Customer description: A famous software development company in Japan. It has been a listed company for years and is influential in the industry. Each year, the company outsources projects worth billions of yen and the COBOL program conversion is just one of them.
Field: Electronic information
Project background: Because of mainframe and technology updates, many Japanese companies needed to convert COBOL to COBOL85 and update their software to run on NX7000(HP- UX) and Oracle.
Project scope: Manual correction, code reviews, compiling and linking.
Scale: 20 man-months
Objectives: Converting the mainframe COLBOL program to run on a NX7000(HP-UX)
Task summary: First, Japanese customers converted the original COBOL code to COBOL85 code using a program modification tool. Due to the restrictions of the tool, only part of the code could be converted automatically. Therefore, programmers had to manually convert other parts to meet the practical needs and to correct the syntax of COBOL85. So programmers modified the Pro COBOL source code program and COBOL85 code, which was produced by the tool, according to the official stylebook and the check list. In the case of difficult to convert code, we collaborated with clients with the ultimate goal of removing all faults in compiling. We also carried out strict inspections to make sure that we produced regulated, tidy and correct code. When the product was delivered, domestic employees and BSE members in Tokyo collaborated with clients to solve remaining problems.
Development environment: The mainframe was (HP-UX) NX7000 server
Development language: COBOL85, Pro* COBOL
Requirements for developers:
Techniques: Being familiar with COBOL syntax and ORACLE and code, reviewing COBOL code; analyzing WARNING/FATAL errors, and revising programs
Language: Team members should be able to read and write in Japanese (level three); team leaders or above should be able to communicate in Japanese fluently. Code reviewers and BSE members should be experienced and should master COBOL, SQL, and ORACLE.
Management and communication: Led by the technical director from Jinan, our team was able to solve problems in technique, management, and communication. In the weekly teleconferences, the technical director reported the progress to our Japanese clients, discussed problems, and provided solutions in order to make sure the whole project was running on schedule. We also dispatched BSE members to Tokyo so that they could talk to the customers face to face to solve problems in time.
Project challenges: short time frame, requiring high productivity and frequent communication with clients.
Solutions: Frequent communication through international telephone calls; BSE members dispatched to Tokyo to provide on-site service per the customers’ requirement.
Outcome: The project was completed on time and the customers were satisfied. The system is in pilot run now.