Chapter 3. Introducing the Project

You’re sitting in your office, surfing the . . . I mean reading up on the latest technology issues most pressing to software developers. You’re minding your own business, when boom, someone walks up to your desk and offers to pay you money to write a program. It happens every day, all over corporate America, and sometimes it just makes me sick.

But enough about my health problems. This desk-hovering somebody informs you that you must develop a software application, possibly a database application with a user-friendly interface. Although the feature set will be specified by the primary users, you, as the lead (or only) programmer, will design, document, develop, and deliver discs dripping with distinguished, dazzling, and dynamic digital . . . um . . . software. (Darn.)

Well, that’s what happened to me. A client of mine had a large collection of books that they needed to organize as a traditional library. Seeing that I was a reasonably codependent software architect, the client asked me to develop some software to manage the books and such. Out of this request came the Library Project.

As you read through this chapter, you will have to keep my day job in mind. I write custom Visual Basic applications for small to medium-size organizations. Most of the projects are sized so that I can complete them by myself, including all design and documentation requirements, in less than a year. All my projects involve a “key user,” one person—or sometimes a very ...

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