Posts in category summaries

ITERATION_10 and ITERATION_11 Summaries

During the last two iterations the team released two major versions of Sophie 2.0, Alpha 3 released on July 17 and Alpha 4 released on August 14.

We posted a release on September 15. This release marks the team's move to weekly releases as we approach October 15, when the full version of Sophie 2.0 will be released. This is being done to work more efficiently with the testing team organized at USC.

Here are the results of the retrospection for ITERATION_10.

What went well:

  • Redesign
  • New features
  • Intrateam organization
  • Look and feel

What could be better:

  • Redesign speed
  • End product focus
  • Application startup speed
  • Weekly timeboxing

How to improve:

  • Focus on usability
  • More testing
  • More autotesting
  • Concentrate on finalizing Sophie
  • Concrete redesign goals

We bypassed the closing and retrospection for the eleventh iteration in order to reduce the process overhead and concentrate on the release of Alpha 4.

Best regards, the Sophie Team.

ITERATION_08 and ITERATION_09 Summaries

ITERATION_08 and ITERATION_09 Summaries

Today's report covers our last two Iterations. The team has been very busy and very productive. During these Iterations, the team achieved many of its goals and drastically advanced Sophie 2.0 capabilities. We released Alpha 3, available for download at, and we are now looking forward to our first beta version, scheduled for August 14. The new user interface will be included in this release.

We have posted two demo books, which can be found here and updated the user tutorials, available here.

During the eighth Iteration, the team held a very productive two day seminar at Panichishte, clarifying design ideas and planning integration. Several new developers joined the team during this period.

A significant event during the ninth Iteration was a demonstration of the Sophie 2.0 Alpha 2 release on July 2. Two videos of the demonstration are available at: VNC Demo and Demo.

Below are the results of our most recent retrospections.

ITERATION_08 retrospection:

What went well:

  • More tasks finished
  • Successful demo
  • Process Improvements
  • Release quality

What could be better:

  • Weekly time boxing
  • Defining scope
  • Meeting weekly milestones

How to improve:

  • Increase number of analysis discussions
  • Work more carefully
  • Stay on plan
  • Intensify testing

ITERATION_09 retrospection:

What went well:

  • Internal team communication
  • Issuing bug tickets
  • Working on the Sophie 2 Server
  • New team members

What could be better:

  • Availability of the team members
  • Time management
  • Submitted quality
  • Integration speed

How to improve:

  • Move declaration of tasks to Monday
  • Additional integrators
  • Pick smaller tasks
  • Increase effort on bug fixes

Best regards, The Sophie Team.

ITERATION_07 Summary

We have concluded and released our seventh iteration.

New people were hired and our team expanded, so we've divided into additional, smaller subteams. A team of integrators is now responsible for reviewing tasks and committing in the trunc. Each developer has an individual branch. Splitting into smaller teams improved both our process and our internal communications because there is a now person in each subteam responsible for the managing the process, including duties such as following the backlog and daily reporting.

The team has had numerous discussions in order to improve the global understanding of several fundamental issues. Many of these discussions are available as English videos.

Results of the ITERATION_07 retrospection are listed below.

What went well:

  • New people to the team
  • Integrator team helps raise the quality of the product
  • Release demo

What could be better:

  • Some fundamentals starting late
  • Late submits for integrators
  • Application performance

How to improve:

  • Concentrate on application performance
  • Discussions and improved communications
  • Better scheduling and weekly timeboxing
  • Improve professionalism

Best regards, The Sophie Team.

ITERATION_06 Summary

Here is our regular summary of what's been done during the sixth iteration.

As decided at the ITERATION_05 closing, we are introducing organizational and operational improvements aimed at self management and optimizing the work process in order to increase our productivity. In the sixth iteration we've introduced "groups" tasks, a way to work on several tickets using only one group ticket which includes them. After the fifth iteration we are using again a subteam structure. ITERATION_06 was split into two separate mini-sprints, improving the time boxing of tasks.

On April 17 we launched our fourth release which is available for download from here. This release continues to improve existing features and brings additional features to prototype status, including:

  • Skinning
    • Default Skin
    • Alternative Skin
  • Application help
  • Resource list filters
  • Resource change list
  • Book templates base support
  • Page templates (as resource)
  • Internal definition of Sophie Book File Format
  • Page zooming
  • Page property editing
  • Frame rotation
  • Bugfixes

Below you can read the results of the sprint retrospection. What went well:

  • Release was on schedule
  • A lot of the fundamental designs were finished
  • Done a lot of discussions

What could be better:

  • Sometimes the process is slowing us down
  • The communication between team members coudl be better
  • Some fundamentals weren't finished

How to improve:

  • Better understanding of the ideas
  • More pair programing
  • Simpler process
  • Improve the inteam communication

Best regards, Sophie Team.

