Case Study: New Technologies in an Established Department

by Pete Carapetyan


When To Adopt?

  • When new technologies emerge, what is appropriate to bring into an existing department? 
  • Are these technologies leading edge or bleeding edge?
  • Are the tools mature?
  • Can the existing team members learn the new practices required ?

A fortune 500 company had to make some decisions like this for one of it's most important development teams. The product line it has invested in was provided by a large, well known provider, but it was relatively untested. Should we use it ? Where ? Under what conventions ?

The Technology Stack

I was called in help with this process after doing a couple other mission critical projects successfully in a related departement. We took the full complement of BPEL, Rules, and SOA processes provided by this vendor and put them through their paces enhancing an existing functionality set with known issues that had to be fixed.

The fallout was interesting. In some cases we abandoned the new technologies after a couple of months, as we discoverd them too brittle in tooling, and inadequately supported for everyday deployments. Other parts of the suite worked fabulously well, and we included them immediately, and got the resulting immediate boost in productivity.

Advising Management

By providing seasoned and benchmarked experience, and being able to execute the same task in multiple technologies, I was able to help management make sound decisions on which pieces to keep, which to forestall, and even a few other technologies to bring in as alternates which they hadn't even thought of.

By keeping their experimenation narrowly focused and in experienced hands, and splitting it between in-house talent with experience in their business, and external experience to bring in outside standards, we were able to focus expenses on where they could do the most good - and help the company move into the future without cutting itself on the bleeding edge.