Joint Application Development

During the work on the project, difficulties in communication and delays in feedback are the reasons for the long-term nature of the traditional process. The more people involved in the process, the more aggravated these problems.
Joint Application Development is centered around constructive workshops. Everyone gathers together in a discussion room. Everyone hears what the rest of the group is saying. There are no delays between questions and answers. JAD eliminates many of the problems of traditional meetings. Meetings are not considered a productive form of work. JAD turns meetings into meetings. They are not so frequent, more constructive and productive. The agenda provides constructivism, the assistant directs the process, visual aids clarify the concepts under discussion, and the activity of the group, with constant feedback, stimulates creativity.

What is JAD?

Joint Application Development (JAD) is a management process that helps IT professionals to interact more effectively with users in order to develop information and technology solutions that really work.
The purpose of JAD is to define the boundaries of the project, develop a solution, and monitor the project before it is completed.
JAD Philosophy: The JAD process is based on four simple ideas:
1. People who actually do work have a better understanding of this work.
2. People trained in information technology have a better understanding of the possibilities of this technology.
3. Information systems and business processes rarely exist in isolation – they transgress formal boundaries and work in related departments. People working in these related fields have a valuable understanding of the role that the system performs in a large community.
4. The best information systems are developed when all these groups cooperate on the project as equal partners.

The scope of JAD – JAD should cover the entire life cycle of system development. JAD is usually a strictly delineated 3-6 month project. For large-scale projects, it is recommended to apply an incremental approach to the project and use JAD for each increment.

The situation when you need to use JAD

• You ask the customer what he wants.
• The customer defines some specifications.
• You design and supply the system according to the specifications.
• The client says that he expected something else to happen.

Features of JAD Meeting:

1. Very focused, concentrated
2. Pass in a special intended environment
3. Quickly manage the basic requirements
4. Participants of JAD meetings, as a rule, are:

  • Facilitator – facilitates discussion and compliance with rules
  • End users – (3-5 people) are present at all meetings
  • Developers – (2 or 3), for clarity of the question
  • Tie Breaker – Senior manager. Breaks end user ties, usually does not attend
  • Observers – (2 or 3), do not participate in the discussion
  • Subject Matter Experts – a limited number for understanding business and technology

Who is involved in JAD?

Sponsor who is the head (or several managers) who approved the project, the owner of the system. They must be high enough in the organization to be able to make decisions and provide the necessary resources and support to the project.
Business Users – prospective users of the system being developed. They are here for business expertise. There are two types of Business Users: (Real End Users) and Big Picture Users.
Real End Users will have to directly use the new system in their work. Big Picture Users understand the standards and methodologies of business functions. It is important to have both types of users. If you only have Big Picture Users, then you will end up with a great theoretical model of how everything should work, but, perhaps, it will not work in practice. If you only have Real End Users, then you will get a good system for today’s needs, but perhaps it will not work a year or two later.
System Analysts who provide non-technical explanations that help other members of the JAD group understand and fully utilize the available technology. Control design for ease of use / maintenance and compliance with standards. Provide the development of hardware and software.
The persons involved should correspond to the answer for the question “Are all the necessary areas and persons represented in the project?”

Roles of JAD group members

The Project Sponsor is the owner of the business process. Support and participation of the sponsor are decisive factors in the success of JAD-development. In addition to the responsibilities listed below, the Project Sponsor and Lead Analyst can share the role of the Project Leader, being equally responsible for the successful completion of the development.

Duties of the Project Sponsor
• ensure that the “right” representatives of the customer are part of the group
• provide the necessary technical support staff to the project
• ensure the purchase of software and hardware required for the project
• ensure that the customer representatives are provided with time for their permanent work, to visit JAD meetings and accomplish tasks received within the framework of the JAD project (study of rules and procedures, information gathering, discussion with other customer groups, documentation, testing, etc.).
• designate and influence policy research
• delegate tasks to the representatives of the customer who are members of the group
• ensure the fulfillment of tasks
• take part in the selection of test cases
• participate in the definition of the scope and functionality of the system
• take part in an evaluation comparison with the used and external systems
• help in choosing quality measures
• evaluate the efficiency and rationality of the system

The Project Leader can make or fail the project. It should be entirely transferred to the project, have sufficient knowledge of the business area and about the information systems used or similar. He must also be committed to the organization, and understand the implications of the project in the context of the University’s objectives. He should be an enthusiast of the project, and should be objective. He must be sensitive to political problems and able to draw opinions from the silent members of the group, and not allow anyone to dominate the group.

