Archive for the tag 'contracts'

From Model to Reality

The legal changes gave us reason and opportunity to rethink and rebuild our processes. First we implemented a jury-rig on the old system; it was clumsy and ignored the spirit of the legal changes, but adequately met the intention of the law. More or less simultaneously we began work on an Invitation to Bid for a replacement system which would meet our “corporate” needs. Much of the planning effort went into improving process flows, of course; another intention was to move much of the activity to the state website, so our customers could interact directly with the system. While adapting the old system to the new law was not considered feasible, it contained millions of data records and microfilm images, so moving the data and the images to the new system would be a major part of the undertaking and was a major cause for concern.

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Our Long Summer: XML, DTDs, and hostile vendors

One debate was never resolved to anyone’s satisfaction. The web team was fully convinced that the SOAP interface ought to have a fully-specified DTD, while the back end vendor was equally certain that this was a red herring. It was very much like they were talking about two different things called SOAP; the usual result was that the key players on each team talked right past each other, and wouldn’t acknowledge it. Very very strange days. Glad they’re past.

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Vendors: followup meeting

Today’s negotiations were mainly handled by a Jamie, a young programmer who was originally hired for web projects but who’s now working elsewhere. He asked good questions, insisted that folks contribute to the discussion, suggested things we needed to consider, made sure we all actually agreed to the solution, and carefully noted who’d taken responsibility for each specific issue. Although it looked for a time like we’d need to pull in some folks with more clout, things came together and we reached an agreement. Extremely well done.

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Vendors: a sad and unresolved tale

Actually, it was worse than that. During their efforts to develop a satisfactory delivery solution, the IT coders concluded that the architecture of the original design was seriously unstable. We’ve spent the past month or so working that out.

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