A year ago, an eclectic group of software development methodology gurus agreed to surrender their egos for an Eclipse project to enable different development processes to coexist.
A year later, the version 1.0 of Eclipse Process Framework Composer, and version 0.9 of the OpenUP (short for Open Unified Process) process, have been formally ratified and released.
The tools are an Eclipse plug-in that provide a way to author and configure processes. The meta model, a consensus vocabulary for representing a software process, that in the long run, could enable software teams to mix and match different pieces from different processes.
OpenUP began when IBM Corp made a seed contribution of about 15% of the Rational Unified Process (RUP) about a year ago. According to Chris Sibbald, a senior systems engineer for life cycle solutions at Telelogic AB, the project took a left turn from RUP by subsequently streamlining what was contributed, and adding elements of agile processes that carry more modest planning requirements.
For instance, they added the concept of backlogs that are managed for each project iteration. Borrowed from Agile and related Scrum methodologies, this approach has teams huddling on the spot, reassigning what’s changed, then revising priorities and marching orders for the next iteration of the task.
Another design goal was making the process far more compact than RUP. Whereas RUP is very comprehensive, meaning teams pick and choose pieces of it to use, the EPF group wanted to make OpenUP as small as possible so there would be a common core on which teams would add the pieces they need.
In fact, the Eclipse EPF team strove to use elements of the OpenUP process as they were defining it.
According to Kurt Sand, senior solutions manager at Telelogic, the benefit of having a process configuration tool based on a standard metadata model is that it shortcuts the reinventing of the wheel that happens when users customize or develop new processes.
We have always delivered one to one support to our customers, he said. This will be a more efficient delivery mechanism. We can start with the [process] framework and customize it to their needs.
With the first major milestones passed, the EPF group will be holding back-to-back meetings in the US and Europe during early November to hash out the next deliverables on the schedule. Possibilities include developing additional processes for the framework that would coexist with OpenUP.
Sand and Sibbald reported that the EPF project team was in a bit of a self-congratulatory mood over having met their targeted release date of October 2. But for the record, the original release date was September 1.
In May we added new iterations to the project that extended out the deadline, he said.
Some things never change.