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IBM Maximo: Tips for writing great technical review documents

IBM Maximo: Tips for writing great technical review documents

11/26/2015 | Developer

My recent activity on IBM Maximo Asset Management was related to architecture & customization review. So I decide to summarize the key technical points used in my review and to give you some tips about the information to collect in the review document.

Here my key technical points:

1. Architecture hi-level design
2. Middleware configuration
3. Integration with external systems
4. Add-ons and industries solutions
5. Custom applications
6. Custom workflows
7. Custom escalations and cron-tasks
8. Security profiles and data restrictions
9. Java code
10. Automation scripts
11. Trigger and other database stuff
12. Other custom configurations

Writing a technical review document it is useful for an assessment on existing Maximo production environment or before to plan a release upgrade.

 

1. Architecture hi-level design

In this section you should collect and analyse information about the hi-level architecture design as: application server cluster, traffic balance, resource sizing, configuration parameter, Virtual Machine configuration,, concurrent users, table size, workload forecast and performance estimate.
It’s important in this section to understand how the clusters manage the users traffic, for example how is manage the background traffic produce by integration system. All aspects of this pyramid should be considered and evaluated:

 

Maximo Architecture Layers

Maximo Architecture Layers

 

2. Middleware configuration

In this section you should collect and analyse information about:
– Application Server configuration in terms of  JVM tuning and thread pool settings.
– HTTP server settings in terms of Time-out, Threads, compression and load balancing.
– Database server configuration in terms of indexes, table-spaces, query optimizations and so on. More aspect may change based on DBMS vendor.

 

3. Integration with external systems

As many of you know Maximo use the integration framework to data exchange between the system and external applications in real time or batch mode. So you should collect and analyse information about how the integration framework exchange data synchronously and
asynchronously by using a variety of communication protocol between the system and external applications.

Tip for writing a technical review document: It is very rare that Maximo is the only one system in a customer’s environment, usually Maximo is integrated with an LDAP system or it is integrated with a back-end procurement system as SAP. When Maximo is used as Trouble Ticketing system is likely finding integration solutions based on web-services with Remedy or HP-SM. Here a Proof of Concept related to the integration of Maximo with Twitter.

 

4. Add-ons and industries solutions

In this section you should collect and analyse information about the add-ons and industries solutions installed.

 

IBM Maximo portfolio add-ons and industry solutions

IBM Maximo portfolio add-ons and industry solutions

 

It is very important to understand the add-ons installed especially when your technical review document it’s a prerequisite for a release upgrade activity. Usually any add-ons installed on Maximo could complicate the release upgrade procedure.

 

5. Custom applications

In this section you should collect and analyse information about the applications customization.  For example you should understand which existing applications have been simplified or which applications have been cloned and edited.

Sometime it is possible that existing applications have been enhanced other times the out-of-the-box applications do not meet your business needs, and you need to add information to them adding existing fields to an applications.

In your IBM Maximo technical review documentation you have to put the focus on the new application created to capture customer’s business process.

 

6. Custom workflows

In this section you should collect and analyse information about the custom workflows. As you know the Maximo Workflow provides a means of electronically reproducing your business processes so that they can be applied to Maximo  records. Using Maximo Workflow features let you auto
mate repetitive business processes and record management processes.

Tip for writing a technical review document: you should to review the process task requires a user decision, in terms of rule and in terms of  dialogue box. You should put great focus on executable programs (batch file or .exe) run from workflow and on Java classes run from actions.

 

7. Custom escalations and cron-tasks

In my experience the escalation and the cron-tasks are the most used customization type. Almost any Customers know how to create an escalation and many of them know how to create a cron-task to import a flat file with external data. So you should collect and analyse information about the cron-task and escalation created, it could be very dangerous to have a Maximo with a huge background workload without an architecture designed to support it.

 

8. Security profiles and data restrictions

In this section you should collect and analyse information about security profiles and data restrictions. These aspects have a great impact on system performance. Sometime the data restrictions may use queries with a huge CPU and memory usage, and sometime the Maximo performance can degraded.

 

9. Java code

In this section you should collect and analyse information about the Java code used to customize Maximo.

 

IBM Maximo Java Code

IBM Maximo Java Code

 

Review the Java code is often an complicated activity, you should spend several days understanding, analyzing, and reverse-engineering the code. My suggestion is to understand how are managed the out-of-the-box tables and how the code implements the custom flows. Moreover you should check if the Java code follow the IBM best practices.

 

10. Automation scripts

In this section you should collect and analyse information about the automation scripts. The automation scripts is something which is still very new, so it is necessary to manage the scripts carefully as there are few Maximo system that use automation scripts in such an intensive way. Tip for writing a technical review document: you should check all launch points.

 

11. Trigger and other database stuff

In this section you should collect and analyse information about database triggers and database scripts, procedures and other elements related to database. Maximo customizations have been through several stages, in the beginning of time the most of customizations were made by triggers, in a second phase the database triggers were the devil and many customizations were developed by Java code (MBOs). Currently the scenario is balanced, the best practices suggest to use MBOs but some triggers (cum grano salis) are allowed.

 

12. Other custom configurations

Anything else not mentioned in previous key technical points should be documented here.

I have been working on Maximo since 8 years and I saw very strange things: Visual Basic nightly procedures moved data from external database to Maximo database, html pages inserted data directly in Maximo database and so on. During a technical review documentation it is very important to understand everything especially the customization unconventional.

 

So these are my simple tips for writing a technical review document, what are yours ?

Your comments and suggestions are welcome.

Blog Comments

Is there any basic code review checklist for Maximo Java customization and Automation scripts ?

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