City West Water Case Study

K. J. Ross & Associates conducted an assessment of City West Water’s Application Lifecycle Management Process using Microsoft tools. Download this case study as a one page PDF here.

PROJECT OVERVIEW

City West Water (CWW) has a number of ongoing small IT projects. The management of projects is the responsibility of individual project managers, each of whom makes use of a different set of templates and techniques for managing projects. In addition to these smaller scale projects there is the spectre of Project Arrow, a major multi-year system upgrade project which will shortly be commencing across CWW, at the moment the tender process to decide the vendor is taking place. K. J. Ross & Associates (KJ Ross) was brought in by Microsoft to conduct an assessment on the Application Lifecycle Management (ALM) process. This was part of a global trial for the Deployment Planning Service (DPS) that is now a live Microsoft Program.

FINDINGS

A detailed report from the Microsoft ALM Assessment tool was generated from a number of interviews with key staff members across a broad range of roles within City West Water. The overwhelming impression to come from
these interviews was the lack of standards with which projects manage the software development lifecycle:

  • Requirements are tracked in a number of different tools, including both Microsoft Excel and Microsoft Word
  • Test cases are contained within Word and Excel in nonstandard formats
  • Defects are tracked in SharePoint (within an issues list) or in some cases in the open source defect management tool Bugzilla
  • Individual project managers report project status using a PowerPoint slide template

Reporting test progress is a manual process. Test cases are not automatically tracked and so every week the project manager has to manually collect progress and structure this into a report. There is no formal means for reporting progress more frequently than this Many projects are delivered by external vendors with little visibility into the internal testing processes. The delivered builds are often prone to defects. Recently internal development has moved to VS 2008 and TFS 2008. This has allowed the applicable projects to make use of the improved build and defect tracking within TFS 2008. The decision to go to TFS 2008 rather than TFS 2010 was due to some existing internal software being coded in earlier versions of .NET which are not supported in TFS 2010.

RECOMMENDATIONS

Based on the findings of the ALM Assessment tool a number of recommendations were made to improve the existing processes at City West Water. Updating to Visual Studio TFS 2010 would provide the improved requirements management, defect tracking and reporting process. Unfortunately at this point such an upgrade is not possible without further investigation in conjunction with Microsoft into how the older applications can be made to work within TFS 2010.

To read the recommendations, please download this case study as a one page PDF here.