Duties of the Project Leader
• work with the project sponsor to provide the group with the right people
• ensure that all roles in the project team are completed
• ensure that meetings are scheduled and agenda items are announced
• ensure that the secretary records and subsequently publishes the minutes of meetings and meetings
• edit the protocols and make sure that this is not a transcript, but an accurate summary of the problems discussed and the decisions taken (and for and against). It is necessary to make sure that the archive of the protocols is available, for the new members of the group participating from the middle of the project,
• ensure the assignment and execution of tasks, ensure the planning and execution of tasks in the required sequence, with appropriate time schedules.
• coordinate the technical efforts of analysts in the team
• check before the meetings that the information necessary for the agenda is collected
• promote the effectiveness of meetings

The Record Keeper makes in-depth notes throughout the meetings, and then edits them into an accurate summary of the discussions and decisions. It is important that the final records are not a simple transcript of the one who said something. The role can be divided among the various team members as needed.

Duties of the Secretary
• make accurate and complete notes during meetings
• ask for clarification of unclear points
• summarize notes after the end of meetings.
• provide editing and confirmation of the protocols by the project leader and sponsor (or other delegates) prior to publication
• publish (distribute) protocols for all team members, and for other stakeholders
• have an archive (history) of protocols for team members who join in the middle of the project
• remind the group if something contradicts the earlier decisions and make sure that they know that they are at variance

The Timekeeper is responsible for meeting the time frames of meetings.

Duties of the Timekeeper
• ensure that the meeting begins and ends on time
• help the meeting meet the time limit for each topic on the agenda
• remind the group that they should end the discussion in order to have time, to summarize and create an action plan in the final minutes of the meeting

The Clients are involved, because this is the system they use. They understand how this system is used in the real world. They will help the group understand all the tasks processed by the system, correct any misperceptions, seek disadvantages and supply detailed information. Remember, no information is insignificant, be sure to mention them. Sometimes minor details affect the way the system should work.

Typical duties of Clients
• describe the sequence of events in business processes
• describe the solutions that need to be made in the business process
• determine the information processed by the process
• determine what is critical for the current version of the system, and what would be a good addition
• raise for discussion any problems that exist in the current process or any opportunities to do so more effectively
• investigate “political” issues when a new business procedure is proposed
• analyze whether there are any obstacles in the current business environment for the successful implementation of the project
• create test scripts
• perform testing
• provide feedback to developers regarding usability, accuracy and efficiency of the system. Feedback is provided in an organized, documented way.
• help to prepare documentation for work with the system from the perspective of the user
• help prepare and implement training for other clients

All team members have the following duties:
• commitment to the group
• regular presence
• actively listen
• take an active part
• identify and identify problems
• express ideas in brainstorming sessions (Brainstorm)
• recommend solutions
• agree on design based on a common opinion
• assist with project responsibilities

Project Charters / Contract Agreements

The project sponsor and project leader meet to identify the problems / requirements, the overall goal and objectives of the JAD group. Identify what is within the project and what is not covered by this project. The sponsor and the Project Leader must assess the necessary resources and create the first draft baseline. Finally, the Sponsor and the Project Leader must determine who should be in the JAD team.

