A non-techie PM's view of UI5

| 2 min read

30 Days of UI5 — Day 27 by Jon Gregory

I’m mid-flight in my first UI5/Gateway project, working with a great team of developers who have all contributed to this 30 Days of UI5 series. As a non-techie Project Manager embarking on mobile development for the first time, I thought I’d share some of my experiences and tips.

This isn’t regular SAP configuration – this is mobile development.

My experience of SAP to date has been in software modules – EPM, BW, CRM, for example. It’s easy to think of a UI5/Gateway project in the same way because they’re SAP products, but putting the name to one side, the difference between enterprise software and mobile development is huge.

This is obvious to those familiar with mobile development, but not so obvious to those new to this area. Prior to embarking on any UI5 project, get hold of case studies, project plans, artefacts, lessons learned and people that have delivered UI5 applications to get an understanding of how to set your project up for success. If you’re experience is largely in enterprise software projects, this is going to be very different :-).

Nail your branch & review strategy early on

At the beginning of the project, work with your team to develop a branch & review strategy. Agree a process for matching short-lived feature branches to tasks, for reviewing code prior to any merging, and also ensure that development branches are tidy and up to date – that is, delete any old branches, or branches that are no longer needed.

A friend told me a story of a time when he was working in a fast moving and experienced frontend/toolkit development team. He’d had a scattering of branches lying around his local repo, and a Ukranian colleague, in a thick accent, speaking German, reprimanded him gently but firmly: “What are all these branches doing clogging up your workspace and your brain? Get rid of them!”.

Allow enough time for planning – agile doesn’t excuse poor process

I found it’s easy to run in to development with a bunch of user stories and little else. Although UI5 lends itself to agile development, there still needs to be adequate time allocated to planning sprints, and also fundamental architecture design, not only for the UI itself, but for the data design and integration. Factor this in to your plans from the very beginning and don’t budge – if anything should give as a result of time, cost or scope constraints, it mustn’t be the preparation that goes in to making sprints a success.

Embrace it

Working with UI5, I’ve discovered methods of project delivery that are entirely different from the standard Waterfall/ASAP approach so often adopted in enterprise software projects. I’ve also found it hugely rewarding to see an intuitive, easy to use application come to life and, more importantly, so has our customer (case study is in progress – more on that soon).

So in summary, my advice is:

  • Forget about normal SAP – walk in with an open mind
  • Set out development processes with your team from day one
  • Plan, plan, plan
  • Enjoy it!

I’d be really interested to hear about other experiences of managing or coordinating UI5/Gateway projects, and listen to any advice you may have.