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What is a JAD session?

What is a JAD session? This term is referred to often in job postings and seems like some kind of brainstorm you carry out with a client to define IT specification/requirements. What does it stand for? And what does it mean?

What is a JAD session? This term is referred to often in job postings and seems like some kind of brainstorm you...

carry out with a client to define IT specification/requirements. What does it stand for? And what does it mean? JAD stands for Joint Application Development. It's one of those software engineering techniques that some folks with lots of time on their hands sat around and dreamed up. You've summed it up in your question. All the design methodologies like this are complicated replacements for a huge dollop of common sense. Sit down with the client and design a paper UI that they can see what the application will look like and behave like. Give the user a chance to work through common scenarios and see if the application will work for them. Keep refining until the user feels the application is doing what they want it to do. As you get functionality implemented, bring the user in and have them work through those scenarios and see if it still works. If they want a change, have a solid estimate of how long the change will add to the schedule and how much it will cost. I've shipped plenty of very successful applications following these simple rules. I never bothered with JAD or anything else, just treated the clients like I wanted to be treated and kept them clearly in the decision loop.

This was last published in April 2008

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