Leading Up To My First Software Requirement Specification

From Dwayne Wright - Certified FileMaker 9 Developer
WEB: www.dwaynewright.com
EMAIL: info@dwaynewright.com
TWITTER: dwaynewright

Many of us long time developers have too much experience in storming the beaches. That is to say we ...

- hear a client mention their needs
- we have built solutions along the same lines
- we confirm what they client says they want
- we build a prototype and present it to the customer
- we take their feedback and tweak the database
- we show, we tweak, we repeat as necessary

Lately, that technique hasn’t been serving me very well. In my recent past, I had significant break down in the we show, we tweak, we repeat as necessary stage. At this stage, the key contacts at the client meetings would introduce new needs, go off topic and begin to debate both small and large particulars. This didn’t happen once but four times to me in the last year.

In the latest project, the main stake holder in the project said she wanted to invest in doing the project in the official project management stages. She mentioned she would like for me to review the following web pages ...



So the project was halted and we decided that a Software Requirements Specification was needed. She is too busy to do one, so we agreed that I would take a first pass at creating it. So we ...

- bought a voice recorder
- talked into the recorder as we discussed the needs of the project phase
- I reviewed the recordings and made notes
- from the notes, built the SRS
- sent the SRS, the notes and my moving forward proposal to the stake holder

Now I had been working my way through the Software Project Survival Guide. This was one of the books recommended by Molly Connolly Thorsen in one of her sessions in the 2007 FileMaker Developers Conference. I have found this a remarkable resource that I’m having troubles finishing because (as I read it) the hamster in my mind cannot get off the wheel. I immediately want to apply what I’ve read on the page and that stops me from reading the rest of the book.

This turned out to be invaluable to me as I wrote the moving forward pitch. My client loved all of this and feels confident we are on the correct track. Today we are meeting on the proposed going forward strategy of ...

1) All development work done thus far is only going to be used for reference only. There have been too many business role changes in place to use any of our existing prototype work. It is best we consider that phase of the project an active preliminary planning exercise and it did help solidify the project vision, scope targets, personnel strategies and time accounting. If needed, we can use FileMaker Advanced to copy code from the prototype to the new official release.

2) Establishment of the Software Requirement Specifications documentation and planning. We review my first pass on this and I think you will like it. If it misses the mark, I can try a revision of it, you (or someone in the office) can take a swing at it or you could hire an independent project management specialist for this phase.

3) Straight FileMaker 9 conversion is an independent and critical aspect as well. I would suggest that we convert a current copy of your database to FileMaker 9 on the laptop, make sure the QuickBooks current method works and then proceed to testing. If this proves successful, then we can work on a quote for upgrading everyone to FileMaker 9 and getting your new FileMaker 9 Server online. I believe the FileMaker 9 upgrade should be working and in place at least 2 weeks before we estimate rolling out the new system.

4) Back to the current phase needs, once the SRS is signed off, I can submit a subsystem architecture diagram for the proposed changes. When this is signed off, we can then do an overall ERD for the entire system as it pertains to the new phase. We will then have a brief user interface proposal for the changes and get an estimate on the work to be done. When the estimate is approved, we can then do active development work and then a planned testing setting where all relevant roles will enter in test data and verify everything is working properly.

5) After testing is complete, we can then do classroom training on the new system changes. Once this is complete, we should be able to go LIVE with the new phase of your database system.

More info about the author and FileMaker in general, contact me at info@dwaynewright.com.

© 2008 - Dwayne Wright - dwaynewright.com

The material on this document is offered AS IS. There is NO REPRESENTATION OR WARRANTY, expressed or implied, nor does any other contributor to this document. WARRANTIES OF MERCHANT ABILITY AND FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE ARE EXPRESSLY DISCLAIMED. Consequential and incidental damages are expressly excluded. FileMaker Pro is the registered trademark of FileMaker Inc.
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