User Driven Software Development in a Small Company

Field studies, interviews and participative observations have been the main methods in this master thesis where the author has studied, and partially participated, in the development process of a booking system called FRI. Idavall is the small company that develops this successful software despite small resources. Characteristic for Idavall is in the way they manage to involve their about 1300 users in the development process. The development process is highly flexible which is required when rapidly changes are common.The overall question in this thesis is: How do Idavall manage to develop this software in a flexible way and successfully involve their users in the development process? Idavall arranges FRI-meetings, courses and demonstrations where users meet each other and a representative from Idavall. All participants discuss FRI and have the opportunity to propose changes, improvements and report bugs. One of the most important parts of the busi-ness idea of Idavall is to offer a proper, friendly and professional support. The support is one of the most important possibilities to be informed about the users? needs, wishes and propos-als. This, what I called, user driven development has a lot of common with Participatory De-sign (PD) where users participate in the design of new software. PD implies that users of software should take part in decisions that affect the system and the way it is used and designed. Idavall make use of a kind of Customer Relationship Management (CRM), which is a concept used in the marketing arena.


Background and Methods
Participative Observations
Field notes
History of FRI
Different parts of FRI
Customisation of FRI
User Participation in the Development Process of FRI
Support and Meeting Places for and with Customer and Users
Demonstration of FRI
What is Participatory Design?
Why PD? The political background
PD and usability
Organisation of PD
PD methods
PD in other contexts
User Driven Development at Idavall
Using Customer Relationship Management to Enhance PD
The Development Process of FRI
Software Development at Idavall
Administration and ranking of proposals
Development cycles
The smaller development cycle
The bigger development cycle
System Architecture
What is Extreme Programming?
Main values
Roles of the team
Comparisons between XP and the Development Process of FRI
Shortcomings of XP in the Context of Participatory Design

Author: Christina Hansson

Source: Blekinge Institute of Technology

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