Not sure who I'm looking for...

Subject: Not sure who I'm looking for...
From: Dick Margulis <margulisd -at- comcast -dot- net>
To: TECHWR-L <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Sat, 21 Jan 2006 17:51:00 -0500

This is not a job posting. I wouldn't wish this job on a friend, and I consider all of you friends--almost all, anyway. What I'm looking for is help in crafting a job description that I will post elsewhere.

Here's the situation:

I have a client-from-hell who nonetheless pays well; so I keep doing stuff for her. The current challenge is that she (big-right-brain, non-linear, writing-challenged person that she is) is the SME for a software product she has conceived and is trying to extrude from her head onto paper, so it can be developed. She is in LA, I am in New Haven, and I can hear her waving her hands over the phone. She's not really an email person.

I've captured as many of the functional requirements as I can. However the business logic layer is a highly complex expert system.

At one point a few years ago, someone the client hired did some flowcharts to try to represent the logic of the system. I'm not convinced either that a logic flowchart is the best way to represent the system or to communicate it to today's developers. But I'm also not sure that it isn't.

I know we've had many threads on other ways of representing systems graphically, varying with the frame of reference--UML(?), DFD, etc. I'm not adept at any of them, and there's the hand-waving thing and the client-from-hell personality thing that also mitigate against my doing this part of the job myself.

So I know I need to find someone who is patient and skilled at extracting information from a difficult SME and who can work face-to-face with her in LA for the several days it will take to extract the information from her. But what I don't know is what technical skills I'm looking for in terms of the best way to represent an expert system.

To clarify, this is for a functional spec, not a design spec. So the idea is to represent the needed logic at an abstract level, not to specify the design of the system to implement it.

Any suggestions?



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