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Synchronization Problem

By timlok ·
Dear all,

Please help me on solving the synchronization problem between two development sites.

Backgrounds:
1) A site conducts system design and development
2) B site conducts development only
3) No common repository for design documents and source files.
4) Design documents and source files sent via emails.
5) Low-Budget and policies for not setting FTP or some online tool for sharing files.

Issues:
1) Latency for document exchanges
2) Some files are missed to be sent
3) Versions of documents/files were a mess
4) File Merging requires lots of human efforts
5) File Merging generates mistakes

Any comments or suggestions to improve the situations? Please help.

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Couple of Issues

by Oldefar In reply to Synchronization Problem

Sounds like the root issue is merging two teams at seperate locations into one. That is a challange that requires more insight into the situation.

On a purely technical perspective, the standard suite of applications in use is important. I am going to assume you use Microsoft only because they have roughly 80% of the desktop market.

Public folders in Outlook may offer a shared file system alternative to emailing attachments. Put the documents in public folders instead of emailing them around. This addresses the latency issue and missing file issue.

To make this work, you first need to create a consistent documentation schema. Standard templates, standard naming convention that identifies the proper place for a document, revision flow (original - rev. draft - approval - posting). This addresses the version issue patially.

Using Word, a master document approach allows different individuals to work independently on sections of an overall document. This eases the pain on file merging, reduces overhead of moving full documents, and reduces the number of multiple copies and revisions floating about. The master document is administered by a single authority (for example, the overall manager) to maintain integrity. This addresses the version issue, and the file merging problems.

I am not proposing a MS solution if you do not currently use MS Office applications. However, it is an approach if you are a MS shop that deals with your budget and policy issues.

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Best Practice

It sounds like the two sites operate independent of each other, either through organizational structure or lack of common processes.

The best way is to adopt a common approach (best practice) to defining your project business requirements in order that everyone is operating on the same understanding of what is needed. One that comes to mind can be found at www.powerplussystems.com.

Then apply a robust project management tool in order to synchronize user requirements to the various development activities performed at the two sites. This "work breakdown structure" is valuable in terms of what development activities are needed to support each business requirement, which in turn are assigned to people to perform. Physical location of developers becomes a moot consideration.

Finally, the project manager's role is to ensure that the two sites are operating synergistically. This can be done through a comon user requirement document and a cohesive development plan built off these needs.

And yes, it can be done.

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