Checklist for Getting Started JAD
1. Definition of the project
The JAD Project Leader meets with the Project Sponsor to complete the JAD Project Charter.
2. Formation of the JAD Group
The Project Leader and the Project Sponsor form the JAD group, making sure that all affected areas are represented. You need the Project Sponsor, Project Leader, Business Users and System Analysts. JAD group should consist of eight or less members. It is difficult to be effective with more than fifteen members.
3. First JAD meeting – Start-up meeting
The first JAD meeting may have the following agenda items:

o Share the definitions of the problem and the goal. Obtain agreement on these two concepts.
o To familiarize (educate) each member of a new group, what is a JAD group, explain goals, roles and how JAD works.
o Approve the expected result and responsibilities of the JAD Group
o Determine the frequency of meetings, time and place
o Define roles – Project sponsor, Project leader, Secretary, Timekeeper, Clients
o Continue holding JAD meetings approximately every week (or bi-weekly) until you have reached agreement on the design.

4. JAD meetings – Phases Planning, Analysis, Engineering

o Overview of the current process, planning
o Definition of the problem / complex tasks in the current process
o Brainstorming to solve these problems and tasks
o Comparison with other organizations of possible solutions
o Discussion “Development or Purchase”
o Poll, survey your customers for problems and ideas
o Evaluation of the list of generated ideas
o Defining your line of business – tasks to be accomplished
o Drawing up your “timebox” – the task list, to whom is entrusted and when each must be solved
o Presentation of the project plan to the Project Sponsor and representatives of the customer and obtaining approval
o Communication, communication, communication (business communication)

5. JAD meetings – Phases of Development, Startup, Completion
Meetings every 2 weeks to make sure that the development goes along the planned path.
Agenda: “How do we fulfill our goals?”

o Discuss problems and tasks
o Decide together
o Set goals for the next meeting
o Distribute tasks

Distribute as many project responsibilities as possible to the members of the JAD group – this will help to instill a sense of ownership and ownership of the project.

How do you know if you use JAD successfully?

Answer the questions:
• Are your meetings well attended?
• Are all stakeholders involved? Do all parties know about the decisions taken?
• Did you solve the main problem?
• Is your decision made and used by clients?
• Is the solution available on time?

Factors of success

• Clear objectives shared by all members of the group – this is the project statute
• The project has a diverse team that represents all the areas required
• Everyone in the group has equal responsibility and decision-making power
• Each idea is valuable. Throughout JAD – listen and take into account all the ideas and statements. Evaluation of ideas during the “brain storm” will interrupt the creative process. The best idea can never be expressed, for fear that it will be rejected
• The participation of every person is very important. Encourage more quiet members to say, they often have better ideas. Do not let one or two members dominate. It is a common duty for all to not dominate
• Listen when others say; do not interrupt and do not say when others are saying (the interlocutors can have great ideas – you do not want to miss them)
• Keep a record of important issues that go beyond the scope of this project.
• Do not hold meetings just to get ready. Meet only when there is something significant to discuss
• Do not delay the period between sessions for more than 3 or 4 weeks, you will lose momentum. Remember that every meeting is a motivation for the team to complete the assigned tasks. Come to the meeting and admit that you did not fulfill the task – it is not a pleasure.
• Make decisions on the basis of consent. We are here to create a solution that does not infringe on anyone’s interests … not mutually beneficial solutions will not suit us. You can come to an agreement by voting, giving everyone to choose three options:

o “I agree”
o “I disagree”
o “I can support this idea”

To avoid errors:
• There is no really interested sponsor – lack of resources
• Fuzzy goals or objectives – lack of focus
• Too many or few members in a team
• Lack of communication with external stakeholders for decision-making
• The time schedule is not maintained
• Project sprawl (Project Creep) – projects beyond the original definition and scope:

o If it is really necessary – it’s time to rewrite the project charter

• Meetings do not help:

o no agenda
o do not follow the agenda
o do not start or end on time
o nothing is achieved at meetings – old items are discussed from meeting to meeting
o One or two people dominate the discussion

Advantages of JAD groups

• Communication, Communication, Communication
• Formation of consent and ownership (ownership)
• Improved design quality and combined knowledge = Best solutions
• Design of cross-functional solutions
• Helps project teams to focus and stay focused
• Help to make the work right and on time

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