Custom Application Development

Dec 20 2007   5:53PM GMT

Application Developer – User Communications – More Thoughts

SJC SJC Profile: SJC

“Be careful what you ask for” could be another title for this post, yet another tale of communication mishap, misunderstanding and misconception during application development. Is it just my limited perspective, or could it really be that communication breakdowns are just – to be expected? Expect the unexpected might be my motto after my most recent experiences. This post comments on questions asked, answers received, and resulting misunderstanding(s).

The question asked — “Will all users be in the same building?” – Answer – Yes.  The better question to have asked — “Will all users be in the same building where the server is located?” – Answer – No (…but this question was never asked!).  Ooops!  Would have been best to have this information up-front.

The user was given a “sample application” to run and comment on.  Typical of how this seems to work, feedback wasn’t coming very quickly and further follow-up revealed that the user had apparently tried to access the app to run the sample report – but the application seemed to “freeze-up”.  Somehow this information never got back through the channels.  Unfortunately, it was at this point that the correct question was asked – and it was discovered that the user(s) were located across the network and that hugh amounts of data would have to be pumped from server through network to workstation in order to process the report.  Bad news!

Much has been written regarding well-defined requirements and project success.  With this project there have been a mixture of “issues” around requirements which have delayed delivery to the ultimate end-user, while the design and development itself is basically ready, the infrastructure which will support it is not.  What a wonderful opportunity we have in todays IT environment to be able to have so many choices of ways to handle the “issues” from a technological standpoint.

From the communication standpoint — it’s the same as 20 years ago – define, communicate – code, communicate – test, communicate.  Without clear communications the project will struggle.

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