Get it done, Joint Application Development
As with any and all meetings we hold in a corporate environment, they have to be organized and structured in such a way that things get decided and then get done. We have all suffered through meetings where someone who likes to hear themselves talk, spends an hour and a half of our life to accomplish absolutely nothing. Not only did they not accomplish what the meeting was supposedly intended to but by utilizing an hour of my life have rendered me absolutely useless as well, sometimes for as much as an hour after their meeting when I am trying to reconstitute my dehydrated brain.
Being that I detest wasting my own time and that of others, any and all joint application development (hereafter known as JAD) workshops must hereby adhere to the following guideline in order to obtain managerial approval.
Our JAD Workshop Guideline
Step 1. Project Fit
Above all else you must determine if your project is JAD worthy. Does it possess the attributes required in order to effectively benefit from this form of requirements gathering. In order to tell I have listed below several key question you must ask yourself.
- Does this project require enhanced user participation?
- Does the project schedule or budget require an expedited fact finding method?
- Does the project schedule or budget require expedited development
- Is this project relatively small?
- Is the system being discussed focussed and narrow in scope (both breadth and depth)?
If you were able to answer yes to at least 3 or more of these questions your project is most likely a good fit for a JAD workshop. You may continue to step 2.
Step 2. Length of Workshop and Agenda
JAD workshops usually take anywhere from 1 day to as long as it takes to get the design solidified. Due to this, it is your responsibility to come up with a solid workshop schedule and length. A length must be identified and set in stone before approaching any of your intended participants as they will all need to know the timeframe they will need to allot in their busy schedules.
You must also create an agenda which is to be strictly followed and managed in order to make sure that the time allotted for this workshop is utilized as efficiently and effectively as possible. No one should leave the workshop feeling as though their time has been wasted as this will affect their overall confidence and support of the system once development has begun, as well as their eventual acceptance of the system once released.
Step 3. Identify Your Domain Experts and Sponsors
Before any work can commence a decision must be made as to what levels within the organization are to be included in the workshop. Once you have identified the levels you then need to locate one or more individuals from each level who have the availability to participate, interest in the system, and in depth knowledge of exactly what the system needs to do for them, their peers, and their departments.
It is also critical that you obtain an executive sponsor for your workshop. This must be someone with enough influence and power to make final decisions and create strategies which will stand the test of time (once the workshop has concluded).
Typical Actors Involved
- Domain Expert Users – those with specific knowledge pertaining to the domain in which the system will run or control
- IT Specialists – Analyst, Architect (note takers)
- Executive Sponsor – High enough in the organization to make decisions and create strategies which will stand after the workshop
- Session Leader – non-bias individual with excellent communication skills
- Observers – IT members assigned to the team such as developers (silent note takers)
Step 4. Finding a Xen Local
Once the JAD workshop, its schedule, and agenda have been approved it is time to identify a location which will be conducive to group work and collaboration. The location must also be located off the corporate campus in order to minimize potential interruptions. By having the workshop off campus it also reduces the participants constant focus on their daily responsibilities and duties and the paperwork piling up on their desks as they are assisting in your workshop.
Step 5. “Let them eat cake” or Keep them Fed
When a meeting lasts only a few hours its participants begin to feel burdened with its content. Adding a little food to those meetings pacifies and creates an atmosphere of reward for the efforts provided by the participants. Plus we all know low blood sugar leads to less brain activity and poor moods which are a detriment to everything you are trying to accomplish with your workshop.
JAD sessions tend to last all day and may continue for several days in a row. It is extremely important that you plan for, care for, and provide for your participants as best you can within reason (you can’t break the budget on twinkies).
This guideline is provided as a service to you by those experienced in joint application development. If you will hold fast to this guideline while developing your JAD workshop you will have a higher likelihood for the successful outcome you are looking for.
1. Kendall, K.E. (2011). Systems Analysis and Design.
Pearson Education, Inc., publishing as Prentice Hall
2. Joint Application Design, (n.d.). In Wikipedia’s online encyclopedia
Retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joint_application_design
3. Domain Expert, (n.d.). In Wikipedia’s online encyclopedia
Retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Domain_expert