Thursday, June 27, 2002

Production Matters. The most critical phase in a systems life cycle is the transition to production. Done wrong and all of the work performed in the requirements, design and development phases count for very little, no matter how well the work was managed and how mature the processes. A book that specifically addresses this make-or-break event is The Unified Process Transition and Production Phases. In the Unified Process (or any systems life cycle) the milestones/phases up to transition are well documented, but these represent the tip of the iceberg with respect to determining project success and total cost of ownership. This unique book examines the transition and production support requirements, addressing some of the deficiencies in the Unified Process (production support is all but ignored), and can be applied to other development life cycle models, nearly all of which have the same blind spots.

Many of the ideas and the approach for this book were born in the author's earlier book, More Process Patterns, which examined the very transition and support requirements in a more generic manner. In fact this book, like the earlier one, is a collection of best practice patterns that cover the transition and production milestones. After an introduction that explains the rationale and approach, the book covers the workflows and patterns in the sequence in which they will occur: testing, deployment and environment, operations and support, project management and infrastructure management.

What makes this book important is that it extends the Unified Process to include the key milestones that account for cost and quality, and goes into great detail about what is required and how to avoid failure. If you work in operations and support you will find the material in this book invaluable - you should also buy copies for key members of the project team that is delivering your system so they have an understanding of and appreciation for the task of supporting their creation. While this book will obviously benefit shops that employ the Unified Process, the information and workflows are equally useful in any development approach.

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