Joint application development


Joint application development

Joint Application Development (JAD) is a popular fact-finding technique that brings users into the development process as active participants.

Process

The JAD process is based on four simple ideas:
# People who actually do a job have the best understanding of that job.
# People who are trained in information technology have the best understanding of the possibilities of that technology.
# Information systems and business processes rarely exist in isolation -- they transcend the confines of any single system or office and affect work in related departments. People working in these related areas have valuable insight on the role of a system within a larger community.
# The best information systems are designed when all of these groups work together on a project as equal partners.

The JAD process does for computer systems development what Henry Ford did for the manufacture of automobiles (a method of organizing machinery, materials, and labor so that a car could be put together much faster and cheaper than ever before – the assembly line). The goal in systems development is to identify what the users really need and then set up a system or process that will provide it.

Typical session agenda:

Project leader:
# Introduce all JAD team members
# Discuss ground rules, goals, and objectives for the JAD sessions
# Explain methods of documentation and use of CASE tools, if any

Top management (sometimes called the project owner or sponsor): Explain the reason for the project and express top management authorization and support.

Project Leader:
# Provide overview of the current system and proposed project scope and constraints
# Present outline of specific topics and issues to be investigated.

Open discussion session, moderated by project leader:
# Review the main business processes, tasks, user roles, input, and output
# Identify specific areas of agreement or disagreement
# Break team into smaller groups to study specific issues and assign group leaders.

JAD team members working in smaller group sessions, supported by IT staff:
# Discuss and document all system requirements
# Develop models and prototypes.

Group leaders:
# Report on results and assigned tasks and topics
# Present issues that should be addressed by the overall JAD team

Open discussion session, moderated by project leader:
# Review reports from small group sessions
# Reach consensus on main issues
# Document all topics

Project leader:
# Present overall recap of JAD session
# Prepare report that will be sent to JAD team members

Advantages and disadvantages

Compared with traditional methods, JAD may seem more expensive and can be cumbersome if the group is too large relative to the size of the project. Many companies find, however, that JAD allows key users to participate effectively in the requirements modeling process. When users participate in the systems development process, they are more likely to feel a sense of ownership in the results, and support for the new system. When properly used, JAD can result in a more accurate statement of system requirements, a better understanding of common goals, and a stronger commitment to the success of the new system.

A drawback of JAD is that it opens up a lot of scope for inter-personal conflict.

A more complete description of this process, including its history, is under - Joint application design (as JAD was defined in 1978 by the creator, Chuck Morris of IBM).

References

* Wood, Jane and Silver, Denise; "Joint Application Development", John Wiley & Sons Inc, ISBN 0-47104-299-4

External links

* " [http://www.utexas.edu/ecs/trecs/hris/pub/jad.php JAD] " a description of JAD
* " [http://searchsoftwarequality.techtarget.com/sDefinition/0,,sid92_gci820966,00.html] " Definition of JAD


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