Just like any software development project; TIBCO BW based integration projects also require a great focus and plenty of key considerations while estimating design and development effort involved. In this post; I am going to talk about some of the key points as well as some valuable tips for TIBCO BW developers who face problems while estimating man-hours for the solution and result in either over-estimation or under-estimation—both resulting in cost and time imbalances for the organization.
Translation of requirements into TIBCO BW Artefacts
You can rightly estimate the development effort only if you have a clear understanding of all the TIBCO BW palettes and activities that will take part in your solution design. Based on your prior experience and complexity/ease level of each BW resource, you can assess and estimate how simple or tedious the job will be to use those resources. E.g. If your solution involved use of SOAP palette to develop some web services; you should keep all the ingredients in mind. This includes Schemas to be used in the service; Abstract WSDL creation, development of operations based main processes, use of any SSL certificates for the transport etc.
You should also keep in mind the availability pool of your TIBCO BW resources while estimating the effort. E.g. if your organization doesn’t have a license for LDAP Plugin and your project requires certain interactions with Active Directory; you have no choice but to use custom Java code for this. Obviously that won’t be as simple and easy as it would have been with the plugin. This should directly result in a estimation of effort with more man-hours. If you neglect such shortcomings/limitations; while estimating the effort; you may get over-burdened at later stages of your project lifecycle.
Performance Considerations for TIBCO BW Projects
For any solution which requires more sophistication and a higher level of efficiency with increased throughput and lower response time; design & development effort is also likely to be higher. Potentially; unit testing, stress testing and other test steps should also be given a higher weightage in such scenarios so that performance is ensures and fully tested from all angles. For data critical solutions; you need to ensure sufficient logging being done. If you are using TIBCO CLE; effort required to setup and configure CLE application in the admin interface as well as incorporating it in the BW solution should also be considered rightly during estimation.
Lesser use of mappers for internal data processing, efficient use of grouping approaches; proper handling of all exception scenarios etc. should be kept in mind.
Considering all the Endpoints
TIBCO BW Integration projects usually involve multiple heterogeneous systems and applications being glued together to achieve certain business needs. How easy or how complex those internal or external endpoints are in terms of integration; will decide the effort required.
For example; if a particular project requires development of a solution which is going to integrate 5 different systems for a single Order processing in asynchronous manner; you should keep following factors in mind while estimating the effort:
- The flow of request from upstream to the downstream system.
- The interfaces exposed by each system and the level of complexity for each interface integration.
- Retry/reprocessing mechanism for each interface as well as error handling mechanism required for every involved system/application.
- Flexibility level of each system/application for any required tweaks or modifications.
- Any performance bottlenecks on either of the integrating systems.
Documentation effort will vary for every organization depending on the documentation standards being adopted, SDLC being followed as well as level of documentation required. For example in some organization; Technical Design document alone may serve the purpose but in some other organizations; Test Cases document, Deployment Guide etc. might also be required.
Reasons why TIBCO BW Project effort might be over-estimated?
- Certain processes/services re-used but not considered during effort estimation.
- Requirements not properly clarified with all stake-holders.
- Too much buffer placed in the estimation.
- Experience level of the development resources/team not rightly considered. i.e. resources capabilities under-estimated.
- No proper effort review process being used in the organization.
Reasons why TIBCO BW Project effort might be under-estimated?
- Misunderstanding the requirements, ignoring parts of the requirements.
- Over-confidence on resource capabilities.
- Lack of awareness about available TIBCO resources (plugins, adapters etc.)
- Ignoring the potential changes on the internal/external interfaces level.