Shaw Group, The by MicrosoftCaseStudies


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									                                         Shaw Group Boosts Developer Productivity
                                         40 Percent, Meets Growing Business Needs

Overview                                 “The increased productivity we see from Visual
Country or Region: United States
Industry: Manufacturing
                                         Studio Team System enables us to keep up with
                                         the needs of our business. Our business is growing
Customer Profile
The Shaw Group, based in Baton Rouge,
                                         rapidly—but our development budget doesn’t
Louisiana, has 27,000 employees and is   have to.”
a global provider of engineering, con-
                                         Jason Coursey, Programmer Manager, Information Technology, The Shaw Group
struction, and management services for
energy, environmental, and related
markets.                                 The Shaw Group, a leading global provider of construction and
Business Situation                       related services, was growing rapidly—but its Java-based
To keep up with the company’s rapid      development platform hindered developers from being as
growth and business needs, Shaw
needed to boost its developers’ pro-     productive as they could be to meet the demands of the
ductivity.                               business. So, the company migrated most of its software
Solution                                 development to the Microsoft® .NET Framework. Also, Shaw
Shaw moved from a largely Java-based     moved from a variety of application life-cycle management tools
development framework to one based
primarily on the Microsoft® Visual       to Microsoft Visual Studio® Team Foundation Server. By
Studio® Team System.                     adopting the Microsoft platform and tools, Shaw increased
Benefits                                 development productivity by 40 percent and cut the time
 Productivity up 40 percent
                                         needed for specific functions, such as reporting, in half. The
 More effective development boosts
  reliability, confidence                development team also has more confidence that it is releasing
 SOX compliance easier
                                         robust, high-quality applications that meet business needs. To
 Rapid adoption cuts time-to-benefit
                                         increase these benefits, Shaw is now upgrading to Visual Studio
                                         Team System 2008.
“It was crucial to get                   Situation                                       ALM processes—for source control, bug
                                         The Shaw Group is responsible for the           tracking, and project management—
applications into pro-                   planning, building management, and              weren’t giving us the productivity we
duction as quickly as                    maintenance of some of the world’s larg-        needed to keep up with the business,” says
                                         est and most sophisticated construction         Coursey.
possible.”                               projects, particularly in the energy,
Jason Coursey, Programmer Manager,       chemical, environmental, infrastructure, and    Because Shaw developers worked together
Information Technology, The Shaw Group   emergency response markets. Just as             in teams, it was essential that they had
                                         impressive as the size of Shaw’s projects is    tools that would enable them to
                                         the size of the company itself. The Shaw        collaborate quickly and effectively,
                                         Group is a Fortune 500 company with             regardless of where they were located. But
                                         U.S.$5.7 billion in revenues and operations     Visual SourceSafe, which the team used to
                                         throughout the world—and the company            keep a project’s developers working on the
                                         has accomplished all this since its founding    latest version of that project’s code, was
                                         just 21 years ago.                              not accessible to remote developers.
                                                                                         Because Coursey had to manage the
                                         Developing the technology to support this       developers’ work, he needed better tools
                                         rapid growth and massive business can be        than he had to automate much of the work
                                         a challenge. Shaw relied mostly on the J2EE     of team management, such as creating
                                         Java development framework to develop its       automated reports on application status.
                                         business applications—for instance, an
                                         application that generates earned value for     Coursey and his colleagues were also
                                         the company’s projects—which tended to          looking for ALM tools that would provide
                                         become highly complex and difficult to          support not only for the entire software
                                         maintain over several years of develop-         development life cycle, but also for the
                                         ment.                                           important interaction with end users and
                                                                                         the line-of-business managers who were
                                         “We didn’t get the productivity we wanted       the “internal clients” for an enterprise
                                         from Java,” says Jason Coursey,                 application.
                                         Programmer Manager, Information
                                         Technology, The Shaw Group. For example,        Yet another set of needs centered on
                                         the Open Source nature of Java                  compliance with the U.S. Sarbanes-Oxley
                                         development led to an open systems              (SOX) act, which requires companies such
                                         design for the database, which made the         as The Shaw Group to maintain audit trails
                                         Java code base more complex and                 and standardized processes for activities
                                         decreased performance.                          such as enterprise software development.

