Fw: Having Your Style Guide and Eating Your Fries Too

Subject: Fw: Having Your Style Guide and Eating Your Fries Too
From: "MMdeaton" <mmdeaton -at- mmdeaton -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 6 Apr 2001 14:30:45 -0700

> Jim Shaeffer said:
> Saying that "No code should be written until user requirements are final."
> seems to imply that the mid-course corrections do not include changes to
> user profile.
> ***************
> No, it does not imply that at all. Notice I said "requirements are final"
> not "user profile is final." A requirements document that all agree on
> should be final when production coding starts. If the requirements or the
> user profile, later change, then change orders need to be written and
> everyone needs to buy-off on those before the changes are made.
> ****************
> Then Jim Shaeffer said:
> I submit that a team cannot complete the user requirements until the users
> have responded to a couple of iterations of functional software. What
> say when they encounter the software is very enlightening about what is
> really important to them.
> And what users say is equally enlightening when they see prototypes or
> prototypes or mock-ups or any of the other things you can test against
> before you have functional software. To let your users be the beta
> I consider an insult to users. Why should I pay good money for software
> which nobody bothered to do adequate research and preliminary testing to
> know what I even needed?
> *****************
> And then Jim Shaeffer said:
> I have yet to see any combination of prose and pictures that conveyed the
> same user experience as actually interacting with the software. I now
> proceed on the assumption that creating such a combination of prose and
> pictures is impossible.
> It is absolutely possible, through field studies, paper prototyping,
> prototype testing, and a variety of other methods to know how users do
> work, what their task requirements are, and how they respond to
> functional prototypes before throwing out all of the prototypes and
> from a set of firm requirments, storyboards, and specs to create a final
> product.
> Of course there will have to be further user observations, testing, and
> feedback for the next version. The first version of any mission critical
> software changes how people work; the second version has to account for
> that. New technology also changes what it is possible to do, so a second
> version can account for that. Cost often means you have to create a
> in phases, so a second or third version is needed to read the final
> application as it was envisioned. And all along the way, you continue to
> analyze, observe, redesign, prototype, test, and gather feedback.
> I have worked on lots of products for lots of user types in lots of
> environments, and believe me, the products where development started
> code they meant to ship before they had adequate requirements were all
> budget, over deadline, and a failure with the end users. And many of the
> projects I have worked on where they did a prototype turned into a fiasco
> because some senior manager liked the prototype so well they thought the
> whole app was finished and said to ship it! Prototypes are meant to be
> thrown out. They are not meant to become production code.
> The problem is very few development managers or senior managers want to
> for the cost of doing it right the first time. They have a false notion
> they do not pay for it down the road. But, boy, do they. A project that
> slips two months or three months because they started without adequate
> planning costs more than if they had spent those two or three months
> planning before they started coding. It is much more costly to fix bugs or
> rewrite code than to conduct a field study of user tasks!
> Whew! I've got to take a deep breath. As you can tell, this is a subject
> that really jiggles my jello!
> Mary Deaton
> (206) 323-0701
> Used Tech Com Books For Sale at
> http://home.mindspring.com/~mmdeaton/books.html


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