Home > Articles > Software Development & Management

  • Print
  • + Share This
This chapter is from the book

4. Pilot Applications

Problem

How can you detail the requirements for your framework?

Context

Work on the framework has begun. You’re in the process of defining the framework’s functionality. At the same time, some application development teams have already kicked off, while others perhaps haven’t started yet.

Forces

There is some functionality that several of the applications-to-be will have in common. They will use it in slightly different ways, but they will share a set of common abstractions. However, none of these applications have been built so far.

You’re locked in some kind of chicken-and-egg problem: The framework team needs to know quite a bit about the applications to be able to define the framework’s functionality, while the application development teams rely on the framework to build the applications. It’s hard to come up with the requirements for the framework in such a context.

Still, you have to find the right abstractions for your framework.

What makes things even more difficult is that different application development teams will place many, possibly conflicting, requirements on your framework. You’ll have to prioritize those requirements in order to achieve a consistent framework design. If you try to please everybody, the framework will become very complex and might ultimately become a failure.

Solution

Discuss the framework’s functionality with several pilot applications that are going to use the framework.

The pilot applications will use the first versions of the framework as soon as they are released. This may well include versions that feature only a partial functionality or that are otherwise still constrained in their usage. In a way, the pilot application developers act as beta testers and provide valuable feedback to the framework team.

In most cases, two pilot applications are appropriate. One pilot application alone might not be representative, and perhaps you cannot say whether a required function is crucial or just nice to have. On the other hand, three or more pilots might simply become difficult to handle. Two pilot applications still seem manageable, and it’s unlikely that important requirements go unnoticed.

Keep in mind the following when choosing pilot applications:

  • The pilot applications must be fairly typical of others that might use the framework.
  • The pilot applications should be significant, so that the framework team keeps in close touch with some of the framework’s premier users.
  • The pilot applications must be applications that are being built relatively early in the time frame of the overall project.

Collaborating with the teams who work on the pilot applications will increase the knowledge exchange in both directions; you’ll get feedback on how good your framework is, and the other teams will learn how to use it. Pilot applications will also force you to adopt a policy of early delivery, which is a well-established strategy for project risk reduction [Cockburn1998].

Unfortunately, pilot users can get the impression that they’re doing your work when they use the framework at a very early stage, when its functionality is still incomplete and has a few bugs. Be aware of this, and make clear to the pilot users that in return they have the chance to influence the system they’ll have to use.

Examples

The Data Access Layer Framework

Among the new systems, the health insurance system was a very typical one. The framework team had many discussions with the team that built this system. These discussions particularly helped shape the understanding of two-dimensional versioning of application data—versioning that makes a difference between when a change becomes effective and when it becomes known. It’s a subtle topic, and it was quite significant for the requirements analysis and for the framework design in the earliest stage of the project.

The framework didn’t feel on safe ground, though, until they got into detailed discussions with the team who built the new customer system. The new customer system had slightly different requirements on application data versioning. Both systems complemented each other well as far as architectural requirements were concerned.

The Web Portal Framework

The life insurance system and customer system served as pilot applications for the Web portal framework. This was clearly a good choice, since these applications were typical for the portal’s usage. For instance, a typical use case is that of a bank assistant who looks up a customer in the customer system and recommends certain life insurance products to back up a bank credit. This typical use case involves exactly the two applications that were chosen as pilot applications. The framework designers received a lot of input from collaborating with the application developers.

Discussion

Collaborating with the pilot users is a kind of Framework User Involvement (7), but it’s actually more than that. Involving the framework users has the primary goal of achieving a better understanding of the framework among the users once the framework is released, whereas the knowledge exchange with the pilot users is bi-directional.

Prototyping is a strategy generally approved of in the literature on reusable software. Brian Foote and William Opdyke recommend to Prototype A First-Pass Design [Foote+1995] when the goal is to design software that is usable today and reusable tomorrow, as is certainly the case with frameworks that are developed with large-scale reuse in mind.

The importance of feedback from users is generally acknowledged. In his generative development-process pattern language, Jim Coplien stresses that it is important to Engage Customers [Coplien1995], in particular, for quality assurance, mainly during the analysis stage of a project but also during the design and implementation stages. Along similar lines, speaking of customer interaction, Linda Rising emphasizes that It’s a Relationship Not a Sale [Rising2000]. Speaking openly with customers—the framework users in this case—will give you valuable feedback about your product.

The pilot applications are not only useful for finding out the requirements for the framework; they also form the precondition for setting up Pilot-Based Tests (6).

  • + Share This
  • 🔖 Save To Your Account

InformIT Promotional Mailings & Special Offers

I would like to receive exclusive offers and hear about products from InformIT and its family of brands. I can unsubscribe at any time.

Overview


Pearson Education, Inc., 221 River Street, Hoboken, New Jersey 07030, (Pearson) presents this site to provide information about products and services that can be purchased through this site.

This privacy notice provides an overview of our commitment to privacy and describes how we collect, protect, use and share personal information collected through this site. Please note that other Pearson websites and online products and services have their own separate privacy policies.

Collection and Use of Information


To conduct business and deliver products and services, Pearson collects and uses personal information in several ways in connection with this site, including:

Questions and Inquiries

For inquiries and questions, we collect the inquiry or question, together with name, contact details (email address, phone number and mailing address) and any other additional information voluntarily submitted to us through a Contact Us form or an email. We use this information to address the inquiry and respond to the question.

Online Store

For orders and purchases placed through our online store on this site, we collect order details, name, institution name and address (if applicable), email address, phone number, shipping and billing addresses, credit/debit card information, shipping options and any instructions. We use this information to complete transactions, fulfill orders, communicate with individuals placing orders or visiting the online store, and for related purposes.

