Management Tool Keeps Y2K Work in Sync

It's enough to keep on top of Year 2000 remediation work on application -- imagine having a second team of developers making other types of changes.

To help address these situations, Aldon Computer Group recently announced it is beta-testing a new version of its Change Management System (CMS) which assists AS/400 shops in large projects such as Year 2000 remediation and testing.

Enhancements in CMS include a TCP/IP-enabled object distribution monitor, which automates software packaging, distribution and installation. The new version also enables developers to directly integrate benchmark testing into the software maintenance and development process, ensuring the thoroughness of testing before putting code into production. The tool works with another Aldon tool, called Analyzer, which identifies which lines were executed and which were not. Aldon/CMS also includes additional J.D. Edwards support, data conversion on promote and improved status tracking.

Aldon/CMS is targeted at AS/400 shops that are developing on multiple copies of source code. At Scottsdale Insurance (Scottsdale, Ariz.), one set of developers worked on Year 2000 fixes, while another worked on de-bugging and enhancing a copy of the same code. Aldon/CMS was used to manage the entire conversion project, which consisted of managing two copies of the same code -- a base release and a delta release system for the Year 2000 conversion work, says Patti Boyce, project leader for Scottsdale Insurance's Year 2000 conversion. The challenge was to be up- to-date with bug fixes and enhancements in both releases.

The company, which recently wrapped up the first phase its Year 2000 conversion effort, is running two AS/400 model 530 systems -- one as a development machine, and the other as a production machine, according to Boyce.

However, when the Year 2000 conversion first started, a lot of software changes were not being documented. "Aldon/CMS wasn't being used correctly," says Donna Mire, the lead technical person in the quality assurance department. "Outside security allowed [Aldon/CMS] to be bypassed by updating the source object outside of Aldon/CMS. This created all kinds of problems. There was no audit trail, and no tracking of the changes." By placing the entire project within the domain of the Aldon/CMS tool, Scottsdale was able to track the changes going on in two separate copies of the code, she says.

Then, Scottsdale had to run a source compare "for every one of the bug fixes and enhancements that had to be merged into the new release, to show that not only was the Year 2000 coding done but also the enhancements for that particular program," says Boyce.

Plans are to continue using the same methodology and tools for future post-Y2K software maintenance. "In my eyes, the Year 2000 project is no different than any other project," says Boyce. "It's just another project and just another release going on at the same time."