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are programmers involved early enough in sdlcs?

By Silver Soldier ·
Analysis of failures in large system development projects often (usually) highlight management and communication problems as the main causes.
I feel the programmers, the guys who actually cut the code, or at least the senior programmers, should be involved in all phases of the software development life cycle once it gets past the OK to go.
Having continuity from the initial stages through to coding just has to be a good idea.
What do others think?

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Involve Programmers Early

by Wayne M. In reply to are programmers involved ...

This post covers two different issues, management responsbility and programmer involvement.

Management is responsible for resource assignment and scheduling. It is a management decision as to when to include programmers in a project. That is why it is correct, if not self-evident, that management is responsible for failures, though this is usually just given lip service and not truly believed, especially by management.

Involving programmers early is an effective way to improve communictions. Having inside knowledge of what a system trylu needs to do beats trying to mine the knowledge out of a Functional Requirements Document or a System Design Document. This involvement, however, also requires change by the programmers. Programmers need to learn how to elicit information and listen to the answer. Programmers need to learn the users' language, accept ambiguity and contradiction, not quibble about definitions, and not present immediate solutions. This is really a new, but valuable, skill set for programmers to learn.

Yes, programmers should be involved early in the project lifecycle, but this requires new skills of the programmer and a commitment by management.

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Very often not...

by normancarr In reply to are programmers involved ...

I have been programming for over 17 years and for the most part have worked in smaller teams, often having to be involved in all aspects of SDLC. In larger teams, this may be less so, as there are generally more layers such as Project Manager, Systems Analyst, Senior Programmer, Programmer, etc.

Unless the Systems Analyst has a good grasp of the capabilities of the development team, it would be certainly be advisable to be involved in the "higher levels" of SDLC ealry on.

One problem with the smaller team situation is that one may wear too many hats and you are never sure if you are giving the right amount of focus to each.

Often it comes down to resources, time and cost. Often companies don't do things the better way.

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