ITERATION_05 Summary

ITERATION_05 is now complete and the information below summarizes what has been achieved with this iteration.

On March 13, as scheduled, we delivered the pre-Alpha 4 version of Sophie 2.0, which is available for download here. We are also pleased to present the new Sophie 2 community site, which we will continue to enhance in the upcoming week. Please note that the new primary domain for the Sophie project is available.

In addition to holding numerous design meetings involving the entire team, we also created stable wireframes for the project's specification and continued to make improvements to the overall quality of the code.

Sophie 2.0 pre-Alpha 4 can run on Windows, Linux and MacOS, and includes many of the functionalities (some in prototype form) to be included in the final product. They include the insertion of different types of resources such as PDF files, images, audio and video files; the creation of annotations; basic frame manipulation; and many others that you can try for yourself. There are still, however, some known issues to be resolved, all of which are listed in the product’s download page in the section “Known Problems”.

Results of the closing:

What went well:

  • release was on time
  • new functionalities were added to the product
  • additional design discussions helped to spread our global vision for the product to new team members
  • lots of blockers were fixed

What could be better:

  • the process must be followed closely even under time pressure
  • we need to continue to improve and simplify the process

How to improve:

  • better self management
  • continue to optimize the process
  • better prioritization of tasks
  • do more pair programming

Best regards from the Sophie team!

ITERATION_04 Summary

With the conclusion of our fourth iteration comes the summary of what have been done. As scheduled we've launched our second release which covers all functionalities that we've promised. We manged to catch up with the analyses from previous iterations and the next one. The new funtionalities included in the release from February 13 are:

  • Selecting multiple page objects
  • Page object alignment
  • Frame bounding properties, for example margins
  • Basic audio and video support
  • Undo manager
    • Undo/Redo of the insert frame action now works without exeptions.
    • Undo/Redo of the move frame action works.
    • Create book action now is not undoable.
    • Undo/Redo of page resize action now works.
    • The book does not resize with it's title change action anymore.
    • There is now change when selecting the current frame anymore.
    • Undo/Redo text editing in text frames now works.
    • Fixed the "Redo" item in the edit menu to show "Can't redo" when the user can not redo an action.)
  • Improved Halos and HUDs
  • Initial plugin support
  • Build Server

Also numerous bugfixes were done. Other things that worth mentioning are the branding discussions with Robert Abbot from Shift Global and the fact that we analized all tasks till iteration 04. The results of the retrospection, as usual are separated in the following three categories:
What went well:

  • Improved overall quality - most of this iteration we were working on refactoring and improving the existing logic
  • Functionality - the release team managed to implement many new funtionalities that cover all requirements for the current release
  • Analyses - we managed to catch up with the analyses for the previous and next iterations.
  • Discussions - we've done a lot of useful discussions concerning the design and the overall ideas of the project. Videos of these discussions are available here.
  • HR and recruitment - we've improved the procedure for recruiting new team members
  • Improved Site - we refactored our old website and now it is more attractive and useful

What could be better:

  • Some team members weren't available - this was due to exam and dissertation commitments at the university
  • Few tasks of this iteration were done - we worked on few tasks from fourth iteration
  • Discipline and process - it is improving, but it still could be better
  • Better documented discussions - we need to document better our discussions, this way it's going to be easier for the remote people to be productive
  • More tested tasks - not enough tasks were tested during this iteration.

How to improve:

  • Spread global vision - more people need to understand the fundamental ideas behind the project, and have overall view of the entire picture
  • Discuss - the people need to ask themselves the questions "Why?" and "How?" that's why we need to discuss even more
  • Specifications explanations - something like a specification skeleton needs to be created
  • Don't accept - we must fix the bad code, not to reproduce it

Best regards from the Sophie team!

ITERATION_03 Summary

With the conclusion of ITERATION_03 comes our usual summary as to what has been done. At a first glance, the results of our work might not appear as especially impressive. However, the number of successfully completed tasks is much higher than in previous sprints.

The server team finished all of their coding tasks including one from ITERATION_04. As a result we now have a functional Hudson build server ( and operational Sophie2 testing server ( Our other Sophie project teams have also done a good job and we now have Sophie 2.0 Author deployed via JWS.

On 15 December we launched our first release, which is now available at We are now looking forward to our second release, which is planned for February 13.

