The PDSA Development Methodology

Combine Your Vision with Our Expertise

All PDSA Inc. projects follow the PDSA Project Management Approach. The purpose of our approach is to make every effort to successfully and completely meet your business requirements. We combine your vision with our expertise and proven, process-based approach to deliver the best possible solution and reduce overall project risk.

PDSA's Process-based Approach

Our solutions are built in three phases: Specification and Prototype, Application Development and Customer Buy-off. These phases help to clarify and simplify the development process.

Phase I: Specification and Prototype

PDSA, Inc. - Custom Software Development

We work with you and your team to develop a specification document sufficient for us to develop a prototype. We mock up the web screens or Visual Basic forms with minimal navigation. There is no code or database under the covers. The prototype is to validate the written specification and facilitate additional dialog to route out any missed requirements. The prototype is used during Phase II to develop the actual application.

The deliverables of Phase I are:

  • Specification Document
  • Prototype
  • Estimate of Phase II

Phase II: Application Development

PDSA, Inc. - Custom Software Development

Phase II is the application development portion (software development). We use an estimating model based on previous project actuals to estimate the effort. All time is tracked by PDSA's eTimeTrak™, a web-based, time tracking system. It includes date, time, task, consultant's name, and task description. Your bimonthly invoices will include this detail for your review and will be available on the web.

All development by our staff follows the PDSA methodology: standard-naming conventions (VB and SQLServer) program construction, and architecture. If your business is located across the country or across the globe, working over long distances is made simple and cost effective. We use MS Terminal Server. Terminal Server will host your application here at PDSA for each incremental release until completion and delivery to your site. In this way any PC in the world with Internet access and authority can use, test, or validate the application easily. During development, you may receive incremental releases of source code, as is jointly determined necessary. Note: the logistics of incremental release (labor hours) can affect a project's budget and schedule. The use of NetMeeting and Terminal Server are very efficient mechanisms to reduce the span-time of development and save you money. Working over long distances is made much easier. We use NetMeeting. NetMeeting can be used to show you our prototype real-time without you or your client worrying about any installation issues.

The deliverables of Phase II are:

  • Develop application based on Phase I specification and prototype
  • Delivery of all source code
  • Reuse all the screens developed in Phase I
  • Perform QA based on written test plan
  • Develop help subsystem using HTML if required
  • Build a software installation CD
  • Provide software documentation
  • Provide on-site implementation support as needed
  • Partner with you to install software and ensure it is working properly
  • Partner with you to roll out application if required
  • Partner with you to help you run in parallel with legacy applications if required

Phase III: Customer Buy-off and Warranty

PDSA, Inc. - Custom Software Development

After installation at your site, the application is tested by you and signed off. Only after you are satisfied with your testing does the warranty period begin. Any bugs found are corrected by PDSA at NO CHARGE. Our warranty period lasts for 60 days after customer sign off. Any additional requirements requested are completed on a time and material basis.

If you require ongoing or remote maintenance, we can accommodate that with a PDSA Maintenance Service Level Agreement (SLA). Remote or client site installations are available as well.

The deliverables of Phase III are:

  • Customer completes testing the application
  • Customer signs off on the application
  • Warranty period begins
  • Maintenance Server Level Agreement begins (optional)

How Our Methodology Reduces Risk

All development projects have common risk areas. Our methodology and risk-management practices minimize the risks and ensure that your project is successful. Time and time again, we beat the odds and turn in projects that are on time and within budget. The table below summarizes just some of the specific ways the PDSA Methodology reduces project risk.

Risk PDSA's Risk Management
Insufficient user involvement leads to unacceptable results We strongly encourage user involvement. One critical element of our approach is the prototype. We develop a prototype of your requirements quickly so that you and the users can 'touch and feel' what the end product will look like.
Creeping user requirements contribute to overruns and degrade product quality Sure we love new requirements and new business. BUT, our approach is "keep it simple." We encourage you to focus on the core requirements, the ones you must have to run your business, not the "nice to haves." This will keep costs down and schedule shorter.
Ambiguous requirements lead to ill-spent time and rework "If we don't know where we are going, any road will do." We strongly encourage you to be unambiguous. We understand that many times you are not sure what you want. In those cases we recommend that you spend time deciding what you want. We can host user workshops to encourage dialog and to generate concrete requirements.
Adding of unnecessary features (gold-plating) Many times it is fun to have all the "bells and whistles" in your system. We encourage you to always focus on the business process and minimum requirements. Later releases of the software can then contain additional features that you know your user would like to have.
Minimal specifications lead to missing key requirements On the other hand, too few requirements will be insufficient for us to satisfy your needs. We may have several requirements gathering sessions asking many, many questions - probing you for what you really need.
Incompletely defined requirements make accurate project planning and tracking impossible We track our projects down to the task level so you can see just where our time and your dollars are being spent. By detailing requirements we can develop good project plans that have a greater level of success.
 

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