Retelligence Ltd

Retelligence Ltd

Configuration Management Consultant &
Serena Dimensions Specialist

Retelligence Ltd is a small, privately owned, software house responsible for developing and marketing the Retelligence suite of applications. The product range deals with Point of Sale (POS), distributed stock control, inventory management, direct mail etc. in a retail environment; Initially targeted at shoe stores, the product range has evolved to encompass a wide range of retail environments. It is written in a combination of Visual Basic and .Net with an underlying SQL Server database. With just 20 full-time programmers at the time of writing, Retelligence Ltd is perhaps one of the smallest users of Serena Dimensions.

Andrew’s services were engaged to design a (CMMI compliant) CM process based on a largely completed QMS process (underpinned by PRINCE2 and ITIL standards), to implement it in Serena Dimensions 9, to develop and present a training programme to the developers, and to effect a skills transfer to the permanent staff. All this was successfully achieved within the contract duration.

Andrew chaired a number of workshops to design the CM Process in consultation with TDA, project managers and developers to ensure that all their requirements were understood and met. All process levels were covered, from business requirements, through build management and defect tracking, to ultimate release and including interfaces with both Mercury Test Director and FrontRange HEAT. Once the process was designed, and all required change request (CR) and baseline types, lifecycles, attributes, state-transition rules and relationships confirmed, Andrew’s work continued by identifying the required file formats, MIME types, item types and item lifecycles for Dimensions’ internal use. Wherever possible, Andrew developed JavaScript to run through the Dimensions’ DMPMCLI interface to perform all configuration tasks, such that they could be repeated with greater accuracy and speed than is possible through the Dimensions Admin Console GUI.

A key feature of the Retelligence CM process is its use of Serena ChangeMan Builder (Catalyst Openmake) which places very specific process demands and requirements upon both item and change lifecycles alike.

As Retelligence has a number of customers with differing, bespoke, requirements the (entirely Microsoft based) development environment follows a heavily parallel methodology. Andrew therefore advised on strategies for trunk and branch worksets, naming and numbering standards, and techniques for merging parallel development streams, reducing and resolving resultant conflicts.

Andrew prepared and presented a basic CM & Dimensions training course. This was designed in a modular manner covering everything from a CM Overview and Dimensions Concepts through separate modules for Version Management and Change Management. In this way, users could select just the training they required. This was followed by a period of ‘hand holding’ during which the skills transfer was also completed.

Andrew also advised on triggers (Dimensions event callouts, written in C) as required, to support functionality not available as standard within Dimensions, although (due to changes in the client’s spending plans) the contract duration was unfortunately insufficient to allow their full implementation.

Keywords

Serena ChangeMan Dimensions 9, Serena ChangeMan Builder (Catalyst Openmake). ITIL, CMMI, PRINCE2, Software Configuration Management, SCM, Version Management, Build Management, Change Management, Defect Tracking, parallel development, conflict resolution, PVCS Project Compare, PVCS Project Merge, prepare training, present training, demonstration, workshop. DMPMCLI, JavaScript, Mercury Test Director, FrontRange HEAT. Visual Basic, VB, .Net.

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