[theforum] weo 2b: read me 1st

Martin Paul Burns martin.burns at uk.ibm.com
Mon Nov 8 10:10:30 CST 2004

Dave the K wrote on 08/11/2004 05:50:01:

> Martin Burns <martin at easyweb.co.uk> wrote:
> >
> > There are a number of questions we need to answer before we can even
> > do specific requirements, let alone start building the replacement
> > weo. The 3 that spring to my mind are:
> >
> > 1) OSS as a point of principle?
> > 2) Replicate the current site's model?
> > 3) Packaged+customisations or bespoke
> >
> I read an interesting article on the importance of gathering project
> requirements recently ...though for the life of me, I cannot remember
> *where*... in which the author's advise *seemed* to imply that
> you may have the priorities a bit out of sequence here, Martin :-)
> Job one is to agree upon the functional requirements: "A projects (sic)
> comes into existence to do something: to have the end result"  To me,
> this has always meant the need to spell out and agree upon The Goal.
> Good goals can be unambiguously expressed in simple, clear, and
> measurable terms.  Normally they specify what the system does, purely
> from the customer's, or user's perspective.
> The #1 question for this project ('this' being the project that must be
> done by January 31st) is: Can our goal be expressed as simply as:
> "Porting WEO, front and back-ends, just as they function now, to a
> new operating system and relaunching it in new hosting environment"?

The goal is "Move WEO from generously provided 'mates' hosting to
contractually based hosting." to which I've the possibility of "Let's use
the opportunity to think about one or two things on the way as we probably
won't get another opportunity for a number of years."

What you put is only one of a number of possible objectives, and makes a
number of assumptions, which I was addressing. What you probably meant was:
"Moving WEO to a new infrastructure of type X, with core functionality that
matches existing functionalities @Y, which may require simple porting of
front and back ends, or a more fundamental re-write"

The end of my questions above will be able to fill in the blanks, produce a
more accurate objectives statement.

> Consider that Evolt Corp was your client you asked the Evolt CEO,

> the goal of this project to *move* WEO, a custom built, windows-based
> CMS written in ColdFusion, onto a Linux server in a new data center?  Or
> are you asking us to rebuild it, maybe all the way from the ground up,
> adding new features as we go, fixing some old bugs, and implementing a
> slew of (your users') long-overdue feature requests and process
> optimizations?"

No, that's about objectives. But all these things need confirming (or
otherwise). And by posing specifically targeted challenges "Which matters
more: A or B" you start to get there. If you ask an open ended question,
you get the Hemmenhaugh, right enough.

> But I do think, Martin, that your first question (Preferred Licensing
> Philosophy) and the third (Buy vs. Build) must come *after* the
> gathering (and more importantly, limiting) of the functional requirement
> goals.

Nope. They inform that gathering. Sure, we could (and probably should)
profitably spend time in parallel documenting what we have now. But until
we've decided whether we *want* a samizdat of the current system, do we
really want to set the current system as the model?

And given that the current model is a bespoke system, to replicate it
really *will* take a ground up rewrite if it's in anything other than the
current technology. And if we do that, the expectation will be an absolute
like for like copy of all functionality. Whereas if we decided to (say)
implement Drupal, and accept that we'll get most of the fundamentals done
for us, we make whatever customisations we can code (and test, mind) in the
time, and just move, we then have a nice basis for future development on a
platform of 'new weo', less constrained by the expectation of what it
*used* to be like.

> -dave, Ruthless Self-Appointed "Scope Czar"

The back of the queue is over there, mate ;-)


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