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New Frontiers in Business Intelligence

Nari Kannan

What's the Real Bottleneck in Software Development?

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You may reply - "People", "Programming Skills", "Time", or mention any of the myriad other factors involved in Software Development.

In my opinion, the real bottleneck in Software Development is really "Communication Skills" and Requirements Gathering. This is the most overlooked and often ignored one, but is the real troublemaker in every software development project.

Every big mistake in software projects is made in the first 10% of the time available. This is when you do Requirements Gathering and guess what skill is most needed in this stage?

Communication Skills!

During Requirements Gathering stage, there is the theory of Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC) and then there is what really happens in practice!

In Theory, users all line up like the Von Trapp children, early on in the movie "The Sound of Music", they know perfectly exactly what they need in the software system, they articulate it perfect pitch. The Requirements Gathering team is made up of super sharp listeners that understand precisely what is needed, and write down in perfect language, very unambiguous requirements.

Then programming superstars do a perfect job of coding and users are delighted and come to work every day, a little early, just to be able to use the software!

But then there is reality!

We all know that during Requirements Gathering, users think they are communicating perfectly, the requirements gathering folks (usually Business Analysts) get it sort of right with lots of mistakes and gaps.

Users have this requirements gathering document gathering dust on their desks till the last day it is due back with comments. They scribble a few notes here and there and send it back.

They are all shocked and awed when they see the software system delivered and it is quite not like what they had in mind even if it is exactly "what they said they needed". Then it becomes an argument of "Why didn't they figure out what we needed?".

Take a 100 software development projects and this is the story with 90 of them!

This is where you realize that all mistakes are made in the Requirements Gathering stage but they don't show up till late in the cycle!

So you want to fix Software Development Projects? Pay attention to the real bottleneck! Communication Skills and Requirements Gathering.

The newest computer can merely compound, at speed, the oldest problem in the relations between human beings, and in the end the communicator will be confronted with the old problem, of what to say and how to say it. - Edward R. Murrow

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Nari Kannan's blog explores how new approaches to business intelligence can help organizations improve the performance of business processes--whether these processes are creative or operational, internally-focused or customer-facing, intra-departmental or across functions.

Nari Kannan

Nari Kannan started and serves as the CEO of appsparq, a Mobile Applications development company based in Louisville, KY with offices in Singapore and India. Nari has over two decades of experience in computer systems development, translating product and service strategy into meaningful technology solutions, and both people and product development. Prior to this, he has served as both Chief Technology Officer and Vice President- Engineering in six successful startups, two of which he co-founded. He has proven experience in building companies, engineering teams, and software solutions from scratch in the United States and India. Prior to this, Nari started Ajira Technologies, Inc., in Pleasanton, CA, where he served as Chief Executive Officer for more than six years. While at Ajira, Nari was instrumental in developing service process management solutions that modeled, monitored, and analyzed business processes, initially targeting the Business Process Outsourcing (BPO), Telecom, and Banking verticals in India, and Finance, Insurance, and Healthcare verticals in the United States. Prior to this, he served as VP-Engineering at Ensenda, an ASP for local delivery services. He also served variously as Chief Technology Officer or VP-Engineering at other Bay-Area venture funded startups such as Kadiri and Ensera. He began his career at Digital Equipment Corporation as a Senior Software Engineer. Nari has a long involvement with Customer Support and other customer facing processes. At Digital Equipment Corporation he was involved with their 1800 person customer support center in Colorado Springs, Colorado. He was tasked with coming up with innovative tools to help customer support people do their jobs better. He holds a U.S patent for a software invention that automatically redirected email requests for customer support to the right group by digesting the contents of the request and guessing at which software or hardware support group is best equipped to handle it. At Ensera, he led a 45 person team in developing an internet based ASP service for handling auto insurance claims, coordinating information flow between end-customers, Insurance companies, Repair shops and Parts suppliers. Ensera was acquired by Mitchell Corporation in San Diego. Nari holds a B.S. degree in Physics from Loyola College, and an M.B.A degree from the University of Madras in Madras, India. He graduated with a M.S. degree in Computer Science from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst in 1985. Contact Information: Nari Kannan. Email: nari@appsparq.com Mobile: 925 353 0197. Website: www.appsparq.com View more .

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