One of the most difficult things from a Standard organization aspect is getting people to request changes to a standard. STAR has been pretty good about this over the years, and in many ways I contribute it to the adoption of Agile development and management techniques. In general, people do not contribute or request modifications because they feel it takes too long to get their requirements met. STAR members can get a turn around in as little as a day, sometimes even within an hour. How is this achieved?
One of the technical development techniques that has come out of Agile development is the concept of Continuous Integration. Basically, everybody that is developing on a standard and creating its artifacts are integrating continuously. As code or changes to models are checked into source control, builds are started to generate and check that all artifacts are being produced as expected. Below is a snapshot of an early setup of the STAR Hudson continuous integration server:
STAR actually has about 6500 unit tests that run to check the quality of the XML schemas we produce. As the developers make changes and check in their changes, the Hudson build server monitors for new changes and then runs a build. If a build breaks, notifications are sent out to those that broke the build. This way we catch integration issues early instead of late when they are more difficult to debug and fix. The Hudson instance is made available to STAR members so that they have the ability to pull down changes at their convenience.
Providing your members and community with development snapshots helps improve the overall quality of the standard being produced, but also helps to eliminate one of the road blocks of getting community members to contribute or request changes. Shortening the overall development cycle is something that standard organizations need to do, as adopters can not wait years or even months to use what is being produced. Business moves ever faster, and we need to adapt or get out of the way.
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