Who is Running the Asylum at Foundation Software?
The answer is NONE and ALL.
I’m going to let you in on a little secret. At Foundation Software, we try to avoid inmate takeovers by first assigning a lead analyst to oversee design for each project. We then provide a design methodology to follow. This methodology can be best described using an acronym I coined called ROPE. ROPE stands for Research, Organize, Plan, and Execute.
- Research to gather information. This phase consists of consultation with Customers, Sales, Client Services, Quality Control, Programming and Management. Internet research, reading and analysis of our competition all come into play. Design considerations are not relevant at this stage.
- Organize the research. Our lead analyst organizes information into logical components and processes. This may involve continued consultations with those people previously interviewed. Features are prioritized as well as added and eliminated based on the benefits they will provide to the end user.
- Plan. The planning phase begins when our analyst designs the application from the user’s perspective. Usability and the correct application of features and benefits dominate the process. Depending on the nature of the application, there may be one or more review meetings for clarifications and revisions.
- Execute. Finally, the programmers that do the actual coding will receive the final specifications document. They will study the document and then meet with the analyst to thoroughly review all aspects of the specifications. Concerns, questions, and suggestions will be made. There may be fine-tuning at this point, and then programming begins.
Although the entire design process is time consuming and intense, it has three major benefits. First, it results in an application that specifically addresses the users’ wants and needs and does it in an extremely efficient manner. Second, it reduces the overall time it takes to release the application to the market. Finally, it stands the test of time.
Well-designed software provides a more powerful solution. It also allows itself to be continually enhanced while remaining clean, efficient, and powerful. The inmates may not like this, but our construction clients sure do!