Wednesday, 13 February 2008

Moves are afoot

This blog will be migrating to a new URL soon. Once everything has been organised, coded, tested, re-coded, re-tested, users changed their minds, coded, tested and launced I will post a new link. Until such time code well, code smart!!

Wednesday, 6 February 2008

Quote from a user

"The intricacies of Lotus requires meditation". Spot on I feel!!!

Monday, 28 January 2008

PCLP R7 Development

Finally after about 8 months of trying I took the R7 Development Upgrade exam, this has been becoming a running joke, every time I scheduled the exam, something came up and it just didn't happen. This time I gave myself 3 weeks to prep and thankfully it was worth it and I passed, however for those of you still looking to take this, all I can say is familiarise yourself with the client, there are all the questions that you expect covering all the topics, although I was glad to see no DB2 questions, however it the real b*st*rd questions that catch you out if you have not been using the client day in day out, real shame when you have been using R8 since the day the beta first came out.
Thankfully this now gives me a chance to spend some time looking at new techs, so AJAX and JSON, here I come!!!

Tuesday, 22 January 2008

It's that time of year when we all get a warm fuzzy feeling

Yep it's January and the great and the good have gathered in Orlando to announce all things Lotus. Which therefore means that I am still sat at my desk here in dreery Reading, still planning on leaving this place to find an employer that is happy to pay for me to fly to the US and spend some brain time with other like minding Lotus geeks. I see little point in rehashing the announcements that came up, so check out Ed Brills website among many others for the latest news. For me, Notes on the iPhone is looking good, yes I know it's just a cutdown version of DWA, but it just ticks another box in the justification of why when my current contract is up, that spending £300ish on an iPhone is the way to go.

Tuesday, 18 December 2007

The Dangers of Inexperienced Testers

Having just rolled out a major upgrade to one of our flagship apps, we are currently beset by problems. Now I don't want to push all the blame onto the users, but at the end of the day, they insisted on a 2007 rollout, rather than giving us another month and rolling out around mid January, however it has meant that we have not had time to test most of the application and have to rely upon our main user to test things. However she is somewhat inexperienced in testing large wholesale changes to the system and in hindsight we have made a rod for our backs by not over-seeing testing ourselves. Sadly enough I keep hearing the comment, "Oh I didn't realise that needed testing because you didn't change it". When you have a complex application with everything interlinking, everything needs testing. Also the point of a UAT was completely miss-understood, the list of outstanding issues was reviewed and she checked that each had been fixed, but in true developer style, you fix some you break some.
Looking for the Silver lining in this one, hopefully this should mean that we get some kind of backing the next time we say "This isn't ready to be rolled out yet".

Thursday, 6 December 2007

It's Christmas Time

Well it's been nearly a month since my last post and things have been somewhat hectic, hopefully the project I am currently working on will be put to bed within the next 7 days and then it's back to some more interesting work. There's only so much pure Notes Client development you can take.
Omnifind is moving along nicely and once we iron out the last few bugs we will be looking to roll out into production early in 2008 with a view to expand on it's use probably quite quickly. IBM has worked closely with us to give it the "Wow" factor as our previous interface with Lotus Discovery server, was somewhat bland. Can I just say that when a salesman tells you he will make sure that XYZ gets done, I always get nervous and expect to be let down, however IBM have more than delivered on their promise and I have given us a product and interface that will please the users.
I am hoping to start delving into the world of Collaborative Applications over the Xmas break so expect information about those in the new year (unless the call of the Xbox 360 is too great!!!).

Wednesday, 7 November 2007

It can be hard work at times

When you work in an organisation where there is a direct split across Notes Support there are always issues which get bounced from team to team because no-one will step up and take ownership of problems. We have a team that is currently split into 3, we have a Notes Support/Day-Day Admin, sitting out in India, here in the UK we have a 3rd line Notes Support team and us Developers.
This does tend to mean that any problem that comes through with anything other than E-mail ( and in many cases those too ) being assigned to our Development group without any kind of investigation. The problem then occurs that once we have the call, trying to pass anything back that goes above, granting access the user is missing etc, is difficult as you have to almost diagnose the problem to the extent of coming up with the solution before they will agree that it needs to be assigned back. The guys in India are capable Notes admins and can do all the standard day-day stuff but are lacking in the confidence to investigate further and also to ask questions, although this is not just limited to the Notes field. Consequently a problem will sit with the Notes Admin team in India for a week or two whilst they do very little to advance the problem, before being assigned back to the 3rd line team who invariably are too busy with other stuff to give the time to fully investigate the problem. This of course leads to frustration for the users who only know that they phoned the IT Helpdesk, who logged the call to the Notes Team to look at.
How can we improve things????
Well first and foremost we have a team that is split across 2 continents and 3 different management chains, yep each team has it's own team leader who answers to another manager who them answers to another manager who then answers to the Global IT Director. Easiest solution to make is surely to bring all three teams under one manager who has some experience of Notes and can therefore cut through the bull-shit argument of "This is a Dev issue/This is an Admin issue", can push jobs directly from one team to another when it's obvious that assistance or extra knowledge is required and can have an overall view of what is going on??
We also need to look at other possible improvements, sharing of knowledge and opening lines of communication. Requests for help should not need to go through management and should be able to be made and actioned at a team level, high priority work withstanding.
In general things have to improve to make Notes a stronger product within our organisation.