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Using Maven to remove Chinese Wall during offshore development

Posted by mayworm on March 10, 2006 at 10:19 AM PST

I came across several interesting communication glitches in an offshore development software. This project comprises analysis, design, architecture and QA teams who work onshore, while developer teams are working offshore. We faced problems such as communication bottlenecks and lack of awareness of what developers were physically producing. A big part of these problems we got solved through the implementation of a communication plan between the teams. This plan focused on face-to-face interactions and the use of tools like Wiki, IM, Skype, forum and desktop sharing systems.

Motivated by the fact that developers were not present in the same place as the analysis, design, architecture and QA teams, but these teams needed to interact with whatever the developer teams generated(source codes, unit tests, etc.), or in some situations they needed to be aware of situations which involved other group members, we decided to use Maven to provide awareness for these groups that were geographically scattered.

Using Maven site generation was a simple way to make available information on source code projects, where scattered teams could analyze developers’ work and become aware of who they were working with – thus using up-to-date information. Therefore teams of analysis and design, architecture and QA can evaluate source codes and developers tasks (e.g. Unit tests, code analysis, Test coverage) by utilizing the process designed for the project, in addition to aiding the developer teams to verify if they are following code-style, and adopted metrics and executing unit tests(for domain layers and persistence layers, for instance), defect tracking, requirements queue for implementation, Javadocs, and others.

Maven site generation easily provides a site with several project information. The secret consists in adding interesting plug-ins which will generate reports. Some of the plug-ins that I like and consider important to team communication are Javadocs, Unit test, Test coverage, FindBug, PMD/CPD, CheckStyle, Changelog, TaskList, JXR, Developer Activity, FAQ, StatCvs, Dependencies Graph, Metrics(JDepend and Javancss) and specific plug-ins that you can write.

Distance developer software is very challenging, mainly if the subject is awareness between groups. Whenever possible, you need to make source code information available as it is produced, and Maven is a simple way to do this and much more.

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