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Re: [ontolog-forum] Garcia's Ontology development method

To: ian@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx, "[ontolog-forum]" <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: "John F. Sowa" <sowa@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Sat, 14 Nov 2009 20:24:10 -0500
Message-id: <4AFF583A.4070303@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Ian,    (01)

I strongly agree with that point:    (02)

IB> My experience is that interviews don’t work, and you end up
 > second guessing the subject.    (03)

I also agree with the following point, but I would add some
qualifications:    (04)

IB> If you can get your hands on legacy data (the dirtier the better)
 > then I’d recommend analysing that rather than talking to users....    (05)

I would add that you should also look at *all* the legacy documentation
ranging from the initial reports, specifications, requirements, comments
in code, emails among the developers, manuals for end users -- including
everything going back 40 years or more.  While you're reading those
documents, you should check for discrepancies between the implementation
and the documentation.    (06)

Of course, that would take a bit of work.  Therefore, you should have
the computers read the English documentation and compare it to the
actual implementation.    (07)

 > I wrote a (fairly light-hearted) paper for Cutter on this, see :
 > http://www.cutter.com/offers/forensicIS.html.    (08)

It's interesting that you wrote it for Cutter -- because my colleague,
Arun Majumdar, who implemented and used the tools to do the analysis
of *both* 40 years of legacy code and the English documentation, did
it while working on the project as a consultant for Cutter.    (09)

For a brief summary, see slides 24 to 27 of the following talk:    (010)

    http://www.jfsowa.com/talks/pursue.pdf    (011)

A major consulting firm estimated that the project of reading all
the documentation and relating it to all the legacy code would
require 40 people for 2 years = 80 person years.  With the software,
Arun Majumdar and André LeClerc took 15 person weeks to do everything
that the consulting firm had promised -- and they also found the
discrepancies between the implementation and the documentation.
(They might have missed a few, but they found many that the human
programmers and users never found during all those years.)    (012)

John    (013)

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