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LinuxWorld: Cocoon Wars, Episode 3: The Users Byte Back

Dec 20, 2002, 13:00 (1 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Paul Murphy)

"I once had a professor who claimed he decided to teach computer science because it was the only way he could get to play with the toys without having to deal with users. He's dead now, but every time I find myself in a preliminary project-specification meeting with the local management's nominated users, I get closer to agreeing with him. That's certainly what happened last week when I met with several groups of Nichievo's users, mainly from the sales and analyst communities.

"On the positive side, I did get to wander around a couple of working offices and had a chance to meet with several customers. That got me a few nuggets that make the technology choice easier. But the rest of it? What a waste of time.

"The sad fact is that early-stage requirements meetings--professionally known as Joint Application Design (JAD) sessions--often waste everyone's time and get projects started off in the wrong direction. You frequently get the wrong people, and the few attendees who contribute to completing the organization's work often let their perceptions of you--and their concerns about how others at the meeting see them--shape their comments to the point of obliterating the value..."

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