March 2011 JSUG Feedback – SCRUM

The Johannesburg Siebel User Group was held once again at the IS chillroom located in Bryanston. The turnout was rather good and this would be a good thing in my opinion, if you consider how much value was given in the presentations. The first of the two presentations was given by two speakers Tania van Wyk de Vries  and Kevin Trethewey from the Scrum User Group South Africa  and thier presentation was on  SCRUM.I can already see the enthusiast’s having flash back of the weekend rugby, but it’s not quite the same thing. Interestingly enough they call scrum the ‘rugby approach’ , as the whole process is performed by one cross-functional team across multiple overlapping phases, where the scrum (or whole team) “tries to go the distance as a unit, passing the ball back and forth”.

What Is SCRUM?

Scrum is an iterative, incremental methodology for project management often seen in agile software development, a type of software engineering. It uses the real-world progress of a project — not a best guess or uninformed forecast — to plan and schedule releases. 

March 2011 Scrum

 Many of us would probably try and figure what word is the acronym (my best was Schwaber’s Cunning Response to Unmanageable Members). Sadly though it’s not an acronym and the only reason most companies spell it with capital letters is as a result of Schwaber’s early paper where he probably forgot the caps lock on when he wrote the title, but I stand to be corrected.

A brief history lesson is that in 1986, Hirotaka Takeuchi and Ikujiro Nonaka described a new approach to commercial product development that would increase speed and flexibility, based on case studies from manufacturing firms in the automotive, computer, photocopier, and printer industries. In 1995, Sutherland and Schwaber jointly presented a paper describing the Scrum methodology at the Business Object Design and Implementation Workshop held as part of OOPSLA ’95 in Austin, Texas, its first public presentation. Schwaber and Sutherland collaborated during the following years to merge the above writings, their experiences, and industry best practices into what is now known today as Scrum.

SCRUM Framework

 A product owner creates a prioritized wish list called a product backlog.

During sprint planning, the team pulls a small chunk from the top of that wish list, a sprint backlog, and decides how to implement those pieces.

The team has a certain amount of time, a sprint, to complete its work – usually two to four weeks – but meets each day to assess its progress (daily scrum). Along the way, the ScrumMaster keeps the team focused on its goal. At the end of the sprint, the work should be potentially shippable, as in ready to hand to a customer, put on a store shelf, or show to a stakeholder. The sprint ends with a sprint review and retrospective. As the next sprint begins, the team chooses another chunk of the product backlog and begins working again. The cycle repeats until enough items in the product backlog have been completed, the budget is depleted, or a deadline arrives. Which of these milestones marks the end of the work is entirely specific to the project. No matter which impetus stops work, Scrum ensures that the most valuable work has been completed when the project ends.

The One aspect that stood out for me was the Daily meeting. Each day during the sprint, a project status meeting occurs and they are called daily scrums/standups. The guidelines are that

•The meeting starts precisely on time.

•All are welcome, but normally only the core roles speak

•The meeting is timeboxed to 15 minutes

•The meeting should happen at the same location and same time every day

During the meeting, each team member answers three questions:

•What have you done since yesterday?

•What are you planning to do today?

•Do you have any problems that would prevent you from accomplishing your goal? (It is the role of the ScrumMaster (person responsible for the Scrum process) to facilitate resolution of these impediments, although the resolution should occur outside the Daily Scrum itself to keep it under 15 minutes.)

Something that was appealing was that in some companies they have a team work from the same room or area to improve communication and let’s face it things would get done much faster sitting in the same room rather than you having to rely on “John” to (if he ever does)  read your email asking him to restart your Dev environment.

I recommend you have a closer look at SCRUM and the value it could add to any business!

Jeff Sutherland in Self-Organization: The Secret Sauce for Improving your Scrum team

Well, I hope this helped wet your appetite (not to mention the cold beers and pizza) for the next user group on SIEBEL EMAIL RESPONSE ARCHITECTURE to be presented by Swapnil Walse.

