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Numbers

 
vasu maj
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How does a software developer become part of the numbers game? I agree it is important for a project to be launched with all the numbers done. But you mention the book is meant for developers. Can you explain why a developer needs to involve himself with these processes?
Thanks,
Vasu
 
Jane Cleland-Huang
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Vasu, this is a great question and probably the one that we have been asked the most since the launch of Software by Numbers. The answer is that we don't expect developers to be experts in this. What we do hope for is closer collaboration between software developers and business stakeholders (customers that understand marketing, financiers, business managers etc). It is these stakeholders who bring input on the value side of the equation.
IFM is only made posssible in presence of this type of collaborative effort. However the rewards can be significant.
 
Ilja Preuss
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As a developer, I very much depend on the financial decisions made by management. In my experience, it very much helps me working to those decisions when I understand how they are made.
Some months ago, typically our project managers just said "do this and that until next week". The problem with this approach was that you can put a wide range of effort into a feature - you can implement barely the minimum, or you can spend a great amount to make it easier to use, prettier, whatever. Of course what would often happen is that we were spending the effort at the "wrong" places.
Today, collaboration has improved - the whole team discusses how much value a feature has and why (not by using IFM but by a more ad hoc approach). This has greatly improved motivation, effeciency and perceived quality of the product.
 
Mark Denne
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This is an excellent point. Understanding how the financial decisions are made helps us as developers and architects to have a wider understanding of the context in which we are operating. However, the advantage of IFM is that it empowers you to actually contribute to those decisions. If the financial analysis is performed with the developers and architects at the same table as the stakeholders and the marketeers, this not only serves to breakd the divide of understanding and vocabulary but also provides better and more informed decision making for all parties. The result is a more coherent team and generally a more successful project.
 
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