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[epf-dev] Minutes from EPF call Thursday, June 20, 8:00AM PST


Bruce MacIsaac
Sam Courtney, APG
Regis Coqueret, Unisys


Discussed Plans/ideas for next release
      Update on Scrum practice

        IBM's changes to the EPF Scrum practice changed from an update to a complete redo, together with a simpler skin to improve the publishing presentation.
A first release (published only) can be found here:

At this time IBM does not plan to include this in EPF.

2. Discussed whether or not to change the default EPF skin to match the simpler presentation created for the IBM Scrum practice.
Bruce expressed concern that without the ability to switch skins (a feature only in RMC) that some would like the change, but other might prefer the collapsible sections, or their websites might not look good.  In order to avoid disrupting existing customers, Bruce plans to NOT change the default EPF skin. (If you have an opinion on this, send an email to epf-dev).

3. Bob Palank suggested he may contribute content on Feature Driven Development.

4. Upcoming EPF/RMC webinars:
        Bruce suggested the next webinar be on Process Builder - since he has some enablement material on this and can delivery this.
The top request at the RMC webinar  kickoff meeting was for enablement on large libraries, so Bruce suggests that this be the topic for the following webinar.

5. Regis Coqueret (Unisys) joined the meeting for the first time.
He has done some interesting work on extensions to EPF:
         - export in various formats (html, FreeMind, MindManager, Excel 2003, etc)
        - import custom categories and guidance from CSV file
        - etc

He suggested that he could present on SVN setup to use jointly EPF and RMC.
Bruce will work with Regis on timing and content for presentations on his work to this community.


Bruce MacIsaac
EPF Project Lead
408-250-3037 (cell)

Review of ESSENCE SPEM mapping:

My general feedback on the introductory material is that there is still too much sales literature that doesn't belong in a standard.

If we want to stick to the "essence" of things, here's what it boils down to:

1. Essence defines a standard kernel that allows you express progress and health attributes of a team.

Standardizing on such a kernel helps teams to follow different practices, while still expressing progress and health in common terms.

The kernel includes guidance on how to evaluate health and progress - and so using the kernel is effectively a "practice".

2. Teams that don't want to use the Essence kernel or follow this practice for evaluating health and progress (perhaps they have alternative ways to do this)

might be able to use the Essence language, but there would be no benefit over using SPEM.

Teams following non-Essence-based processes with roles, work breakdown structures, templates, and checklists will find that SPEM provides better out-of-the-box


3. SPEM is more mature (having been around longer), which provides benefits such as:

- the mapping of SPEM to tools like Microsoft Project and Rational Team Concert is well understood.

- SPEM is supported by open source tools and practices content

- commercial tools provide additional features and tool integrations

- large volume of practices, such as guidance and mappings for compliance to various standards such as CMMi, DO178c, ISO26262, etc.

4. Teams with a significant investment in SPEM-based processes can explore using Essence concepts, since Essence alphas can

be expressed as work products or work product slots, and links can be established to express desired relationships and navigation.  To go further into leveraging Essence requires either means abandoning SPEM, extending SPEM, or a transformation from SPEM to Essence (likely with extensions to Essence being required if no information loss is to occur).

5. I appreciate that a lot of work has gone into the section that deals with the specific mappings.

This section needs a lot of work to be complete, and to avoid confusing the reader.

The best place to start a SPEM mapping is to explain how plug-ins, packages, configurations, and views, with a few basic elements, such as a set of roles, could be mapped.

Here is the simplest example I can think of to demonstrate a SPEM/Essence mapping:

Plugin A - has 2 roles, team lead and developer, and a view (custom category) that lists these roles.

Plugin B - has an additional role, product owner, and contributes this role to the view.

There are 2 configurations, A and AB, which include the respective plug-ins suggested by their names.

I cannot use the proposed mapping for even this simplest of SPEM processes, since plug-ins, configurations, contribution, and views/custom categories aren't covered.

6. Ultimately the mapping should get down to the nuts and bolts of each language element to be mapped, but again, the mapping should start with simple things.

If I have a simple SPEM-documented process, such as a version of Scrum, documented as some roles, tasks, work products, and a couple of WBSs

(capability patterns) for a "Development Sprint" and a "Release Sprint" (which includes rollout activities), how would that be mapped?

Once we understand how these simple examples map, we can talk about more complex aspects of SPEM.

It would be good to understand if such a migrated process is usable, or is not usable without some minimum wiring into the Essence kernel.

What is the minimum wiring required?

7. I find this statement confusing:

"TaskDefinition may need to be split, or merged with others, to serve as a suitable Activity in Essence."

Why would that be the case?

8.  I will continue to go through the detailed mapping suggestions.  I appreciate the work that's gone into this, but it's not yet close to where it needs to be.
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