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.NET Center of Excellence
The Microsoft .NET platform marks a paradigm shift in how applications are developed for the Internet. Incorporates open standards that allow businesses to collaborate on the Internet with minimal investment. Hanu Software Solutions Inc. (HSS) is an expert in using .NET to develop application and solution frameworks.
HSS has established a dedicated Center of Excellence (COE) that leverages the company’s expertise in the .NET platform to the benefit of its customers. The HSS COE team delivers technical excellence through enhanced system architectures, application development capabilities, and reusable business components, and also focuses on building business solutions using existing and emerging .NET technologies and standards.
Hanu Software Solutions’ .NET Center of Excellence
For all the attention paid to returns on IT investments, little progress has been made in linking all elements of IT to what a business is trying to do. Managing IT investments and demonstrating the value of IT to a business is more challenging than ever, and most businesses seem to be falling behind. Management often asks CIOs to account for the very IT components that deliver value to the business.
This white paper describes strategies HSS has developed to maximize efficiency in delivering .NET solutions to our customers.
As a software services organization, whose business is IT itself, HSS has learned to align its operations on technology-focused Centers of Excellence (COE).
What is a COE?
The term Center of Excellence (COE) is an umbrella phrase used in many types of institutions, primarily in education, research, and healthcare. The IT industry picked up on this phrase and started using it to define the collection of tools, resources, and skills used to perform specific development and maintenance tasks by a concentrated team working in one location.
At times “COE” has become more of a marketing term, with little substance behind it, for IT. This is because IT service organizations are project-focused organizations with defined agendas and goals, unlike other departments that may lack the vision, longevity, and resources to maintain a long-term delivery system focused on a common thread.
Making sense of business
From the beginning, HSS has adopted a strategy of providing its customers with value-added and cost-effective solutions on an ongoing basis. As the company grew, HSS saw the need for a common set of processes and procedures that would allow its developers to rapidly create solutions and leverage project knowledge across projects, so the company could deliver services and continuously improving solutions. This requirement also required that all specialized toolsets, languages and knowledge of how to use them be available to HSS engineers in a structured and defined system, allowing them to develop new solutions flexibly, faster and at reduced cost. Enter the HSS Center of Excellence.
The elements of an HSS COE
HSS has established a framework for all of its COEs, consisting of the following key elements:
1. Languages and Technologies
Languages and Technologies
Each COE includes various programming languages, technologies, development libraries, and compilers related to that COE’s particular technology domain. For example, .NET COE uses the following technologies:
· Web Services: SOAP, XML RPC and WSDL.
· Distributed technologies: COM/COM+/DCOM/CORBA, RPC and NET Remoting.
The HSS development toolset is an important element of the company’s unique selling proposition, namely its ability to deliver solutions for many different lifecycles, budgets, and timelines. HSS does not believe in developing a new solution from scratch for every new project. Its toolset includes:
Engineering tools: GUI controls, reusable components, generic data access layer, SQL data script, SQL schema script, SQL compare and many more.
· Migration tools: VB to VB.NET, VB.NET to C Sharp, ASP to ASP.NET, PHP to ASP.NET.
Process Automation Tools: Defect Management, VSS, Dashboard, Line Counting, MS Project.
HSS also uses analysis tools, utilities and controls.
Process is important in HSS. The processes that HSS uses are documented and defined in its quality management system (QMS). All HSS development engineers follow these processes. The QMS implements industry best practices and is based on ISO quality standards and the Software Engineering Institute’s Capability Maturity Model (CMM) and includes:
· Formally documented project management processes including planning, scheduling, progress tracking, reporting, communications, issues, delivery management and many more.
· Formally documented engineering processes, including configuration management, requirements development, design, build and unit testing (UT), system testing and user documentation development.
· Comprehensive quantitative process measurement and control, including productivity measurement, schedule variance monitoring, defect density reporting, and effort variance monitoring.
HSS engineers follow the following best practices throughout the lifecycle of a software project to reduce development schedules and program volatility:
1. Inspections – At every stage of development or maintenance, HSS performs a detailed technical peer review of the software design and code implementation. Identifying and fixing errors at this early stage prevents bugs from entering your code, saving you time and money, and avoids bugs in the bundled software.
2. Component Reusability – HSS has developed a library of over 100 frequently used software components typical of .NET applications. These components are tried and tested, have a proven design, and are free from critical bugs. Components can be reused unchanged or with modifications. In the design phase of a new project, HSS engineers identify the right components for the new application. Only the code unique to the application is designed and written from scratch. Building high quality existing software this way into a new application saves the HSS customer time and money and helps ensure quality in the deployed application.
3. Change Control Sheet – The HSS QMS requires software developers to strictly adhere to the requirements defined for an application. On moderate to very large projects, a central oversight mechanism is needed to ensure that any changes are properly considered and coordinated. That’s why on such projects, HSS establishes a change control board. Includes members of the design, development and test teams. Sometimes it also includes members of the client’s team. Its purpose is to ensure that each change to the baseline is properly considered by all stakeholders and that each change is authorized before implementation. The CCB is the body that reviews all major change requests and approves, disapproves, or returns them for further information. The use of this card prevents “feature creep”, a typical problem in the software development sector, keeping the development program in line and with the functionality that the customer expects.
4. Nightly Software Build and Smoke Test – Every night HSS Build Group builds a new build of an application and runs a series of tests that verify its basic functionality. Building builds every night allows engineers to find and fix integration errors almost immediately. It also allows HSS to track feature rollout against schedule, as it shows on a daily basis which features have been rolled out.
5. Risk List and Plan – As part of its QMS, HSS develops a list of the top 10 risks for each development project, along with a plan to address each risk should it materialise. HSS engineers assess risks on a weekly basis, remediating any and identifying potential new risks, minimizing impact on scheduling and software quality.
Quality human resources are the fundamental asset of any organization. HSS has each COE staffed with employees who are knowledgeable in the set of tools, languages, and products used by that COE. The company hires engineering graduates who are experienced, trained and certified in internationally recognized IT skill sets. For example, people in .NET COE are MCP and MCSD certified.
HSS recruits top engineering talent from top universities and subjects them to six weeks of rigorous classroom and on-the-job training. HSS also provides advanced continuing education for programmers to all staff.
This means for HSS customers that their solutions, products and software are developed from certified resources, so customers don’t have to worry about the people employed on their projects. This also means that HSS customers receive value-added recommendations for long-term planning and can develop IT roadmaps with the confidence that HSS’s recommendations are based on the latest knowledge.
.NET COE: Deliver agile solutions on a Microsoft platform
HSS COE for .NET is aligned with the Microsoft platform and toolsets and provides business-critical solutions to a variety of business and technology domains. This COE has a collective 200 person-years of IT experience and over 75 person-years of .NET experience. Other key facts are:
Started in 2002
Number of completed projects 30
Location Gurgaon, India
Components of the .NET COE
This diagram illustrates the building blocks of .NET COE. Central is the HSS quality management system (QMS), which controls the activities, tools and resources of the other elements.
Faster.NET – The HSS development framework for .NET solutions
Continuous improvement work with .NET COE enables HSS to offer scalable, on-demand .NET solutions to customers in a variety of industries. The company calls it Faster.NET. Its key elements are:
· Preassembled and reusable software components
· A reusable engineering toolset that does not require customization for each project, thus improving development speed
· A reusable set of architectures or Solutions Blue Prints (SBPs), which saves you time developing your software architecture from scratch.
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