The 7 Steps of Software Development Case Study - Chapter VThe 7 Steps of Software Development Case Study - Chapter VII

The 7 Steps of Software Development Case Study - Chapter VI

May 23rd, 2007

Previous Chapters

» Chapter I: Introduction
» Chapter II: Cast of Characters
» Chapter III: Preliminary Investigation and Analysis
» Chapter IV: Specification and Requirement Analysis
» Chapter V: Design

Chapter VI: Coding

At this point in the project, coding begins. What could possibly go wrong … go wrong … go wrong …

A week and a half later Mary is back in the office and, after the usual delay to schedule a meeting with her, she looks at Joe’s in-development work. She goes ballistic because what’s been done isn’t exactly what she wanted. She points to several features and says that they’re completely unnecessary. She complains that the colors are all wrong. She goes on to say that the program is lacking an important function that’s a “must have” to get the product to sell in the industry. She complains to Stan and Phil about it and they question Brian. Brian tells them that Joe is a “loose cannon” who did not follow proper procedures and that he’ll reprimand him for it.

Brian then delivers another verbal beating to the team, berating them for not being able to follow simple requirements. Later that day, Joe is called to HR and presented with a formal reprimand document for “not following established procedures”. Brian follows this up the next day during the monthly IT staff meeting by bringing up the reprimand as an example of what not to do.

Frustration mounts as Mary refuses to sign off on revised requirements and design documents that Joe created because they’re “incomplete”. She presents a large list of changes that she believes are needed. Brian continues to insist that the team code the application and complains that the project is falling behind schedule although no formal schedule has been set to the team’s knowledge, especially one that incorporated Mary’s many changes. After a painfully long meeting with Stan, Brian, and Mary plus Joe and the development team, she finally signs off on the design while letting everyone know how unhappy she is about the direction the product is taking. In the same meeting, the slow speed of the development work is mentioned and to answer this, an unrealistic project timeline is presented by Brian. Joe and the team are shocked but they agree to it in order to avoid yet another verbal assault.

The team pulls themselves together in spite of all the pressure and codes like crazy, working extra hours and weekends. Brian even does his part by approving overtime for the contractors for a few weeks until accounting complains and he limits them to 40 hours a week again. He also stays out of the team’s way by not being around more than regular office hours and then goes on vacation, much to the team’s relief. The team manages to deliver an internal test version of the program on the target date designated in the timeline Brian had published. This date is the same as the first day of the national sales meeting, oddly enough. The team is happy for once.

However, their joy is short-lived because Brian, who returns the next day from a week of vacation in Europe, is livid. He tells Joe that today is supposed to be the ship date, not the testing release date. He says that the product had to be released at the start of the national sales conference. When Joe shows him a copy of the timeline tacked up on his cubicle wall that clearly showed the current date as the testing release date, Brian says, “It figures an idiot like you would be working from the wrong time schedule. Don’t tell me you didn’t get the revised copy I sent out either. You have to be the most incompetent lead I’ve ever seen!” Brian calls up Stan and has Joe apologize personally for the delay. He also writes up another formal reprimand for “failure to complete assigned work in a timely manner” and HR presents it to Joe.

Things aren’t looking too good for Joe. He better have his resume ready. In Chapter VII: Testing, we will see how the hastily assembled program does when it’s put to the test.

Following Chapters

» Chapter VII: Testing
» Chapter VIII: Deployment
» Chapter IX: Maintenance
» Chapter X: Aftermath and Comments

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