                                         Beyond the issues with Java development,        “We needed to manage our software
                                         Shaw recognized an inherent need for            processes more carefully,” says Coursey.
                                         standardization of its application life-cycle   “We were using a variety of tools and
                                         management (ALM) tools—such as the              solutions. We found those technologies
                                         open-source Concurrent Versions System          difficult and time-consuming to work with,
                                         (CVS), JIRA from Atlassian Software             and they didn’t give us the end-state
                                         Systems, Microsoft Visual SourceSafe®           auditing we needed for SOX compliance.”
                                         version control software, and spreadsheets.
                                         “It was crucial to get applications into        A small development team within Shaw
                                         production as quickly as possible, and the      began to use Microsoft® technologies—
“We were using a                         such as ASP.NET and Microsoft Visual          used for development, collaboration and
                                         Basic® .NET—for some modestly sized           source control, testing, and project
variety of tools and                     intranet- and extranet-based applications.    management. A single intranet portal
solutions. We found                      Shaw developers saw great success with        environment includes all of these functions
                                         the Microsoft technologies—setting the        and more, giving developers a single
those technologies                       stage for the company’s new development       environment to manage the complete
difficult and time-                      solution.                                     application life cycle.

consuming to work                        Solution                                      Coming up to speed on a new develop-
with, and they didn’t                    The Shaw Group found the alternative to its   ment environment wasn’t difficult,
                                         Java platform and collection of ALM tools     according to Coursey. Developers at the
give us the end-state                    in Microsoft .NET Framework and the           company had a five-day onsite training
auditing we needed for                   Microsoft Visual Studio® development          session and then participated in another
                                         system. The company initially adopted         five-day offsite session. The company first
SOX compliance.”                         Visual Studio Team System 2005 and Team       deployed Visual Studio Team System 2008
Jason Coursey, Programmer Manager,       Foundation Server 2005. Now, developers       in a test environment to gain experience
Information Technology, The Shaw Group   at Shaw are in the midst of upgrading their   and confidence in the software. After about
                                         deployment to Visual Studio Team System       a month, Shaw moved Visual Studio Team
                                         2008, an integrated ALM solution com-         System into production use, using it to
                                         prising tools, processes, and guidance to     assist in the development of a major,
                                         help all members of a development team        enterprisewide solution that typifies the
                                         improve their skills and work effectively     company’s larger software projects: the
                                         together.                                     Employee Performance Management
                                                                                       System, a human resources application that
                                         The development solution includes:            could have 15,000 simultaneous users
                                          Visual Studio Team System 2008              worldwide.
                                           Team Foundation Server, the
                                           collaboration server at the hub of the      For that solution and the others that have
                                           system, which combines project              followed, Shaw has taken advantage of a
                                           management, work item tracking, version     growing range of Visual Studio Team
                                           control, reporting and business             System features. With Team Foundation
                                           intelligence, build management, Web         Server source control, for example, devel-
                                           access to project resources and             opers have a faster, more responsive tool
                                           functionality, and process guidance into    to manage the source-control process.
                                           a unified team server.                      Source control enables a team—Shaw puts
                                          Visual Studio Team System 2008              up to nine developers on a project at any
                                           Team Suite, an integrated set of tools      one time—to work together effectively on
                                           for architecture, design, development,      the most current version of a project,
                                           database development, and testing of        despite continual updates made to various
                                           applications. Shaw has been adopting        parts of the project during the develop-
                                           the Team Suite tools incrementally,         ment process.
                                           starting with those for its 25 architects
                                           and developers, and now including tools     Shaw developers are using the branching
                                           for the 5 database developers on staff.     features of Team Foundation Server to
                                                                                       create “phased releases” of an application.
                                         The solution replaces the disparate and       With this tool, developers can work on a
                                         disconnected systems that Shaw formerly       limited portion of the solution—called a
“Load testing in Visual                  “phase” or “branch”—refine that portion,       tion life-cycle management, including
                                         and then merge it back into the overall        increased productivity, fuller collaboration,
Studio has been very                     solution, all within a single environment.     faster reporting, and easier compliance with
significant for us. It                   After development, developers employ the       SOX and audit requirements.
                                         unit testing, load testing, and Web testing
enables us to imme-                      capabilities of Visual Studio Team System      Productivity Up 40 Percent
diately identify large                   2008 to refine their applications, to ensure   Shaw has achieved its goal to boost
                                         that the applications work as required, and    collaboration among developers,
issues that would have                   to confirm that they support the required      consequently cutting the time and cost of