The list below summarizes ITERATION_03:

What went well:

  • The arrival of additional hardware and software for the expanded team
  • The Server team completed all of its tasks
  • The overall team was successfully organized into separate groups with specific tasks
  • Progress checks proved useful
  • More discussions took place
  • The utilization of additional facilities for the team
  • The successful integration of new team members
  • The addition of some outstanding new members with a "global" vision of the product

What could be better:

  • Discipline and respecting the process
  • Even better organization
  • A higher percentage of completed tasks
  • Even higher productivity

After discussions in which all team members participated, we decided that we need to work in several directions in order to implement improvements:

  • Improve self discipline - we must respect the process and follow the established rules strictly (commit daily reports, use internal backlogs, etc.)
  • Better coordination between the teams - all team leaders need to improve their communication with their team members and other teams
  • Circulation of ideas concerning improvement - all team members have been encouraged to propose different ways for improving productivity (the proposals may concern all aspects of our work process)
  • Work towards the overall goal - we need to have an even better overall view of the project and its future
  • Team leaders to do daily reviews - this is one of the ways to improve the team communication and improve discipline

Best regards from the Sophie team!

ITERATION_02 Summary

It's been a while since we last reported our progress. Now it's time to catch up and inform you about Sophie 2.0 status.

Because we didn't completely finish ITERATION_02 in time and with the desired result, we scheduled an additional ITERATION_02b in order to complete all of the tasks left from previous iterations and make the quality of the product even higher. As we were in the process of increasing staff on the team during ITERATION-02, we began and designed most of the tasks but some of them were not completely finished. With the addition of the new developers, we were able to complete ITERATION-02b successfully. Some of the highlights of this development were the creation of the project and development overviews, and our progress on server related tasks (although some demo pages were already created).

Results from the retrospection of ITERATION_02b:

What went well:

  • Additional developers were added to the team
  • Many useful discussions
  • Most tasks were finished
  • Very good productivity at the end of the sprint
  • Three day full team technology meetings in Sofia including our US-based team members

What could be better:

  • We didn't finish every task
  • New machines on order are needed
  • The office environment could be improved (too much noise)
  • Some tasks were not sufficiently described

How to improve:

  • Have more design discussions
  • Start hard tasks earlier
  • No new code developed on the last day of an iteration
  • Weekly task boxing
  • More information about development tools in the wiki

Another thing worth mentioning is the expanded team's infrastructure. Since we have more staff working on more tasks, we've decided to split the team in order to achieve better productivity and quality. Each team member is now assigned to a specific team (for example, Main, Base, Extra, Server, Analysis, and Release). More detailed information will be included in the process page. We're all looking forward to our first release scheduled for December 15!

The Astea Solutions Sophie Team.

ITERATION_01 Summary

Hello to all who are interested in the Sophie 2.0 development process! With the end of our first iteration comes our first post in the blog about the current status of the project.

As some of you may already know, we've managed to complete virtually all tasks for ITERATION_01, and now we're looking forward to beginning our next iteration. As a fully open source project, information about Sophie 2.0's progress of Sophie 2.0 is publicly available at There you can find more detailed information about the tasks we're working on and their state.

As a whole, during this iteration we've established some fundamental standards concerning work processes and created templates for task completion how-tos. Most of our work was concentrated on writing documents and templates that will ease our work in the future. Although we've made a lot of changes that cost us time in refactoring already finished tasks according to the new templates, we now have a firm base that can use going forward.

Our goal for the next sprint is to increase productivity, so that we do everything on time. For the second iteration we have 61 planned tasks and 3 unplanned tasks (left from the previous sprint). These should be completed by 2008-10-31. We've also took some decisions on how to improve:

  • Focus time - from :15 to :00 of each hour is time to focus. No distractions are allowed during focus-time. If it is absolutely essential to communicate with someone, the communication should be done in such a way that it does not disturb other team members.
  • Task ordering - as part of SCHEDULE_MAINTENANCE task, the tasks should be ordered in the appropriate way.
  • Maintenance tasks should be completed first (and not last).
  • As part of WIKI_SETUP someone should ensure that everything is up after any possible power failure.
  • In order for people to have a better idea as to what each task is about, we should describe each planned task briefly at the beginning of the iteration. The results of these are in m02-descriptions-bg.txt and m02-descriptions-en.txt
  • We have decided to have a weekly meeting, every Monday at 10:00 (EEST). These meetings must not be long, and every participant must be there on time. The weeklies will consist of a short report from everyone, on "What were you doing the last week", "What will you do the next week", "Impediments", followed by a tech presentation (of a library, technology, tool, etc.) or a design discussion. Everything should be no longer than 1 hour.

Going forward we will inform you of our progress at the end of each iteration.