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JSUG April 2011 – Siebel eMail Response Architecture

Title: JSUG April 2011 – Siebel eMail Response Architecture
Location: Chillroom – Internet Solutions – Le Mans Building – The Campus – Cnr Sloane and Main
Description: For March we’re going back to a single presentation for the evening. This should alleviate the time pressure we saw at the last event with two presentations.

Swapnil Walse from Internet Solutions will be taking us through the Siebel eMail Response Architecture. He will be covering items such as Profiles, Event files, Response Groups and the various Components. This is one for the techies!

Swapnil has around 5 years hands on experience in Siebel. His career has spanned projects for Dimension Data, Nedbank and Internet Solutions. He has worked on Siebel Biztalk Integration, Siebel Finanacials and Siebel Communications.
Start Time: 17:30
Date: 2011-04-04
End Time: 20:30

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Siebel Java Integration JSUG Feedback

Feb 2011, JSUG @ the Chill Room, IS

Feb 2011 JSUG session @ the Chill Room, IS

It was nice having a beer with the guys and girls, catching up over a game or two of pool quickly before the session at a new venue, the chill room, Internet Solutions.

Michael Williams from Tetrad IT gave a presentation on Java Siebel Integration and bribed us to ask questions with stress balls which leaded to him needing one too. He took us through a few options to choose from when using Java Integration such as Java Data Beans, Java Business Service and Siebel EAI transports. Very interesting indeed, Thanks Mike!

I’ve done a little investigating after the session and found this interesting business case:

Order Management is key component for our company and we are always looking to improve. One of the requirements of a project that came through was to automatically complete an order so that billing can commence when a product is plugged in. I know, cool functionality with really big benefits, a developers dream to work on.

Colleagues of mine were lucky enough to be given this project and the high level process they followed to implement this was when a product gets plugged in, a “digital handshake” takes place notifying an external system to our Siebel implementation know that we can start billing. The external system posts a message on our Java Messaging Service (JMS) and we read this message and complete the associated order.

Some of the advantages of using something like JMS is that it is an open source platform that you can use as is, and configure how you want to use it or develop on top of it as opposed to developing something new each time. It’s bus like ability allows other systems to either enrich data or also use the data. You can use the built in Siebel EAI JMS Transport Business Service to communicate with JMS asynchronously so that your users can carry on working without having to wait for the transactions to complete before continuing.  While not as flexible as some of the other Java Integration options, it’s great for standardising your external system integration as well as being robust and scalable.

That’s it for this month’s session and we hope you join us next month for the double header Siebel Integration methods and Scrum which promises to be a hit.

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JSUG March 2011 – Siebel Integration Methods and Scrum

Title: JSUG March 2011 – Siebel Integration Methods and Scrum
Location: Chillroom – Internet Solutions – Le Mans Building – The Campus – Cnr Sloane and Main
Description: It’s a double header in March. We’ll have Raymond Crown from Oracle taking us through the various options for integrating with Siebel. We’ll also have a representative from the South African Scrum User Group
Start Time: 17:30
Date: 2011-03-07
End Time: 20:30

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Johannesburg Siebel User Group

Welcome to the Johannesburg Siebel User Group!

Our aim is to bring together those involved in Siebel implementations to share knowledge and ideas; grow the skill base in South Africa; and generally have a good time.

To do that we’ll be holding regular meetings in the Johannesburg area. These are set for the first Monday of every month. The general format will be a presentation on a topic of interest followed by discussion and networking.

Our events for 2011 so far:
7 February: Siebel Java Integration
7 March: Siebel Integration Methods and Scrum
4 April: Siebel eMail Response Architecture
9 May: Software Testing
13 June: DB Architecture, clustering and high availability strategies, maintenance, sharding and performance
11 July: Data Quality and Data Warehousing
1 August: 2011 Social
5 September: Sales Force
3 October: Exadata
5 December: 2011 SAOUG Feedback

To get an idea of what a typical session is like (minus the beer and pizza), check out the video of our May 2011 session below:

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December 2010 JSUG Feedback

The turnout was a bit lower than usual, but still pretty good considering we’re entering the year end. The good news was the venues projector was no longer projecting pink. The bad news was it had turned to Siebel red ;) Tetrad ITs projector came to the rescue and the evening went smoothly.

