Compuware looks to extend its developer skills as part of its Compuware 2.0 makeover.
DETROIT-As part of its effort to re-focus as a more solutions-oriented
company with greater responsiveness to customers, Compuware is instituting new
agile and open-source development practices that will help the company react
faster to changing business requirements and customer needs.
Paul Czarnik, vice president of technology architecture at Compuware, told
eWEEK the Detroit-based company is putting in place a Compuware Community
Development process, which promotes collaboration, agile development, use of
open-source technology and methodologies, automated testing, and project
Czarnik said the process will help Compuware increase the return on its
technology investments and enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of the
company's development team to develop better, higher quality software and
provide better time to market.
The company's focus on agile development has paid off in higher-quality
software and more complete builds along the development process, he said.
"The way we try to use agile development is to be able to pull the
trigger after each sprint," Czarnik said, noting that each cycle or sprint
produces a set of tested code that could pretty much go into production if
necessary. The teams practice agile development in monthly cycles.
Moreover, with agile development, "Everybody's engaged more; we're
using more of the developers' brain power and they can see the connections of
their contributions" to the finished products, he said.
Czarnik also said Compuware is moving away from code-centered or
product-focused development to a solution-oriented development environment, in
which it is doing more resource pooling and community development.
"We're taking a page from open source," he said, noting that
Compuware works with the Eclipse Foundation and the Apache Software Foundation,
and is a member of Eclipse.
The Compuware Community Development approach "gives developers a chance
to work on different code lines and bring fresh ideas in," Czarnik said.
"They can work on Java or move to Microsoft technology or to other things
like the mainframe."
Overall, the process internally works much like an open-source project. On
the various efforts, "We have a core team of committers and an extended
team of contributors and then the broader community," Czarnik said.
"And we let the developers run this as a meritocracy."
He said participation in the community development scheme is even built into
the appraisal process for developers, although all developers are not compelled
"We want to have a model that mirrors open source," Czarnik said.
To maintain order, he said the company has a strong project management system
in place that looks at the resources and where people are working on various
Some things the teams are doing include "looking at how we can
instrument Java in one way across all the platforms," Czarnik said. The
company also seeks an open-source strategy for frameworks. "We're trying
to create a pluggable framework that every product can leverage," he said.
In addition, Czarnik, under the influence of Compuware CEO
Peter Karmanos Jr., has instituted the concept of technology "Eagles"
that soar above the crowd in the developer ranks. Among the points describing
these Eagles on a list Czarnik showed eWEEK are criteria such as being a
"smart, proficient technologist and prolific coder; not afraid to call
themselves 'programmer'; works independently, collaboratively; accountable,
flexible, ethical; assigned hard, technical problems; appraised on objectives
achieved; consultant to other groups; high visibility, high-ROI projects; and
won't work on things that aren't 'useful.'"
Czarnik manages a team of 500 people all focused on
product development, 300 of whom are programmers, he said. He said he is always
on the lookout for Eagle candidates.
Darryl K. Taft covers the development tools and developer-related issues beat from his office in Baltimore. He has more than 10 years of experience in the business and is always looking for the next scoop. Taft is a member of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) and was named 'one of the most active middleware reporters in the world' by The Middleware Co. He also has his own card in the 'Who's Who in Enterprise Java' deck.