While physical cards provide a good mechanism for understanding and applying the practices, they don't scale up for use by large projects or distributed teamsand can be a turn off for teams that are not enthusiastic about the cards or Agile approaches in general.
An electronic environment is needed to really let us compose the practices, generate the right cards and guidelines, manage the cards, and make the practices visible within the team's selected collaborative software development environment. We call this environment "EssWork," short for "Essential Work," and have implemented it to support the electronic version of the Essential Unified Process.
EssWork provides a practice-centric infrastructure into which you can load whatever practices you need (Figure 4). By default, the infrastructure includes the new card-based user experience, the practice persistence needed to store the team's way-of-working, and the interfaces for the development of practice adaptors to integrate EssWork into the team's development environment. It can also be complemented with practice activation technology (such as Waypointer) to bring the practices to life.
EssWork (www.esswork.com) is not a branded process. It is a practice-independent framework that provides the infrastructure and foundation for teams to compose their own ways-of-working. Software developers will not learn, adopt, or follow EssWork. They will learn, adopt, and follow the practices that it brings to life. People won't say they are using EssWork when developing software anymore than they say that they are using e-mail or word processors. It will just be a natural part of the team's infrastructure, enabling them to benefit from adopting and applying practices in an agile and disciplined fashion.
The EssWork Core is freely available (www.ivarjacobson.com), and is to be donated, along with the technical practices from the Essential Unified Process, to the Eclipse Process Framework (www.eclipse.org/epf) where the EssWork community will be hosted. EssWork Core supports the use of practices over a rich set of client-access platforms and collaborative-development environments, including Microsoft Visual Studio and Eclipse, and server-side data stores such as Microsoft Team Foundation Server and JIRA.