Archive for February, 2011

Applying the Team Model with SDLC: The Forming Phase

Just like the Tuckman’s stages of team development, the relationship between the project, the product, the client & the vendor goes through a similar projects.

The first stage in the Tuckman’s model is the ‘forming’ phase. The 1st half of the IT project can be classified as the ‘forming’ phase. This is when the client defines the requirements & specification is developed & all items are formally signed off. All the requirements is developed between the vendor & client. Even though the client only have the slightest of clue what the system would look like.

The vendor tries the best to fit the requirement into a specification that fits the vendor’s product, meanwhile the client tries to refine the requirements to make sure it’s more less right. At this stage, there is just too many unknowns to have a clear picture what could be missing in the requirements.

Unbeknownst to both parties, both already have their own kind of miscommunication.

Many client would only know what they have been using, so most of the requirements would be driven by that. Which means they will tend to focus on issues & process that have been there … even though some processes are created due to a flaw in the previous system.

The vendor usually tries to understands the client requirement by what they think is what the client really wants, then tries to reinterpret it into the specification. Transforming ideas of process into list of specifications for developers to code sound less complicated than doing it … so that an easy task even for the best consultant.

A natural difficult task for many human beings is translating thoughts into words; Compound with this, it guarantees a mismatch in between the conception and the end-product.

Unfortunately this is unavoidable when dealing with so many unknowns & miscommunication.

As the result, many thing does seem to work right for the client when the code is first delivered. After a few weeks of fine tuning, the client will be able to test out the product … at this point the client will realize the code is missing some major functionality that is missed in the requirement, but critical to business.

After the first round of client testing, the project have passed the mid-point of their timeline; Since under the SDLC-waterfall model, they have arrived at the testing phase, which is one step away from acceptance.

This is where we will end the ‘forming’ phase … next up storming.

This is a general reason why SDLC might seem to work in theory, but never fully work in practice. That doesn’t mean we should not use the SDLC, it just mean that it will take more time to craft the systems using the various steps in the SDLC. Like the agile method, any software development project will require a few iteration of similar process to make sure the product is fine-tune to what the clients need.