Everything I'm doing seems to be about small chunks of thought. These chunks need tracking, comparing, versions controlling and melding into presentations of varying narrative richness.
The interesting projects and interested parties include software engineers, publishers and academics but there's no killer app in sight?
I'm finding myself in a peculiar swirl of
convergence where everything seems to be about small chunks of thought,
not necessarily complete or consistent. These chunks need tracking,
versions controlling and melding into presentations of varying
I'm sure this doesn't represent any major shift in the
industry, more a case of the when
you're buying a VW, every second car you see is a VW
Traceability and Agile Requirements
I am a member of a Software Engineering liason group between
industry and academia. Over the last three months we've been discussing
and the perennial problem of Traceability
through decision-making, requirements definition and the refinement of
understanding over time.
Something I was disappointed to hear was that there isn't any
killer app out there for either traceability or testing of
requirements. The group did agree that whilst requirements testing is
an open field at present, in the end it all comes down to keeping your
stakeholders happy and convinced that the project is worth it.
One interesting job category discussed, new to me, was
Engineer about which there was an interesting debate as to
how universities can produce them. The combined experience in the room
resulted in a consensus that all universities can do is provide some
background - you can't shortcut the industry experience needed to be
able to develop requirements.
In the Roadmap
Development thread, I discussed some ideas for documenting a
roadmap and consequentially system architecture as a series of small assets. In
particular, I explored the idea that you may want to combine these
assets in many different sets and sequences, depending on your current
viewpoint into the project.
We recently had a thread
on low-effort documentation which explored some of the issues
about documentating a system in an agile and collaborative way,
involving of-course lots of comments on wikis. http://www.wikimatrix.org/
makes it relatively easy to compare the merits of various wiki engines,
for anyone interested in exploring further.
I have had very positive experiences with wikis for
collaboration, where threads of discussion are collected, and for
casually editing documentation. However, they don't allow the threading
and management of chunks
that really covers the needs I'm talking about at present.
MS Word's Track
Changes, weblog editors and other collaboration tools
don't quite cut-it so they have decided something needs developing.
They are currently using a combination of Subversion and a text editor
with some disciplined inline markup. The links above include an
interesting list of suggestions of various collaborative software tools
and version control philosophies.
In particular, their needs are differentiated by Editing for Content
versus Editing for
ScribbleDEE is another project of mine that has been
languishing in the design stage for about two years, admittedly at a
low priority, whilst I tried to work out the issues in how you compare
variations of UML diagrams and especially allow for tracing through
fragments of design.
It turns out to have very similar complicating issues to the
GroupEdit project with regards to the tracking of changes and the
desire to authorise some variations or changes. However, the
presentation side, as being fragments of UML, is of course very
different from editing in the context of a largely textual document.