Processes

Both platform and lab development follow github workflow.

Release Management

This post has an elaborate discussion on a successful release management using git.

Each repository contains master, stable, develop branches apart from other feature branches.

master
At any given point, master branch always has working code. This is the stable branch. Every commit on the master by definition is a new release. Commits on the master are tagged and the tags refer to a release.
stable
develop
All the work is branched off develop branch. Any new branch created to either realize a feature or fix known bugs is branched off develop and these new branches are merged back to develop after realization. The develop branch could be unstable when a feature branch is merged back to develop. For this reason, master branch is considered to be stable at any point.
feature branches
All work releated to a feature or a bug is done in a feature branch. This branch is created from the develop and after completion of the task, the feature branch is merged back to develop. The merging to develop is always done using a pull request. This is to ensure the code is reviewed.

Milestones and Releases

A repository is associated with every project. Each repository has master, develop, stable and release branches.

index.org is a top level file that captures the model to realize a project. The same file contains a section Releases that defines various features added to the project with timelines.

Whenever a new release is planned for a project, the details of the new release are added to the index.org on develop branch. After the details are added, a new branch is created from the develop to realize the features for that particular release.

In the new branch, index.org captures both the model for implementation and also the project plan with realization estimates and deadlines for the planned release. Once ready for release, this new branch is merged with develop.

A top level document defines milestones for the VLEAD project. Each milestone is a combination of particular releases of various sub-projects - systems, ADS, dataservices, dashboard, outreach etc. The advantage of such a setting is: at any given point, the project plans and implementation models for all the releases of various sub-systems that make up a milestone are readily available.

Development Process

Documentation

Every project – realization of either feature or product – is a model and this model is captured in a document.

The different sections in this document capture some of the steps in the development process defined here for realization of a feature/product from requirements gathering to release.

All documentation and implementation code is tied together in this document in different sections: Introduction, Requirements/Use Cases, Design & Implementation, Test Cases, Provisioning, Releases.

Requirements

A set of clearly defined requirements to be met to realize the feature/product is a pre-requisite to kick off the realization of the feature/product. These requirements are part of the model.

Use case Scenarios

Development team in conjunction with the customer creates a list of use cases derived from the requirements. This step allows both the development team and the customer to hold the same view point at the requirements. Design & Implementation is initiated only after this step.

Design & Implementation

A high level design is put in place describing the architecture, databases, technologies etc.

Low level design is tightly coupled with implementation. There is no separate documentation for implementation, the low level design is the documentation for the implementation since implementation is done in literate style.

Test Cases

The first level of validation of the application being built is the suite of unit test cases. Test case(s) for each function/procedure is/are written and are part of model.

Review

Each above step goes through one or more reviews before proceeding to the subsequent step. All review comments are addressed either by incorporating the comments or by providing reason(s) for not incorporating them. All the review comments are saved in the project management tool.

Release

A release is a realization of subset of requirements. A project is divided into multiple releases while each release subsumes a set of requirements. It is essential to chalk out the product/feature realization plan through a series of releases. In certain circumstances, lack of clear understanding of requirements might pose as a challenge in envisioning the realization of a product/feature through a series of releases but this should not deter us.

Definition of Done

A demonstration of the product/feature complying to the set of requirements/user-scenarios chosen for a particular release defines 'definition of done' (DOD).

General Rules

These are general rules which are not set in stone, but are essential to set the expectations right between all the stake holders and remove ambiguities in understanding the expectations between the actors.

  1. Change in requirements during the period of realization should be avoided.
  2. When change in requirements is imminent, model and project management should capture them.

Project management

Respective issue on redmine tracks each of these tasks.

References

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