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A Better Way to Build Quality Business Software

  • September 13, 2004
  • By Scott McEwen
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Organizations that have adopted these practices are already aware of the significant long-term implications of writing better software. For these organizations, the cost of building software has come down primarily due to fewer failures; and, perhaps most importantly, they are meeting the needs of the business.

Interestingly, most organizations have made few if any changes to their internal software development practices. Many of these 'broken' processes are inflexible and require untrained stakeholders to write complete and detailed functional specification early in the project life-cycle and then throw it 'over the wall' to the software engineers for development much like our first house. A Roadmap to Success

In short, the process of building software has come a long way in the last 10 years. Most organizations have not leveraged these techniques and continue to struggle with how to build software. Today, we have a much better understanding of how to manage the life-cycle of a software development project. We understand how to capture the requirements and design specification in a way that provides a common understanding of what to build. We have techniques for presenting requirements and designs in several different forms and can provide stakeholders and users with models that allow them to 'experience' the software before we actually write all the code.

I have found that making incremental changes to your software development practices is pretty straight forward and incredibly cost effective. You don't have to (and shouldn't) engage in a major initiative to 'retool' the company. Start with a pilot project. Work with someone who has done this successfully. Involve stakeholders from all across the business. Most importantly, communicate what you're doing so everyone in your organization has an opportunity to be a part of the change.

About the Author

Scott McEwen is Director of Business Solutions at Metasys Technologies. He is a proponent of iterative development and has led numerous successful projects performing roles from engineer to business analyst, to project manager. In addition, Scott writes and conducts seminars on software development best practices and helps organizations improve their internal processes.

Scott can be reached at smcewen@metasysinc.com.



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