Weekly Status Report

house_of_coatesIt is shortly past 03:15 PM on Sunday November 30, 2014 and the Thanksgiving holiday for this year is winding down.  We have the granddaughters this weekend.  My son picked them up from their mother’s home Wednesday afternoon.  The four day holiday went by quickly.  We have been going to the same Regal Theater in the City of Eagan for over a decade.  Yesterday the girls wanted to watch the last Hunger Games movie.  My son suggested the Marcus Theater in Rosemount, MN.  The theater has equipped all auditoriums with recliners.  You need to select your seat when you purchase your tickets.  I had no interest in watching Mockingjay, so when we arrived to the theater my wife and I got a bucket of popcorn, a bottle of water, and some chocolate and comfortably went to sleep.  My wife said she had to move me a few times because I started snoring.  I woke up just in time to view part of the last scene.

Most of the turkey and all the leftover trimmings were gone last Friday.  My wife has not been in the mood of cooking.  I do not blame her after she prepared the Thanksgiving meal last Thursday.  Now and then we get in the mood of visiting best_burger_in_townrestaurants with a specific type of cuisine.  We decided to revisit restaurants with burgers to see if we can find the best burger in the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul.  Today we stopped for lunch with my son and his two daughters at “House of Coates”, a small restaurant in the city of Coates, MN.  The population of Coates according to the 2010 census was of 161.  The restaurant was almost full around 01:00 PM.  We ordered fried chicken and different burgers and fries.  The food was not bad but in my opinion lacked flavor.  The crowd was very homogenous and relatively quiet.  One of the patrons, an elder male stopped by our table on his way out.  He told us a couple jokes and went on his way.  This is something you do not experience in restaurants in the Twin Cities.

Back home, took the dogs out and sat down to chat with the family.  The girls decided to go down to one of her rooms to play a video game.  My wife took out her Kindle and started reading the news.  A couple months ago my son loaded on a laptop QuickBooks.  Today he was asked by my wife to load it on a different computer that he uses for work.  I went down to my office to check mail and write this blog entry.

About three decades ago I created a software development methodology.  I named it Cyclic Development Process (CDP for short).  I am in the process of starting to work on a couple new projects.  Every time I revisit a technology I like to read about it in order to learn more and / or be able to enhance my knowledge of a subject.  I believe that is the only way to move forward and be the best on what one does.  If you are interested, I invite you to read about CDP and its documentation in some of the blogs for the month of November 2014.  The blog titles give them away (e.g., Software Design Description document).

There are two more documents used by CDP that I need to cover.  The weekly status reports will be briefly covered in this blog.  The Software Test Plan (STP) will be covered in an entry next month given that today is the last day in November.

weekly_status_reportThe purpose of the weekly status report is to keep a diary of events of interest to a software development project.  The system architect makes entries as they occur during the day.  At the end of the week the status report should be delivered to all project stake holders.  At the end of the project, the status reports should be used to do a post mortem analysis.  The information is important to improve the application of CDP on future projects and to be able to help team members improve on technology items they might be somewhat rusty.

Each entry in the status report should have a date and type.  For example, if there is an entry associated with a member in the development team related to the implementation of a module, the entry might be labeled ::EXPERTIZE.  This way it is simple to locate all entries relating to issues related to expertise encountered during the project.  The two colons are used to help locate the keyword.

I have been thinking that most software developers do not like to write documentation or for that matter generate formal designs.  It is very important to think about solutions to a problem before writing a single line of code.  The thinking process may take a few minutes to several days depending on the complexity and extent of the problem that need to be addressed.  Most software developers tend to code form the seat of their pants.  In several occasions they come up with workable solutions.  The problem is that one needs to come with the best approach.  I always say that there are many ways to skin a cat, but one and only one is best.  These concepts tend to elude most programmers.  Ignorance is bliss.ignorance_is_a_bliss

It is a well known fact that junior software developers tend to come up with complex solutions to simple problems while senior developers tend to come up with simple and elegant solutions to complex problems.  In general junior programmers do not plan or document their work.  Senior system architects plan, document and execute.  Following a well defined and proven software development methodology is the only way to develop successful software within time and cost budgets.  Keep in mind that about 1% of all software projects do not see the light of day (are cancelled) or miserably fail when they are releases for use within the first year after their release.

I have been thinking about streamlining the documents that need to be in place to help the software development team conduct a successful project and produce quality software on budget.  All can be done using a word processor.  I would like to develop software that would help the system architect with the generation and maintenance of the different documents needed by the CDP methodology.

I decided that this self imposed task could be started in the next few weeks.  I expect to have a set of modules ready before the end of next year.  It all depends on the actual project work I will be doing during 2015.

The Naïve American

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