Constantly Changing Pieces in a Jigsaw Puzzle

We
believe we understand something when we cease to wonder about it.

~ Spinoza

Before I dive into technical topics, it's probably worthwhile to spend some time on the scope of my group's responsibilities.

The Applications Technology Group provides the services, libraries, technology stack infrastructure and tools that product teams in the Applications Division use to deliver E-Business Suite functionality to end-users. 

For example, web-based E-Business Suite products like iProcurement or Self-Service Human Resources depend on libraries such as Oracle Applications Framework (OAF).  OAF is developed by the Applications Technology Group.

These, in turn, depend on generic Oracle products and components such as JServ, Forms, and the Oracle RDBMS.  These are developed by teams in the Server Technologies Division.

The Applications Technology Integration group, of which I'm a member, is the arm of the Applications Technology Group that makes these components work together.  This work covers a lot of ground, including development of tools, utilities, documentation, and other infrastructure.

A simple example from our certification team:  this team does the first installations and configurations of a new database release in E-Business Suite testbeds.  When the testbed is stable, we coordinate testing with the affected E-Business Suite product teams (e.g. Financials and Supply Chain Manufacturing) to ensure that their products work as expected.  

In the best-case scenario, everything just works.  Those are good days to be in the office.

In the worst-case scenario, we may need patches from the Applications Division, the Server Technologies Division, the Applications Technology Group, and changes to the myriad technology stack configuration files and utilities that knit all of this together.  These days are somewhat more challenging.  The certification team rolls up their sleeves, rebuilds the testbeds, and restarts the whole process with the latest build. 

It's always inspiring to see my colleagues assembling this jigsaw puzzle comprised of constantly-changing pieces, over and over again.  This work requires leaps of intuition, persistence, and obsessive attention to detail.  At times, their accomplishments can be dazzling - akin to watching someone solve a Rubik's Cube blindfolded.

At some point, everything works again as expected with the latest technology stack.  That's when we ship.

Those are good days to be in the office.  Interestingly, we don't tend to celebrate in any major way, even though such a release might be the culmination of months of long days and missed weekends.  A small flurry of internal congratulatory emails makes the rounds...  and then we get started on the next new release.

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