gone unnoticed other-                    number of users and meet other perfor-         application life-cycle management and
                                         mance parameters.                              putting applications into production more
wise, until the applica-                                                                quickly and cost-effectively.
tion was actually put                    In addition, Shaw has adopted the
                                         reporting capabilities of Visual Studio Team   Coursey estimates that software coding and
on a load in produc-                     System 2008. Out-of-the-box components         ALM processes are up to 40 percent more
tion.”                                   make it possible for Coursey to quickly        productive thanks to Visual Studio Team
                                         create on-demand reports on tasks,             System 2008, saving the company time and
Jason Coursey, Programmer Manager,       software bugs, and issue-tracking              money each year. “The increased
Information Technology, The Shaw Group   associated with the team’s projects.           productivity we see from Visual Studio
                                                                                        Team System 2008 enables us to keep up
                                         When custom queries are needed—for             with the needs of our business,” says
                                         example, to view all tasks completed or        Coursey. “Our business is growing rapidly—
                                         updated for the current week—Team              but our development budget doesn’t have
                                         Foundation Server enables him to create        to.”
                                         those queries without the time-consuming
                                         task of writing the query directly to the      For example, the unit, load, and Web
                                         database.                                      testing features of the solution reduce the
                                                                                        number of software fixes required at the
                                         The company supported its initial deploy-      end of a development project by 30 to 40
                                         ment of Team Foundation Server on a            percent, resulting in a similar reduction in
                                         single computer. Even as it both expands       the time and cost needed to implement
                                         and upgrades its deployment, the company       those fixes. Source control and branching
                                         is continuing to host the solution on a        allow development teams—regardless of
                                         single computer. “Because of the scalability   where the developers are located—to work
                                         of Team Foundation Server, we don’t need       together more effectively. Also, developers
                                         a multiserver environment,” says Coursey.      can use Visual Studio to target an applica-
                                                                                        tion for multiple platforms while largely
                                         Shaw has seen so much success with             reusing their existing code.
                                         Microsoft .NET technologies that it has
                                         standardized its development on the .NET       The faster processes extend to reporting
                                         Framework for most of its projects.            and management. Coursey estimates that
                                                                                        by using the tracking and query tools in
                                         Benefits                                       Visual Studio, he has cut the time he
                                         Among the benefits that The Shaw Group         spends preparing for weekly status
                                         sees from its adoption of Microsoft Visual     meetings in half, saving three or four
                                         Studio Team System 2008 are faster and         hours per week.
                                         more effective development and applica-
“Now we have the                         More Effective Development Boosts               System 2008, in part because its developers
                                         Reliability, Confidence                         have been so quick to adopt the solution.
confidence that when                     Shaw is also using Visual Studio Team
we put an application                    System to deliver more reliable applica-        “Our developers really rave about Visual
                                         tions. “Load testing in Visual Studio has       Studio Team System and features such as
into production, it has                  been very significant for us,” says Coursey.    branching and source control,” says
gone through its                         “It enables us to immediately identify large    Coursey. “When they first started working
                                         issues that would have gone unnoticed           with Visual Studio and they saw what they
paces.”                                  otherwise, until the application was actually   could do with it, they were very excited. It
Jason Coursey, Programmer Manager,       put on a load in production. It used to be      has enabled us to adopt aggressive
Information Technology, The Shaw Group   when we put an application out there we’d       schedules for software development.”
                                         hold our breath waiting for the complaints.
                                         Now we have the confidence that when we         One factor contributing to the rapid
                                         put an application into production, it has      adoption of Visual Studio has been that it’s
                                         gone through its paces. We’re not worried       based on the highly familiar Microsoft tool
                                         about 12,000 people suddenly calling to         set. “Our people have been able to adopt
                                         say it’s not working. That’s peace of mind.”    and use Visual Studio Team System without
                                                                                         any issues at all,” says Coursey. “I didn’t
                                         SOX Compliance Easier                           have to go out there and convince anyone
                                         SOX compliance is another need that Shaw        to use Visual Studio. They can be in the
                                         has addressed with Visual Studio Team           middle of a project with tight deadlines and
                                         System. The company needs to generate,          still take advantage of features that they
                                         process, and store specific documents for       haven’t tried before, because they already
                                         each project as part of its SOX compliance      know the interface. Visual Studio is helping
                                         program. The developers’ portal created         our developers to remain excited about
                                         through Team Foundation Server makes            their jobs.”
                                         that process easier, by providing a single
                                         online location for that documentation.

