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InfoQ Interview: Per Kroll on EPF, an Open Source Process Initiative

by Deborah Hartmann Preuss on Sep 19, 2007 |
Per Kroll, the PM of the open-source Eclipse Process Framework project explained at Agile2006 how the Eclipse-based process tools allow teams to select the practices they want to create a customized methodology that works for them. With a wiki and hooks to insert custom in-house documentation and practices, it provides a framework to configure the approach you want, or to grow into the approach you need.

EPF is an open source project, where developers can collaborate on software practices. It also delivers, as a starting point, some example practices or processes, and it also has some underlying infrastructure and tooling to help users create content and customize content. This infrastructure is extensible, so further extension tools can be built on top of it.

Kroll is the author of Agility and Discipline Made Easy, reviewed for InfoQ by Alexandru Popescu. Kroll encourages Eclipse users and those working on choosing or customising their own methodologies to download the EPF to  find guidance on techniques for capturing requirements, capturing architectures, how to do testing, and other relevant software development topics.

All are invited to participate in improving EPF method plug-ins via the EPF Wiki.

Currently, the framework's wiki lists these methodologies in progress:
  • OpenUP, in English, Russian, Portuguese and Spanish versions
  • Scrum
  • XP
Since we interviewed him, of course, more has been done on the downloadable version of EPF by 29 committers and 13 contributors.. They released EPF 1.2 on Aug 1, including the addition of EPF Composer 1.2 and many bug fixes and enhancements.

They have not yet determined a date for the next release, but it's planned to be in the next 3-4 months. Here are some candidate capabilities:
  • A Wiki interface enabling easy editing and commenting
  • Releasing a v1.0 version of Scrum and XP
  • Translation of OpenUP into among others Portuguese and Russian
  • Translation of Scrum into French and Portuguese
  • Refactoring of OpenUP to support practices
  • Improved enablement material
Asked about the OpenUP methodology, Kroll had this to say:
OpenUP is consistent with the Agile manifesto, looking at how to best implement the Agile manifesto and other key principles we have seen characterize successful projects. We focused on 3 key sub-processes: how to capture intent from stakeholders - requirements and vision and so on; how to do the day to day development; and how to manage iterative development. One of the things that makes these three integrate into a whole is the collaboration layer. The process made collaboration a first-class citizen where we describe for each of the sub processes how the entire team needs to collaborate to successfully work with stakeholders and capture stakeholder requirements, doing the right prioritisation, creating requirements that are validated and so on. It's a fresh perspective on how to express a process, and will hopefully make sure that people get the essence of the process. We are not trying to invent a new process; it's trying to find a better way of describing processes that work really well.
View the InfoQ exclusive presentation: Per Kroll on the Eclipse Process Framework.

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