Reengineering Engineering

I’m Rob and I’m a sort of professional troublemaker in the Engineering department at SirsiDynix. It’s my job to look for new, different, better, faster ways of developing our products than we currently use and make sure we collect useful information to improve even more. Just in the last few months, we've made some significant changes to help us deliver new features and bug fixes faster and ensure that your software arrives thoroughly tested and ready to work.

Design: We have improved our design process to make sure that our planned features get feedback from more sources and take into account the complexities involved. Our engineers also design plans to help test these features once they're complete. By coming up with a solid plan up front, we have better integration across products and built them faster.

Writing code: We've implemented a system called http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kanban kanban to help us focus attention on our most important tasks and not get distracted by less vital tasks. This system also makes sure our work goes through all the steps it needs to, including testing and reviews along the way. Our development teams meet frequently to talk about their work and look for ways to make it better.

Testing: The largest set of improvements we've made recently is in the area of software testing. Each development team has a dedicated software testing specialist who has implemented automatic performance testing with each new version of our products. These specialists do their best to make sure your library's systems can serve thousands of patrons without breaking a sweat. These tests also compare our current version with the previous versions, and our engineers use that data to make your software faster as well as more powerful. We have purchased more hardware to help us run these tests and implemented new testing management software to keep track of the issues we've found before. Finally, we have longer beta testing periods with more varied customers, to make sure our products work in a variety of places without a hitch. As an example, our beta testing period for Enterprise/Portfolio 4.2, lasted 7 weeks, involved 13 sites and over 95% of the reported bugs were fixed.

We're committed to continuous improvement and we want you to see the results of our hard work.

Author:

Rob Weidmann
Associate Project Manager