                                         “We had a variety of version control,
                                         tracking, and reporting tools before, and it
                                         was often difficult to know where to find
                                         audit and compliance information,” says
                                         Coursey. “With Visual Studio, everyone is
                                         driven to put this information in the same
                                         place. That makes it easier to get to.”

                                         Other features of Visual Studio Team
                                         System 2008 also contribute to greater
                                         compliance capabilities. For example, the
                                         solution’s tracking history capability
                                         provides an audit trail on changes during
                                         product development.

                                         Rapid Adoption Cuts Time-to-Benefit
                                         Shaw has seen rapid time-to-benefit
                                         improvements from Visual Studio Team
For More Information                                  Microsoft Visual Studio 2008
For more information about Microsoft                  Microsoft Visual Studio 2008 is the world's
products and services, call the Microsoft             most popular development environment
Sales Information Center at (800) 426-                for designing, developing, and testing
9400. In Canada, call the Microsoft                   next-generation Windows®-based
Canada Information Centre at (877) 568-               solutions and Web applications and
2495. Customers who are deaf or hard-                 services. By improving the development
of-hearing can reach Microsoft text                   experience for Windows, the Web, mobile
telephone (TTY/TDD) services at (800)                 devices, and Microsoft Office, Visual Studio
892-5234 in the United States or (905)                2008 helps organizations deliver a variety
568-9641 in Canada. Outside the 50                    of solutions more productively than ever
United States and Canada, please contact              before. Visual Studio Team System expands
your local Microsoft subsidiary. To access            the product line with new software tools
information using the World Wide Web,                 that enable greater communication and
go to:                                                collaboration throughout the development                                     life cycle. Interaction between developers
                                                      and designers is enhanced with Visual
For more information about The Shaw                   Studio 2008 and the Microsoft Expression®
Group products and services, call (225)               Suite. With Visual Studio 2008, businesses
932-2500 or visit the Web site at:                    can deliver modern service-oriented                                       solutions more efficiently.

                                                      For more information about Visual Studio
                                                      2008, go to:

                                                       Software and Services                         Hardware
                                                        Microsoft Visual Studio                IBM BladeCenter
                                                         − Microsoft Visual Studio Team System
                                                           2008 Team Foundation Server
                                                         − Microsoft Visual Studio Team System
                                                           2008 Team Suite
                                                        Technologies
                                                         − Microsoft .NET Framework

This case study is for informational purposes only.

Document published September 2008

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