Frustrated Driven Development

Frustrated Driven Development

I want to share a story about FDD or Frustrated Driven Development. A few years back, I worked in a very large asp.Net web site and the deployments were done manually. As you can imagine the chaos and errors caused by manual deployments. Sometimes we forgot to include all required steps to deploy the application. The instructions to our IT department will look like:

1. Create a back up copy of the entire site.
2. Delete all the files except the web.config file.
3. Copy the folder contents from this location d:\deployments\eStoreApp\05-20-2008\production into the production folder.
4. Open up the web.config file from production and update the following app settings:
a. Update emailAddress value from oldEmail@test.com to newEmail@test.com.

These instructions were very difficult to follow by our IT department and many times we encounter issues because one of the steps required to deploy the site was never performed. IT will blame engineers and engineers will blame IT. I guess both IT and engineers were used to this process and the frustration level was low. It was so painful that no one wanted to change or improve this process.

However, we got a new team member in our IT department. At the beginning, Bob followed the deployments instructions but he started questioning this process. Bob was frustrated and started talking with his manager. Bob said, “there must be a better way to deploy asp.net sites”. He gather data and found a product by red gate called deployment manager.

Bob approached me and said, “I don’t want to do manual deployments anymore. Can you help me test this new deployment tool from Red Gate?” I replied, “sure, what do you need from me?”. Bob said, “I just need a nuget package”.

Within a few weeks, we installed deployment manager in our different environments (QA, Staging, and Production) and both teams IT and engineers were happy and using this tool to automate our deployments.

Hopefully this story encourages other teams to use Frustrated Driven Development to identify what is causing pain and frustration in your team and using that energy to solve or improve those processes.