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Structured Views

The principle of work visibility reaches its zenith in some of the specialized teamwork and group models designed for software development. In Joint Application Design, or JAD (Wood and Silver 1989), a group of end users and developers work out requirements analysis and high-level design through a highly structured meeting process. The visibility of the process to the users and their chance to furnish input in an active way lead to better systems and improved rapport between communities of system users and system developers.

The so-called structured open team described in Chapter 16 (Constantine 1989; Thomsett 1990) is another model that exploits the principle of visibility to improve system quality and, ultimately, development efficiency. In such a development team, project members do a large portion of their work in each other's presence throughout the life cycle. Marc Rettig (1990) reports that one successful team spent half of each work day meeting as a group. Of course, these were not merely meetings as we usually think of them, but working sessions. The purpose was not to review minutes or keep each other apprised of progress, but actually to do work. In structured open teamwork, people analyze problems, design modules, and even work out coding details in groups. These working sessions are facilitated by a team member to make them more efficient and effective, but much of the real power comes from the visibility that the open process brings to software development.


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