Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Improving Your SDLC

I am sure that you will find that the US bugs are much different that the Belgium bugs!!! I found out the hard way with my own database development project.

When we first started beta testing of the application we had a Canadian company that makes plastic parts for cars that was Japanese own/run company call us to be a beta test site. So we went there and installed the application on site with the customer, as we were still a year away from a production version, but they really wanted to beta test it anyway. Then we went to enter their data into our system. We could not get their data into the application. We could not completely fill out and use the contact information for employees, vendors and their customers. We use this information throughout the program to prevent having to re-enter the data and save time on data entry.

Why? Silly me I used the Microsoft wizards to set the format masking on the fields for currency, phone numbers and zip codes. Well duh! Canada does NOT use the same formats. So it was cripple before we started. That night in the hotel I had to edit over a hundred places and strip out all field format masking to allow for Canadian formats so they could use the application.

Since then we have had an equal response from overseas test sites that I had to make allowances for more localization and date formats. We never thought we would get the response we have from over seas. We even worked with the local University in Costa Rica to allow for special characters and assistance with translation into Spanish for a major drug manufacturing company that makes plastic parts. We had only envisioned the good ole USA.

We did NOT make the connection or observation that US companies would also have plants in other countries. So the moral here is our version of the SDLC did not include or consider localization issues for other countries.

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