When done is DONE (or not)

Not too long ago I had a conversation with one of the senior member of the management team of project I’m working on. I had some ideas on how can we do things faster by improving our testing (not developer testing but end-to-end, QA and regression testing). After few minutes of conversation I was asked a very basic question: “What is the definition of DONE on our project?” I was just going to open my mouth and jump out with an answer like: “Well, it takes us usually 3 days to develop piece of functionality”, but I stopped. I actually wasn’t sure. We spend few more minutes discussing some other issues but when I left I felt that this question is still on the back of my mind, trying to desperately find the answer.

After number of attempts I decided to rephrase the question. What is the Goal of the project? Couldn’t find a simple answer. So I asked even more general question. What is the goal of the company? I recalled books by Eliyahu M. Goldratt, “The Goal” and “The Race”. “The goal of the company is to make money in the present as well as in the future”. The goal is to win the race for customers.

My team works on creating and maintaining the software that produces the data for other systems within the company. Those systems are used to deal with clients, to provide them with reports, to sell them information, to protect client interests. This means that our project indirectly contributes towards company’s goal.

All the other teams and projects that are receiving data from us are our customers. We should make all the effort to deliver the necessary features to the consumers in a timely manner as they will be use to generate the revenue.

That’s it. This is my understanding of DONE.

In other words:

  • It’s NOT DONE when BA finalizes the requirements and forms them as stories that got accepted by all stakeholders
  • It’s NOT DONE when developer finishes coding the solution and fixes all the bugs
  • It’s NOT DONE when QAs, BAs finish testing and approve the deliverables
  • It’s NOT DONE when Downstream systems receive the data and confirm it’s quality
  • It’s DONE when client receives the service that he or she requested thanks to the piece of software my team delivered. That’s when it’s DONE!

I think there is an important aspect to touch on. It is the effort of the entire team before DONE could be announced. No one should silo himself into a specific role and take responsibility for the specified area only. Developers should help with delivery of tools for release and testing automation, BAs should help with testing, QAs should help to form requirements, etc.

So, next time when you think you’re DONE, think again. Perhaps you are not really there yet but you could help someone else to make it happen.

Wish you all many happy DONEs in the future. Greg

Gradle IDEA plugin, configuration and usage

We are using Gradle as a build and release tool in our project. It’s flexible and does exactly what you expect from it, with no xml configuration magic.
Gradle IDEA plugin gave us a way of generating IntelliJ project and modules files out of the freshly checkout source with a single instruction.

Gradle IDEA plugin

All we needed to do is to include the plugin in out multi project setup and run the gradle idea tasks from the command line.

allprojects {
  apply plugin: ‘idea’

First time when we generated the files they were valid, however the module configurations needed few simple fixes. The IDEA plugins provide hooks into project and module generation that we used to amend the generated IntelliJ files.

Setting the Java version on the project

allprojects {
  ideaProject {
    javaVersion = '1.6'

This code snipped sets version of JDK on the whole project, which in turns makes it ready for compilation in IntelliJ.

Moving module dependencies to the top of the list

Gradle IDEA plugin creates dependencies for all the modules, however it moves the dependencies between modules to the bottom of the list. For example, if module B has dependencies on module A plus some of it’s own JAR dependencies, the JAR will appear before the module A dependency.  It was problematic for our project.  The snippet below is using module configuration hook to reorder module dependencies to the top of the list.

allprojects {
  ideaModule {
    whenConfigured { module ->
      def moduleDependencies = []
        module.dependencies.each {
          if (it.class.simpleName == 'ModuleDependency') {
            if (it.scope.equalsIgnoreCase("COMPILE")) {
              moduleDependencies += it
      def jarDependencies = new LinkedHashSet(module.dependencies)

Adding defaults to Run configurations

We have also discovered that it was useful to add some extra defaults to Run configurations and to TestNG running configurations.

We did this with Idea Workspace hook and a bit of XML injection. Code bellow is the sample snipped we used.

  ideaWorkspace {
    withXml { provider ->
      def applicationDefaults = provider.node.component.find { it.@name == 'RunManager'}.configuration.find { it.@type == 'Application'}
      if (applicationDefaults != null) {
        applicationDefaults.option.find { it.@name == 'VM_PARAMETERS'}.@value = '-Xmx1024m -XX:MaxPermSize=256m -Xss64k'
        applicationDefaults.option.find { it.@name == 'WORKING_DIRECTORY'}.@value = 'file://$MODULE_DIR$'
      def testNGDefaults = provider.node.component.find { it.@name == 'RunManager'}.configuration.find { it.@type == 'TestNG'}
      if (testNGDefaults != null) {
        testNGDefaults.option.find { it.@name == 'VM_PARAMETERS'}.@value = '-XX:MaxPermSize=128M -Xmx1024M'
        testNGDefaults.option.find { it.@name == 'WORKING_DIRECTORY'}.@value = 'file://$MODULE_DIR$'
      } else {
        def clonedNode = new XmlParser().parseText( XmlUtil.serialize(applicationDefaults))
        clonedNode.@type = 'TestNG'
        clonedNode.@factoryName = 'TestNG'
        provider.node.component.find { it.@name == 'RunManager'}.append(clonedNode)


This snippet sets some default JVM parameters and working directory for running configurations.

The snippets made it possible for anyone to quickly get up and running on any clean machine with checked out project sources.

Cheers, Greg