After joining Bluefin’s graduate scheme at the start of September, my two colleagues Lee Pittard, Chris Choy and I began work on our first project, building an app for a strategic facilities management client.
We’re building on the work that DJ Adams and Lindsay Stanger have already done with this client. They built an application that allows timesheet managers to input data about the shifts their workers have completed. This means the timesheet managers are happy because their job is easier and they have a nice user interface to work with, and their workers are happy because they get paid correctly and on time. We’re extending their work, and you can read more about the scope of our project in week one’s blog post.
At the end of last week, we finally finished the data binding, and we worked closely with the client to manage the remaining two weeks of the project as effectively as possible, to ensure that we can deliver on time. We also worked hard to ensure that our product was ready to transport from the development system to the client’s new testing environment, following the client’s intensive system cleansing exercise. So, in our final week, what happened?
On Monday, Lindsay joined us on-site, and it was the first day that we were active in the client’s new testing system, so we were optimistic that we could make some serious progression. We’d scheduled that Monday would be a day when we could find our feet in the new system, and locate our test data, and maybe even start testing if everything went smoothly. We knew that all of the existing test data would be wiped, but we thought that we would have access to replacement data almost immediately, after the test users were set up.
Unfortunately, this was not the case. It was quite difficult for us to find out where the process of setting up test users was up to, because everyone in the IT department was preoccupied with the data cleansing and system migration exercise. In order to use our time effectively, we focused on tweaking the front end and dynamically creating OData URLs.
On Tuesday morning, and we still had no test users, which really started to worry us as we were quickly moving towards go-live. We pursued the client team persistently as we were concerned that we wouldn’t get test data in time to enough internal testing. Finally, after lunch, we secured two working test users, meaning we could get in and start finding bugs to work on. We established two work streams: Chris continued to work on the frontend, while Lee and I started on the testing.
By Wednesday, we had established that there was a good number of bugs to start working on, and some of these required us to go into the backend and change some ABAP. When we tried to do this just after lunch…DUN DUN DUN…disaster struck! We realised that we were locked out of the ABAP!
Because we’d transported our ABAP from a different system, and were trying to edit it in a new system, we needed specific authorisations in order to do this. Lee and I, working remotely with Lindsay, spent Wednesday afternoon trying to figure out a way around this. We couldn’t find a resolution, so we felt our only option was to build a direct copy of the existing gateway service that we could point to. This was less than ideal two days before go-live, but it was quicker than spending time trying to figure out our authorisation problem, so we set to work.
On Thursday, we had additional help from other Bluefin consultants, and there was nothing to do but get our heads down and power through. We’d scheduled a few things for Thursday – releasing the application to the client team for testing, holding a code review in preparation for handover – but due to our system and authorisation issues earlier in the week, we had no choice but to postpone these in order to break the back of our own testing and debugging. Thursday was a long day, with a lot of pretty serious issues to fix, but once again take-away came to the rescue and we left the office with just a few minor bugs left to fix prior to handing the application to the client for testing on Friday morning.
On Friday morning, we got to the office and cracked on with the minor bug fixes. Unfortunately, one of our “minor” bugs turned out to be pretty mammoth, and it was pretty touch-and-go as to whether we’d get it fixed prior to the client’s testing of the app. Thankfully, the client test manager got caught up in a meeting, meaning there was just enough time to have it fixed. Finally though, our fate was in the hands of the client test manager, and all we could do was wait.
Thankfully, the testing went really well. A couple of issues were highlighted, but these were either bugs that we could fix quickly, or features that we’d specifically planned to be in the app. This meant that we got the go-ahead: the client was happy with the app and was ready to roll it out to some friendly users! Unfortunately, the changes in the client’s SAP landscape meant that they’re going to have to transport it at a later date, and we didn’t get chance to see the app in the hands of some real users, but other than that, we had a successful go-live.
(From left to right: Lee Pittard, Chris Choy, Lindsay Stanger)