This month, meet Delphine Reveney, Nuxeo’s Head of Engineering for the development team. Keeping track of all the details and tasks necessary to produce Nuxeo products is no easy task, but with teamwork, diligence, and a smile she helps rally the crew to bring you the latest product enhancements.
Tell me about your role at Nuxeo
I’m Head of Engineering for our development team and I’ve been with Nuxeo for the past 7 years, in various positions. My role is to organize and manage processes related to product development with everyone contributing to the various aspects of the platform we build.
As part of this development process, we maintain a backlog of tasks that address each domain (build, features, core infrastructure, Q&A, tooling, etc.), my role is to make sure that all the tasks related to every aspect of development are entered into the backlog, that they have the right specification attached as well as enough data associated with them to be assigned and ready to begin work on.
The big challenge is to make sure that we maintain the right balance between a client’s needs such as feature requests, our own product road map (what’s already planned), core-level infrastructure improvements (things like using CDI rather than SEAM), overseeing the build & test process, and still other tasks that maybe aren’t exactly features, but still need to be done. At the same time, we still need to devote time to expert consulting and training, so I have to factor that in when looking at the team’s workload. It’s a lot of learn & adapt as you go.
You just completed a significant release (5.5), what’s next?
Right now we’re working on the 5.6 release and then 6.0 is slated for 6 months later. We’re still in the process of defining the full scope of 5.6, feature enhancements, etc. and some of this will depend on whether we have clients who have additional requirements that can be worked into the release. But, some of the features we have planned are:
- To replace the current workflow system by content routing - it’s a better workflow because it’s more configurable with Nuxeo Studio.
- Improve the user experience - we want to make things more intuitive and more efficient. With this last release we added features and now we want to make them more cohesive so that users know exactly how to move within the application, so they spend less time asking “where do I go from here?”.
- For developers, we want to improve continuous integration and testing.
- For Studio we’re working on a tab designer that allows users to easily configure a new tab, multi-user Studio access so that a several users on a dev team can contribute, and also improve the Connect interface.
- A retention management system that allows users to take a set of docs and archive, delete or move them to another Nuxeo repository.
- A mechanism that compares the metadata of documentation between versions.
Can you tell us a little bit about the challenging task of juggling and prioritizing features for the Nuxeo product roadmap?
I think the biggest challenge is to accurately balance and adapt the roadmap following customer input and feedback while ensuring we keep a strong and independent product vision. We learn a lot from our customers and the unique and amazing ways they use our software in the field, so it’s great food for thought to improve and alter the roadmap as we go. We’re an agile company at the core and we’re happy to adapt and improve as we grow. I believe that this balance of strong product vision from our product leaders combined with great customer feedback and input is what gives us our edge in the market. It’s why we have such a strong software platform for content management apps.
For example, the social collaboration features we added for 5.5 came initially from a customer request — from the engineering school Centrale Paris. We were thinking for some time to add social features to our content management apps, we wanted to bring something new to the market, not just another social graph and micro blogging feature. We liked the project our customer had and put a lot of thought and work into it because we felt they had an interesting approach to building these social features into the Nuxeo Platform. Same thing happened with Leroy Merlin and the Open Social-based user dashboard.
Keeping everyone on task is not an easy job, do you have any secrets to share?
Well working with Benjamin, our scrum master, is great. It’s a really good thing to have two people working towards a common goal. I also work with Thierry Delprat, our CTO and Lead Architect, to create and refine our processes as well as factor in the technical and architectural vision. Things are always evolving and because of that we can’t be afraid to try new ideas. So we try new things and see if they work, but we’re always ready to adapt and, if necessary, ready to revert back if a new process isn’t working as expected or hoped. Also, communication is key so we’re constantly trying to improve communication between teams, planning monthly reviews, and, in general, increase communication between sales and marketing (working internally first).
In regards to the work you’ve done at Nuxeo, what are you most proud of to date?
I guess being able to get teams to work together cohesively towards a common goal. This comes with time and trust, but also I’m lucky to be working with people who are motivated, clever, and hard working.
Have you always worked in the open source realm?
Yes, it’s been eight years now at Nuxeo. I can’t imagine not having a community contributing to the product and it’s even harder to imagine having to deal with software licenses.
What do you like about working at Nuxeo?
I like that we’re a young company and that people are motivated, sharp and that they are really doing what they love—their passion. They live and breathe tech. Also, when I started, there were less than 10 of us and I really appreciate that I’ve been able to grow and evolve in my career and constantly learn as I go.
Any predictions for Nuxeo in 2012?
We will move to a even cooler area for the new office, yeah! And, do more with mobile devices, tablets - these are more fun.
Outside of Nuxeo, what do you do in your spare time?
Well, I’m working on a very special project called “Max” that involves some significant feature enhancements. We’ve gotten through the first phase pretty well, and now we’re working on the next iteration which will include walking, eating solid food, and more talking (his first word was “papa”—obviously a bug!). [winks]