision and attention to details.
One of the managerial challenges was to work across different time zones. Luckily, the involved business experts and our technical teams were very flexible, so it was definitely not an obstacle but rather the way we usually proceed, where everybody is used to compromises.
The most difficult, from the managerial point of view, was the fact that there are only 24 hours round the clock. It is always the case when the delivery date is approaching that we have a lot of workload and not enough time to incorporate everything at the same time. But our secret to success is cooperation and trust. I know that I can count on our development teams and that they put all their efforts and use their skills in the best way to build together our great success named CIS-Net 5. I am sure that the product we are delivering is of the highest quality.
Working on CIS-Net 5 was definitely an exciting experience. Please remember that it was only one of the tasks that we were handling. At the same time we were engaged in a Cross-Industry initiative. It was a very exciting and fruitful experience to be incorporated in two projects and to manage the priorities.
Working in the international environment was also a very pleasant and enriching experience. It allowed me to discover that everybody has a very unique set of skills and values that combined together work amazingly for the business and technical development of projects, giving them a totally different dimension.
I would like to thank all people who were involved in building CIS-Net 5: no matter if you were coding, defining functional specification, sharing your opinion, or participating in the test phase. All of you are extremely important and without your contribution our product will never be the same, so unique. Many thanks to the great representatives of Collective Management Organizations and the business and technical experts across the whole world.
Hanna Mazur, PMO FastTrack
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