Power up

Power up

This time round Christopher Hardy gave us an overview of the Siebel 8 upgrade process.  He’s recently completed a Siebel upgrade for Internet Solutions and we got to learn from his experience.

He took us through the process of the upgrade, highlighting:

  • the importance of testing
  • the roles and responsibilities required
  • some of the items to watch out for

A short time ago Chris was voted onto the SAOUG committee. I’m sure there will be some interesting items coming out of his term.

Sponsors for the evening were Tetrad IT.

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November 2010 JSUG

It’s been a bit hectic as the year ends, but the November feedback is here…

Another month and another session! This month saw Vusi Mthethwa from Tetrad IT give us a run down of the SAOUG 2010 goings on. He was followed by Michael Bornheim from Oracle presenting on Oracle On Demand.

We had a couple of technical hitches with the projector provided by the venue. Lesson learnt: don’t rely on a restaurant to have reliable AV equipment. We’ll be purchasing our own projector to make sure we don’t fall victim to venue management apathy again.

SAOUG Feedback

Vusi gave us a very entertaining run down of the 2010 SAOUG conference in Cape Town.

SAOUG, more than just beer

SAOUG, more than just beer

The core messages were the top to bottom offerings by Oracle and the importance of Fusion applications.

There are some very interesting things happening in the Fusion space and partners and customers would do well to take note.

You can checkout the presentation here SAOUG-Feedback

Oracle On Demand

Michaels presentation and demo gave us an interesting look into the very different world of the hosted Siebel product, Oracle On Demand. The product is simpler in terms of functionality than the on premise Siebel solutions. This is not to say however, that the On Demand product is insufficient. It looks like it can work very well for clients whose customization and integration needs are not onerous.

It was interesting to see the performance of the US hosted solution was brisk, even through a 3G connection.

At about 20$ a seat per month it seems worthwhile to investigate: both as a client and implementation partner.

Siebel partners in South Africa have been slow to take up the opportunities offered by On Demand as well as debating the value of those opportunities. After tonights presentation though, it seem there may be more to this product than has been considered by local partners.

Thanks to both our speakers for a great evening!

Sponsors for the session were Tetrad IT.

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JSUG Meeting – Siebel 8 Upgrade

Title: JSUG Meeting – Siebel 8 Upgrade
Location: Scrooge Diner, Brightwater Commons, Randburg
Description: Christopher Hardy from Tetrad IT will take us through a Siebel 8 upgrade.
Start Time: 17:30
Date: 2010-12-06
End Time: 20:00

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JSUG Meeting – SAOUG 2010 Conference Feedback

Title: JSUG Meeting – SAOUG 2010 Conference Feedback & Oracle on Demand Presentation
Location: Scrooge Diner, Brightwater Commons, Randburg
Description: Vusi Mthethwa from Tetrad IT will give us feedback on the 2010 SAOUG conference held in Cape Town from 31 October to 2 November. He will be followed by Michael Bornheim from Oracle, speaking about Oracle On Demand.
Start Time: 17:30
Date: 2010-11-08
End Time: 20:00

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October 2010 SUG Session Feedback

The group just gets bigger and bigger! We had double the number of attendees at this session than the last. Great going.

Leslie Cameron from Internet Solutions took us through Customer Order Management, giving us a candid look at the product.

Leslie Cameron - Customer Order Management

Being able to learn from the experiences of those who have successfully implemented the product is great, and is one of the reasons these sessions are so valuable. Leslie’s experience was reflected in his in-depth knowledge and ease with which he covered the topic and questions from the group.

Thanks to Consology for sponsoring food and drink!

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