Surveys

Pearson may offer opportunities to provide feedback or participate in surveys, including surveys evaluating Pearson products, services or sites. Participation is voluntary. Pearson collects information requested in the survey questions and uses the information to evaluate, support, maintain and improve products, services or sites, develop new products and services, conduct educational research and for other purposes specified in the survey.

Contests and Drawings

Occasionally, we may sponsor a contest or drawing. Participation is optional. Pearson collects name, contact information and other information specified on the entry form for the contest or drawing to conduct the contest or drawing. Pearson may collect additional personal information from the winners of a contest or drawing in order to award the prize and for tax reporting purposes, as required by law.

Newsletters

If you have elected to receive email newsletters or promotional mailings and special offers but want to unsubscribe, simply email information@informit.com.

Service Announcements

On rare occasions it is necessary to send out a strictly service related announcement. For instance, if our service is temporarily suspended for maintenance we might send users an email. Generally, users may not opt-out of these communications, though they can deactivate their account information. However, these communications are not promotional in nature.

Customer Service

We communicate with users on a regular basis to provide requested services and in regard to issues relating to their account we reply via email or phone in accordance with the users' wishes when a user submits their information through our Contact Us form.

Other Collection and Use of Information


Application and System Logs

Pearson automatically collects log data to help ensure the delivery, availability and security of this site. Log data may include technical information about how a user or visitor connected to this site, such as browser type, type of computer/device, operating system, internet service provider and IP address. We use this information for support purposes and to monitor the health of the site, identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents and appropriately scale computing resources.

Web Analytics

Pearson may use third party web trend analytical services, including Google Analytics, to collect visitor information, such as IP addresses, browser types, referring pages, pages visited and time spent on a particular site. While these analytical services collect and report information on an anonymous basis, they may use cookies to gather web trend information. The information gathered may enable Pearson (but not the third party web trend services) to link information with application and system log data. Pearson uses this information for system administration and to identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents, appropriately scale computing resources and otherwise support and deliver this site and its services.

Cookies and Related Technologies

This site uses cookies and similar technologies to personalize content, measure traffic patterns, control security, track use and access of information on this site, and provide interest-based messages and advertising. Users can manage and block the use of cookies through their browser. Disabling or blocking certain cookies may limit the functionality of this site.

Do Not Track

This site currently does not respond to Do Not Track signals.

Security


Pearson uses appropriate physical, administrative and technical security measures to protect personal information from unauthorized access, use and disclosure.

Children


This site is not directed to children under the age of 13.

Marketing


Pearson may send or direct marketing communications to users, provided that

  • Pearson will not use personal information collected or processed as a K-12 school service provider for the purpose of directed or targeted advertising.
  • Such marketing is consistent with applicable law and Pearson's legal obligations.
  • Pearson will not knowingly direct or send marketing communications to an individual who has expressed a preference not to receive marketing.
  • Where required by applicable law, express or implied consent to marketing exists and has not been withdrawn.

Pearson may provide personal information to a third party service provider on a restricted basis to provide marketing solely on behalf of Pearson or an affiliate or customer for whom Pearson is a service provider. Marketing preferences may be changed at any time.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information


If a user's personally identifiable information changes (such as your postal address or email address), we provide a way to correct or update that user's personal data provided to us. This can be done on the Account page. If a user no longer desires our service and desires to delete his or her account, please contact us at customer-service@informit.com and we will process the deletion of a user's account.

Choice/Opt-out


Users can always make an informed choice as to whether they should proceed with certain services offered by InformIT. If you choose to remove yourself from our mailing list(s) simply visit the following page and uncheck any communication you no longer want to receive: www.informit.com/u.aspx.

Sale of Personal Information


Pearson does not rent or sell personal information in exchange for any payment of money.

While Pearson does not sell personal information, as defined in Nevada law, Nevada residents may email a request for no sale of their personal information to NevadaDesignatedRequest@pearson.com.

Supplemental Privacy Statement for California Residents


California residents should read our Supplemental privacy statement for California residents in conjunction with this Privacy Notice. The Supplemental privacy statement for California residents explains Pearson's commitment to comply with California law and applies to personal information of California residents collected in connection with this site and the Services.

Sharing and Disclosure


Pearson may disclose personal information, as follows:

  • As required by law.
  • With the consent of the individual (or their parent, if the individual is a minor)
  • In response to a subpoena, court order or legal process, to the extent permitted or required by law
  • To protect the security and safety of individuals, data, assets and systems, consistent with applicable law
  • In connection the sale, joint venture or other transfer of some or all of its company or assets, subject to the provisions of this Privacy Notice
  • To investigate or address actual or suspected fraud or other illegal activities
  • To exercise its legal rights, including enforcement of the Terms of Use for this site or another contract
  • To affiliated Pearson companies and other companies and organizations who perform work for Pearson and are obligated to protect the privacy of personal information consistent with this Privacy Notice
  • To a school, organization, company or government agency, where Pearson collects or processes the personal information in a school setting or on behalf of such organization, company or government agency.

Links


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that we are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of each and every web site that collects Personal Information. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this web site.

Requests and Contact


Please contact us about this Privacy Notice or if you have any requests or questions relating to the privacy of your personal information.

Changes to this Privacy Notice


We may revise this Privacy Notice through an updated posting. We will identify the effective date of the revision in the posting. Often, updates are made to provide greater clarity or to comply with changes in regulatory requirements. If the updates involve material changes to the collection, protection, use or disclosure of Personal Information, Pearson will provide notice of the change through a conspicuous notice on this site or other appropriate way. Continued use of the site after the effective date of a posted revision evidences acceptance. Please contact us if you have questions or concerns about the Privacy Notice or any objection to any revisions.

Last Update: November 17, 2020