Archive for the ‘Project Management’ Category


Is Systems Development An Art Or A Science?

by Tim Bryce - 31 March 2008

Vitruvian Man by Leonardo da VinciThis is an important question which is ultimately at the heart of a lot of the problems in systems and software development. There is one camp that believes development to be an art form requiring free-spirited creative types of people, and another camp believing it to be a science requiring people that are more disciplined and organized.

The difference between an art and a science is subtle but significant. An art form is based on the intuitiveness of the person performing the work, something that is difficult, if not impossible, to pass on to another human being. For example, apprentices serving under an artist may try for years to emulate the master, but may never attain his level of skill and creativity. In contrast, a science is based on a governing body of concepts and principles and, as such, can be easily taught to others. From this perspective, programming can certainly be viewed as a science as it has certainly been taught and passed on to others for many years; further, it involves certain governing principles in terms of language syntax, approaches to defining program logic and construction. Some might argue the physical design of a report or screen requires creativity, and there is a certain element of truth to this as some look better than others. But even the design of reports and screens can be governed by certain principles in terms of layout, navigation, color schemes, etc.

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Standard System Structure

by Tim Bryce - 10 March 2008

Business Analysis

An information system is a product that can be engineered and manufactured like any other product.

There has been a lot of discussion in I.T. circles the last couple of years regarding system architecture, yet there appears to be general confusion over the inherent properties of an information system. To some, a system is nothing more than a collection or suite of programs. Computer hardware manufacturers tend to believe it is either a collection of physical components or the operating system itself. Data Base people think it is nothing more than the interfaces to the DBMS. These are all rather myopic points of view and a source of confusion to a lot of people in the industry, not just now but over the last four decades as well. And if I.T. people are confused, imagine the effect on the end-users who must work with the systems they produce. Fortunately, there is a rather simple and proven solution to all of this; something that was first introduced 37 years ago. Let me explain.

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