Dan stood up. "Thanks, Jim, for your help with this. I think you certainly opened our eyes to some of the implications of this system and why we are considering writing a replacement for it." He turned to Marta, Bill, and Jane. "Thanks also to the three of you for giving us a good idea of both the process and the issues in your areas. I think we have a very clear picture of how time and billing works and of what the issues are with it. Alright, any questions? Tim?"
Tim was tapping his pencil on the table. "You just said we were 'considering' writing a replacement for time and billing. Sounds to me like we don't need to 'consider' it. We just need to do it!"
"I know it seems that way, but remember, all we've heard is the current situation. We haven't done any work to find out the cost of writing a replacement, and we can't do that until we agree on what the replacement will look like. We have to agree on a vision for the solution and then come up with a cost for that vision. Then we'll be able to decide whether it makes sense to build something. That's part of the beauty of MSF. If we follow it properly, we won't start any projects that should never have been started, or commit significant resources to something before we are sure it warrants them.
"Any other questions? No? Alright, then, here are our assignments.
"I will capture what we've written on the whiteboard and add it to the project directory. You'll find it listed as 'Initial Issues' in the 'Envisioning' directory.
"Jane, would you please work with Jim over the next few days to put a finer point to that cost-of-money figure? If we decide we can design a solution that will enable us to cut our invoice cycle to one week, we're going to need a solid number as part of our cost analysis. Jim, is that OK with you? Do you have the time?"
"How about it, Jane? Do you have some time to work on this with me?" Jim asked.
"We've got a few people out tomorrow, so it may be tough, but I think I can move things around to free up some time. How about this afternoon?"
"Two o'clock?" Jim suggested, and Jane nodded.
"Good," said Dan. He began handing out packets of paper, already punched for the team's binders. "Here is your reading material for our next meeting. Be sure you've already covered the MSF Development Team Model and MSF Development Process Model material. The new stuff is about goal-setting and iterative design. Be ready to use it on Monday morning. Same time, same place. We're just about ready to get creative with time and billing."
As the group filed out of the conference room, Marta turned to Tim. "I've used the term 'iterative' before, but I'm not sure it means the same in an IT setting like this."
"The best definition I can think of is the one I read on the wall of the computer lab in school, Tim replied. "It said 'Iterative, noun; see iterative.'" They both laughed and headed to their offices.