Saturday, October 25, 2008

Quick Question

At the point the software goes live, any design issues found get raised as change requests which the client has to pay for because they signed off on the design. The very same clients signed off on user acceptance testing but any defects found at this point are covered under warranty. Why aren't design mistakes covered under warranty in the same way as code mistakes?


Anonymous said...

I can answer that one for you Bice ;) Code is opaque to the client. In effect, making a mistake in code can be likened to making a mistake in building construction - completely the fault of the builder.

Design, on the other hand, is supposed to be a collaborative work involving both the designers -and- the client. At each point of the design process issues are raised and discussed with clients and the end design is signed off on.

From the moment of sign off, you are creating what you have designed and agreed upon. Warrenties cover mistakes made by the constructors and are thus free of charge to the client, a design mistake is a mistake of the designer -and- the client.

The client cannot, and -should not-, try to absolve themselves of any responsibility for communicating what they want to the development team. Whilst it is a BA's responsibility to perform accurate requirements elicitation, when a client signs off on a design they are stating that they have carefully evaluated it and are willing to commit money and resources towards its creation.

So you see, they are completely different issues.

Bice Dibley said...

True. Of course, in a lot of building situations just because a tradesman cocks something up doesn't mean you don't have to pay to get it fixed.

I suppose the underlying point I'm trying to make is this: when are business analysts held responsible for their work? It's nice to think clients will make a thorough and thoughtful analysis of the design work, the truth is it's often signed off after a cursory glance because nobody has time to read it properly.

Anonymous said...

True, in most cases the clients barely look at what they are given. In that case it is even -more- important to hold them accountable for what they sign.

The IT industry has a reputation for being poor businessmen and women, for running shoddy projects, for cost and schedule overruns. Much of this is due to the client changing their minds and not bothering to even attempt an understanding.

It is -our- responsibility to ensure that the BAs work is as up to scratch as the coders. If BAs are not programmers themselves then programmers and architects need to be reviewing the designs before they are even presented to the clients. As well as this, clients need to learn to be more responsible -clients-. They're commissioning a work and it is their responsibility to ensure that what is being built is what they want.

The industry will never raise its image and profile, not to mention the morale of its workers, if it doesn't start holding clients as responsible to the commitments they make as it does the programmers.