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Re: Re: XSL/XML/Perl as a development process

by chunlou (Curate)
on Jun 15, 2003 at 22:37 UTC ( #266081=note: print w/ replies, xml ) Need Help??


in reply to Re: XSL/XML/Perl as a development process
in thread <strike>XSL/XML/Perl as a development process</strike>

The problem is not finding new ideas of devel proc but executing any old concept descently.

I rarely have such a "good manager." Examples of spec from the managers could be like:

  • "Make it look sexy"
  • "Make it flexible"--euphemism for 'I duno what I'm doing'
  • "Just turn the paper forms into webpages"--when building an employee performance evaluation application
  • "Use a 3D spider web display"--for an org chart--2D info
  • "This is exactly what the client wanted!"--no, it wasn't, since we redid the entire project afterwards.
I think I should clarify role-and-responsibility a little bit at this point:
 

Devel Phase

Role1. Req Elicit./Analysis:
What to Do
Design:
How to Do
Coding:
Do
Testing:
Done (hopefully)
Mgr/Client lead     verify
Proj Mgr/Sys Analyst lead lead buffer
disturbance
coordinate
Artist/Programmer (as needed) lead lead fix
QA (as needed) lead   lead
Artifacts: flowcharts,
screenshots,
use cases...
DB schema,
class diagram,
site map,
(prelim) test script2....
(you know
what...)
results to the
test matrix...

1.Note that a single person could take multiple roles.
2. Not everyone writes a test script during Design. But having one could provide insight. Say, if a test script gets too complicated, probably so is the app.

It is not usually a good idea for an business manager to tell programmers what to do directly. Two reasons:

One, doing so is like a patient (the biz mgr) telling a doc (the programmer) what drug and treatment he (the patient) should take.

Two, if one biz mgr can do it, any of them can. Hence, conflict of interests. Everyone wants their jobs done first. Besides, changes become intractable.

Normally, during Req Elicitation, a Client or Mgr would be like a patient, a Proj Mgr (or Sys Analyst) plays the role of clinical psychologist, literally. It really takes a skillset of a clinical psychologist to do Req Elicitation well. That's why (for me), a good personnel in that role is the most difficult to find.

Unfortunately, Req Elicitation is often the most poorly done. Thus, the tragedy--a bad and wrong biz idea perfectly implemented--which is still a bad and wrong biz idea.


Comment on Re: Re: XSL/XML/Perl as a development process
Re: Re: Re: XSL/XML/Perl as a development process
by chunlou (Curate) on Jun 16, 2003 at 23:04 UTC
    Thought I should round up my answer more even-handedly.

    In practice, I feel managers and programmers (or any "technical" personnel) are as much a victim as vilain, since most of them were never taught how to work with each other.

    The CS curriculum normally focuses on programming, nothing much on how to work with people. (Like, a programmer might always complain a req spec wasn't "perfect," instead of helping a non-techie how to write a spec.)

    A biz program teaches quite a bit of concepts and theories, but not every biz student came out with good implemenation knowledge (theoretical or pragmatic). I usually found them lack of any concept of "stable system" and why you can't meaningful fix and improve a system that's not "stable." Instead, management by crisis or mgt by (annoying) cheerleading is a common style, which often amounts to destablizing a system.

    It would be better if mgrs and programmers have overlapping knowledge that helps bridge their communication gap. In an ideal world, we could have the following:

    Stylized view of the distribution of knowledge and skill sets
     

    knowledge\skill sets

      strategic
    thinking
    biz
    sense
    req elicit
    (aka mind-
    reading?)
    req
    analysis
     design programming  QA
    (conceptual
    and/or
    technical)
    biz/acc't mgr
     
      
     
      
     
      
     
      
     
      
     
      
     
      
    proj mgr
     
      
     
      
     
      
     
      
     
      
     
      
     
      
    sys analyst1.
     
      
     
      
     
      
     
      
     
      
     
      
     
      
    lead programmer1.
     
      
     
      
     
      
     
      
     
      
     
      
     
      
    programmer
     
      
     
      
     
      
     
      
     
      
     
      
     
      
    what to
    do/know:
    if a project/client
    strategically or
    technologically
    compatible &
    complementing
    the current sys
    or products...
    how a project
    contributes to
    the bottomline,
    or to the
    current system
    or products...
    ask questions
    that lead to
    actionable
    requirements...
    if each step
    has adequate
    input-output
    params,
    generalize/
    minimize
    the flowchart...
    generalize,
    minimize...
    (assume
    you know
    best here)
    explain to
    mgr why
    the one who
    programmed
    shouldn't be
    the one
    who tests...
    sample
    artifacts:
    a sensible
    executive
    talks sensibly...
    biz case,
    justifies proj ...
    flowchart
    (readable by
    clients
    ) w/
    indications of
    input-output
    params at
    each step...
    flowchart
    (meaningful to
    programmers
    ),
    conceptual
    class
    diagram...
    class
    diagram,
    activity
    diagram,
    mock
    screens...
    (assume
    you know
    best here)
    test scripts
    (manual or
    automated)

    1.sys analyst -- system-wide architectural issues
      lead programmer -- individual applications


    If people don't come in readily with what it takes, we just have to train them in house (if feasible).

    See that, on one hand, the major reasons of the software projects' failure (as a business) are "managerial," rather than "technical;" on the other hand, managerial decision process is a collective effort, not just by titled managers.

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