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Simple Summary of the Development Process?

For the first time in my career (about 4 years now) I find myself without any sort of technical supervisor.  I've always had a buffer between me and the customer or end user, but now it's just me.  I work in a scientific research organization, and my manager, while familiar with some computing technologies (e.g., Access and databases), really does not understand the development process (and rightly so, perhaps).

To get up to speed, I've been devouring Steve McConnell's various books, as well as Peopleware, Pragmatic Programmer, and others.  I think *I* am beginning to get a grasp on the software development lifecycle and process.  But I can't hand my manager "Software Project Survival Guide" and expect her to read it - she's overworked as is and barely has time to have meetings with me.  Does anyone know of a quick reference that I could give to a nontechnical manager that would explain the fundamentals of software development and why those fundamentals are important?  I'm talking about things like requirements gathering and making a spec, maintaining control of change requests, why it's better to focus on one project at a time instead of multitasking, etc.  Even just an understanding of the basic sequence of development (requirements, architecture, design, implementation, testing, etc.).

Any ideas, or is this one of those silver bullets that doesn't exist?  Thanks for your suggestions!

Learning fast
Monday, July 12, 2004

Whenever I'd had to explain these sort of things, I've found it easier to explain what can go horribly wrong if the correct pratices are not followed.

Greg Hurlman
Monday, July 12, 2004

You might try an acronym: RADIO or PADIO.

(Planning) Requirements Analysis - Need to know what the user wants to accomplish or what the users needs are.

Design and Implementation - Need to know how we are going to implement a solution for them and then we need to implement it.

Operation (and Maintenance). - The resulting system is installed and the user determines if it meets their needs.  If it does then the maintenance cycle starts otherwise back to (analysis, design or implementation).

Dave B.
Monday, July 12, 2004

Dummys/Idiots guide to project management.  They are not small but cover all things you should be considering.

Chris Peacock
Monday, July 12, 2004

Look for diagrams of the Waterfall Method... even if you're not going to use it.

It's simple and straightforward enough to be explainable to non-techies.  Besides McConnel (in Rapid Development), covers how to tweak and/or break it down to turn it into a more useful process for your project.

Monday, July 12, 2004

Steve Mconnell also wrote a book on Project Management:

Software project survival guide
Described as "good but light reading". Sounds perfect for a manager.

Tell her/him to put it in thier bathroom.  They'll read it eventually.

Mr. Analogy
Monday, July 12, 2004

Send her a link to . It's why we're all here, right? Just say "Found this article, thought it might be interesting" and send it on to her.
Tuesday, July 13, 2004

Chapter 1, "Explained", in the Crystal Clear book is worth a look.  See

John Rusk
Wednesday, July 14, 2004

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