Joint Application Design

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Throughout the semester in Management Information Class I have learned a lot about information systems. It was very interesting to learn how the internet works, how you can develop messages through machines and databases and even how to form some databases. One key point in the design and implementation of intelligent systems is the process of building knowledge bases. As most of the research in the AI field has moved from the construction of general purpose problem solvers to building knowledge-based systems that deal with problems restricted to a particular domain, many techniques have been proposed to acquisition and representation of knowledge bases. Databases are at the heart of modern commercial application development. Their use extends beyond this to many applications and environments where large amounts of data must be stored for efficient update and retrieval. The purpose of this class was to provide an introduction to the design and use of database systems, as well as an appreciation of the key issues in building such systems in heterogeneous and Web environments. One form that I did research on was the Joint Application Design. It is difficult to find an agreed-upon definition on even a widely used term such as JAD, but whole doing my research I came to the conclusion that Joint Application Design is a management process - a people process - which allows IS to work more effectively with users in a shorter time frame. Since the late seventies, JAD has proven to be an effective technique for building user commitment to the success of application systems through their active participation in the analysis of requirements and the specification of the system design. Joint application design was pioneered by IBM in the late 1970's and the early 1980's, and popularized further by James Martin who made it a key technique for RAD (Rapid Application Development) projects. In 1980 Crawford and Morris taught JAD in Toronto and Crawford led several workshops to prove the concept. The results were encouraging and JAD became a well accepted approach in many companies. In time, JAD developed and gained general approval in the data processing industry. Crawford defines JAD as an interactive systems design concept involving discussion groups in a workshop setting. Originally, JAD was designed to bring system developers and users of varying backgrounds and opinions together in a productive and creative environment. The meetings were a way of obtaining quality requirements and specifications. The structured approach provides a good alternative to traditional serial interviews by system analysts.

As JAD attained popularity in the 80's, people start to use the term to describe different things. Sometimes just one aspect of JAD was explored and the usage of it expanded, but it is still called JAD. For example, in the 80’s, group facilitation and workshop techniques were also gaining momentum. Some dealt specifically brainstorming session with blank flip charts, and large Post-it notes. As the popularity of JAD grows, its usage expands to functions other than the requirement gathering in the system development life cycle(SDLC). It is now used in all phases of SDLC and is defined as a system development method. University of Texas at Austin’s Information Services defines JAD as "a management process which helps IS work effectively with users to develop information technology solutions that really work." It specifically defines the scope of JAD to cover the complete development life cycle of a system. John Botkin of Public Service Company of Colorado suggests using JAD as one of the tools throughout the system development process to keep the users involved all the time. As we can see, JAD was originally designed to address information system development. A JAD session usually involves some aspects of system design, or, at least, development. But now, the use of JAD techniques has expanded to handle a broader range of challenges....
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