Tuesday, February 27, 2007

MSF Nostalgia

I'm determined not to make the same mistake again. A keen follower of process methodologies like RUP and MSF (and ACA.NET), I threw caution to the wind in developing a quote-unquote "prototype" recently. There wasn't much in the way of requirements, and it seemed like a cinch. Soon it became apparent that the business owners' visions weren't aligned and nobody could agree what the system should do. And I kept quiet because I had no idea what it should do; I'm the technology guy who would put it together from a requirements document. WRONG! What I should have done is forced them to agree on the vision ... then on the behaviour ... then on the look and feel. Lesson #1: to have their sign-off on these documents would have made my life a lot easier in the final stages where we quibbled over the system's behaviour (my interpretation of their ever-changing minds). Lesson #1.5: to get the sign-off of more senior people than those I dealt with every day would have more impact than the easily vetoed sign-off of not-so-high-up-management. Lesson #2: most importantly, have a signed-off requirements document. This you can use as a test plan, and you can use to check the boxes that everything you promised has been delivered. In summary, I think I delivered far too much functionality for free - but that's not necessarily good for the business because there was never a 100% clear and auditable understanding between myself and them. Lesson #3: never underestimate the importance of "I'd like that in writing".

No comments: