ReadySET Pro Adoption and Customization FAQ

What situations can ReadySET Pro be applied to?
  • If you have always known that you needed better requirements and design documents, but you could never find the time to author them, ReadySET Pro can give you the head start you need.
  • New projects can use ReadySET Pro to help keep the project on the right track from the start.
  • Even projects close to release can save crucial time with the release end game templates.
  • Technical leaders who have been promoted to manage teams can use ReadySET Pro to make the process easier to manage.
  • Managers or technical leads who need to delegate tasks to subordinates can use ReadySET Pro templates as part of the task definition.
  • Executives who want a more consistent process across projects can quickly adopt ReadySET Pro throughout the enterprise.
  • SPI groups who have already invested significant time in process improvement will still find that ReadySET Pro helps fill important gaps.
How do we get started?
  • First, every team needs to acknowledge the need for software process improvement. Most organizations are already very aware of this need and have been working to improve their process. You don't need to be VP of Engineering to make the commitment to SPI, ReadySET Pro adoption can start at the individual team level.
  • Purchase ReadySET Pro. Downloading and installation are quick and easy.
  • Browse through the templates. Think about the questions asked and the sample answers given. Mentally answer the same questions for your project. This alone can prompt some very productive team discussions.
  • Compare ReadySET Pro to the project documents that you already have. Pick the templates that you need to get your release done or to make process improvements.
  • Set up an internal project website or shared folder, if you don't already have one. Put all project documents there for the entire team to view.
  • Assign tasks to team members to fill in specific templates as needed.
  • Coordinate the team by using the plan, status report, review report, and release checklist templates.
Which individual templates should we use?
First of all, recognize that it is a choice. ReadySET Pro provides a wide range of templates to support all phases of development. Some teams may start at the beginning and use every template. But, most teams will focus on a few templates to use first, and use a few other templates later as needed. Look at the documentation map and template descriptions here to see the templates that apply at your current point in the release cycle.
If you have a defined software development methodology (SDM), then choosing the templates you need is usually straighforward. However, many teams are not able to do that because of the time and effort needed to establish an SDM. ReadySET Pro 10-packs and site-license packs provide SDM templates that give you a big head start on defining your own SDM. They contain a detailed description of each template, the roles that people play in the software development process, bite-sized descriptions of key practices from several popular methodologies, and a matrix showing who should be responsible for writing or reading each document.
Who on the team will use the templates?
ReadySET Pro provides templates for a wide range of development activities, so there is something for everyone on the team. Managers can use the kickoff and planning templates themselves. Managers can assign any of the requirements, design, testing, or product content templates to individual team members. Invididual contributors use the templates to prompt themselves to think through key decisions, check their own work, and accomplish documentation tasks more quickly.
Which license pack do we need?
The first criteria is team size. If the number of people on your team is above 10, you need the site-license pack. If it is above 4, you need the 10-license pack.
When purchasing the academic or non-profit packages, you must choose the format that you need. Regular license packs contain both formats.
You may also want to move up from the lowest-price packages to get the bonus templates: the SDM helps establish your methodology, the all-in-one template helps you quickly document several projects.
Which format is right for my team?
If most people on your team are confortable editing XHTML files using a text editor or WYSIWYG HTML editor, then you will find that the XHTML formatted templates are easier to access with a browser and search on your intranet. The XHTML files are also more manageable in version control systems because they are plain text.
If your team prefers MS Office, or you want to encourage people outside your group to edit your documents, you should choose the MS Office formatted versions. For example, many executives would prefer to work with documents in MS Office formats.
How do I convince my boss that we need ReadySET Pro?
Commitment from middle and upper management is always very important in any software process improvement effort. Many organizations have already made that comittment, and have dedicated funds and personnel to SPI. If your organization has an SPI group, ReadySET Pro can help them make progress or fill in gaps in the SPI effort. ReadySET Pro is easy to adopt at the team level, so merging your current SPI materials with ReadySET Pro may help increase the impact of your previous SPI investments.
If your organization has not made a committment to SPI, it is up to individual teams to do what they can to improve their own chances of success. ReadySET Pro can easily be adopted at the team level, and it is priced within the purchasing power of individual project managers. One good way to advance SPI, and earn credit in your organization, is to take the initiative for a pilot SPI effort within your own team and then report on your experience to the entire organization.
The ReadySET Pro ROI Calculator can help justify the up-front expense of purchasing ReadySET Pro and the small amount of time needed to start using it.
How do I get my busy team to actually use it?
Actually, it is often the individual team members who want to use ReadySET Pro precisely because they are too busy to create documents that they already realize are needed. Most professional developers would agree that every improvement in requirements and design will save time and reduce stress later.
If you are adopting ReadySET Pro for the entire organization or team, it really comes down to the leadership of management to make the decision and follow through on its execution. Individual contributors will use ReadySET Pro templates when they are given specific task assignments. In fact, the templates help make those task assignments better defined. As team members gain experience with ReadySET Pro, they will develop a better understanding of what it can do for them.
What will lead to a successful ReadySET Pro pilot?
Some factors that make any pilot program successful include: executive sponsorship, choice of an appropriate first project, adaptation of the tool to your needs, and carefully management of expectations. ReadySET Pro pilot projects tend toward success because the product is easy to customize, and because its expected benefits are reasonable and can be explained simply to executives and other stakeholders.
How can ReadySET Pro be customized to fit my process?
You do not always need to go out of your way to customize ReadySET Pro: the most important way to make them fit your process is simply to choose the templates that you need at any given time. Also, when ReadySET Pro is used on a pilot project within your organization, new sample answers will naturally be generated that can then be reused in other projects.
There are several ways to customize ReadySET Pro:
  • Select the templates that apply to your process
  • Integrate ReadySET Pro templates with other project documents that your team has already created
  • Edit a template to add or remove sections as needed
  • Edit a template to add or remove sample answers
  • Edit the CSS files to change the appearance of the templates
If the templates seem long, edit the templates to simplify them. ReadySET Pro uses the "chipping away" concept for both the sample answers and the set of questions. We have purposely built in a rich set of questions. Not all these questions will apply to every development team. Part of the customization process is to "chip away" questions or sample answers that do not fit your application domain or organization. You may also add new questions and reusable answers that are specific to your organization's business.
How can I integrate ReadySET Pro with my existing documents?
The simplest point of integration is a hyperlink: just add a link from one document to another so that your team members can easily navigate from one to the other. And, both documents should be stored in the same project website or shared folder. Usually, that is all that is needed.
You may wish to go further and actually merge documents by pasting the contents of your existing document into a ReadySET Pro template as a new section or prompt. To make a more valuable template, follow the "chipping away" pattern and provide several reusable sample answers.
How can I customize the appearance of ReadySET Pro templates?
The XHTML-formatted documents have very little formatting information in the .html files themselves, instead all the formatting information is in .css files. The file inst.css contains simple font and color information that you should be able to easily change, even if you have not used CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) before. That inst.css file includes comments that give instructions on adding corporate logos, controlling the "Company Proprietary" notice, and watermark images. The readyset.css file has formatting information that you probably do not want to change. There is also a print.css file where you can add additional formatting information that is used when printing hardcopies.
MS Office users can use WYSIWYG tools to update the appearance of the documents.

It adapts to our process, not the other way around.

User Quotes

"ReadySET Pro has proven a great help in our effort to standardize our development processes. Using the templates for reference alone is worth the price."
—John B. Wells IV
Director of Software Development
Timco Aviation Services, Inc.