Much like Bruce Wayne decided to become Batman, businesses decide to utilize custom software solutions because they see problems and want to do something about them. While businesses are not using software to clean up the streets of Gotham City, that doesn’t mean the ideal software development lifecycle shouldn’t function just like Batman.
A comprehensive software project lifecycle should include all aspects of developing the solution ranging from discovering and identifying the issues to continued support after the solution is launched. Let’s take a look at each stage in the software development lifecycle and how it can be modeled after the creation of Batman:
- Discovery and Analysis
When Bruce Wayne was a child, he was faced with the incomprehensible death of his parents at the hands of a robber born out of economic depression within Gotham City. This event stuck with him throughout his life, and it sparked his initial desire fight against crime and help save his city.
The need for a business software solution is also created with a goal in mind; only in this case it is to help make a business more efficient and productive. The initial stage of the development lifecycle sets the stage for the success of the solution. In this stage, key employees from the customer should be meeting with the business experts on the software project team in order to understand the customer’s pain points and other areas where the new software system should be able to improve the businesses.
- Solution Architecture
After spending time wandering around as a recluse and a nomad, Wayne found himself in prison with little direction in his life. He was approached by Ra’s al Ghul with the opportunity to join the League of Shadows should he prove his worth. Here, Wayne began to see a solution to his problem as he would set the plan in place to develop himself as a crime fighter.
In the software development lifecycle, once the customer’s pain point and business inefficiencies are determined, the framework for the development of the solution can be put into place. Use cases are created, mockups are drawn and data migration, customization and integration requirements are identified. Communication among all parties is key in this stage, as the deliverables from this stage include the system business requirements as well as the development plan.
Once he joined the league of shadows under Ra’s al Ghul, Wayne began to develop himself to become an expert in hand to hand combat and in minding his surroundings. He followed through with the plan he had set in place, and learned that he needed to master his fears.
This is one of the most important stages of the lifecycle, as it is the one in which the solution is developed. The prototype systems/modules are built to meet the requirements which were laid out in the development plan. In addition to the development of this system, a comprehensive software development lifecycle should also include the creation of an implementation plan at this stage.
- Training and Configuration
Once Bruce received instructions from Ra’s al Ghul, that was just the beginning of his transformation into Batman. He trained vigorously with the League of Shadows in order to prepare himself to fight crime in Gotham.
When the custom software solution is developed, the responsibility of the company that develops it certainly does not end there. At this stage, a software solutions team should develop a training program and conduct a full review of the system with the principal contact at the customer’s business. They should also conduct training sessions—either remote or onsite—to train employees who will be part of the next stage: Beta.
After his disagreement with the League of Shadows over whether Gotham City was beyond saving, Bruce Wayne made his return to Gotham in order test his new found skills and techniques. He hadn’t fully mastered what he could be as Batman, but he worked with Lucius Fox to use technology to his advantage in his first attempts to thwart Gotham crime boss Carmine Falcone.
In this stage of the cycle, the customers whom the solution is built for get to experience the new technology for the first time. And much like Batman had to work out some kinks, in this stage the beta users will identify any usability issues and the software team will work to correct any bugs in the system.
- Implementation- “Go Live”
Once Batman identified the items in his arsenal that needed to be fixed, he was ready to fully become the hero of Gotham City. With the help of Sgt. (later Lt. and Commissioner) James Gordon, Batman deciphers Ra’s al Ghul’s plan. He is able to stop Ra’s al Ghul from completely vaporizing Gotham’s water supply, thus saving the city from its demise.
After the Beta stage is complete, version 1.0 of the software system should be all set for implementation. The software development company should install any hardware necessary, and then proceed with the installation or implementation of the new system for the business customer. The system should be used to run through typical business processes to show that it is functioning properly. There could also be an onsite consultation during the initial implementation of the solution.
- Ongoing Support
Even though Batman defeated Ra’s al Ghul, his role as Gotham City’s protector certainly did not end there. There were many future foes to fight, and Batman needed to be the hero his city deserved. He also had his support team as well—whether it was Alfred taking care of him, Robin fighting along with him or Gordon aiding with his investigations, Batman was never alone in his quest to save Gotham.
The software development lifecycle does not end once a system has been implemented or “gone live.” The company that builds the system should always be there to support the users for any future issues that need troubleshooting. In addition to software help desk support, a solid software support plan will include also include proactive maintenance and monitoring to help determine any future upgrades that could potentially need to be made to the system.
Developing a custom software system is not something that will happen overnight, but a thorough plan and proper execution should leave the customer with the solution it both needs and deserves.
Images Courtesy of Warner Bros.
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