The 7 Steps of Software Development Case Study - Chapter IIThe 7 Steps of Software Development Case Study - Chapter IV

The 7 Steps of Software Development Case Study - Chapter III

May 23rd, 2007

Previous Chapters

» Chapter I: Introduction
» Chapter II: Cast of Characters

Chapter III: Preliminary Investigation and Analysis

Remember, this phase should involve extracting the requirements from project sponsors and management gauging the feasibility of the the project. Let’s see what happens at our fictional mortgage software company during this step.

Mary, the Director of Marketing at EzSoftiMortgageCo, reads a trade magazine article and decides the company needs a hot new product like the one mentioned there. Does it matter that a lot of it isn’t practical or applicable to the product lines the company currently sells? Of course not! All that matters to her is that it will create some buzz at upcoming trade shows. She whips together some rough sales projection numbers and sells the idea to her boss, Stan, the VP of Sales and Marketing.

A couple of weekends later there is an executive management retreat strategy meeting. Stan and Mary give a quick presentation that relies heavily on the rough pie-in-the-sky potential sales numbers that Mary had essentially made up. Stan tells them that this is a “must have ASAP” product that has to be ready by a major trade show coming up in 6 months and preferably by the company’s national sales meeting in a little over 4 months. Phil, the CEO, is very excited about the potentially high revenue shown in the briefing. He orders Brian, the Director of Software Development, to get the project started right away.

After returning from the retreat, Brian pulls Joe, a development team lead, off the project he’s been leading for about 4 months and tells him to get with Mary about a new product ASAP. Joe protests the move by telling Brian that the current project, a key upgrade to the company’s core program suite, is nearly complete and he has the most knowledge about that complex product. Brian explains that he’s giving that project to one of the junior developers to build up their team lead experience. He tells Joe, “I want my best development lead on this new and important project. You are the best, aren’t you? That old project is on autopilot anyway, a trained monkey could handle it. Stan and Phil want this new program ASAP and are watching it closely. A high visibility project like this will give your career here quite a boost.”

When Joe tries to schedule a requirements meeting he discovers that Mary is very busy. It takes almost 2 weeks to schedule a meeting with her because she keeps canceling meetings, ignoring emails and voice messages, and is never in her office. Finally, tired of the run around, Joe asks Brian to help get a meeting set up. After complaining about Joe not taking any initiative, he grudgingly gets a meeting set up with her for about 15 minutes late on a Friday afternoon. She quickly runs through what she wants in rather general terms and then hands Joe her ideas scribbled on a couple of legal pad sheets and a poor photocopy of the article. But, more important to her, she also has images for branding the product’s splash screen and about box and a color scheme. She tells Joe, “Make sure that you use my pictures and colors in the program because that’s what I’ll be ‘sneak peak’ promoting next week at an industry conference in Jamaica next week.”

It doesn’t look like a lot of investigation and analysis was actually done in this step. Let’s see what happens when Joe starts working out the details in Chapter IV: Requirement Analysis

Following Chapters

» Chapter IV: Specification and Requirement Analysis
» Chapter V: Design
» Chapter VI: Coding
» Chapter VII: Testing
» Chapter VIII: Deployment
» Chapter IX: Maintenance
» Chapter X: Aftermath and Comments

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Entry Filed under: Project Management

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