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Accelerate the development cycle

 

BrainStorm is a free-form multi-level list manager with hidden power and grace. Its simple approach belies its great ability to support easy management of large quantities of textual information from many different sources (the Web, emails, word processor documents, pdfs and so on). BrainStorm can be applied to many stages of the software development cycle to great effect

System analysis
At the analysis stage of any project the information is coming in from many sources. While it is important to maintain a structured view of proceedings, that's not always possible or convenient. With BrainStorm you can capture information how you like. You can structure it or just jam it in as it happens. An important benefit of BrainStorm is that you can sort your accumulated notes out when it suits you.

You can take notes from interviews conducted by third parties and, especially if they are already in a word processor, paste them across to BrainStorm. You can also look up additional materials on the corporate system or the internet and 'Magic paste' them into your growing portfolio. With BrainStorm, nothing gets lost or overlooked, and it lets you work the way you think

Planning
When planning and organising a project, any project, you need to master the details of all the activities, resources and timescales. BrainStorm will help you assemble and organise and keep tabs on all the project information. While it will not produce a Gantt chart for you, it does enable you to do all the preparatory work in record-quick time.

Design
BrainStorm's structure lends itself well to system and program design. You can work with the big picture, the major functional elements, yet plunge ever deeper into the finer detail of individual procedures. You can export all or part of your BrainStorm model into your preferred coding environment providing the basis for your program documentation, as well as a cleanly structured and indented guide to what needs to be done

Writing pseudo-code is a recognised way to plan the logical flow of software procedures and functions. Brainstorm allows you to structure your psuedo-code at multiple levels of complexity and to arrange the logic at will. You can plan your object class structures in the versatile BrainStorm environment which lets you think the way you want to think.

Management
A BrainStorm-based plan facilitates project management. It lends itself well to ad hoc annotation. It can automatically paste in the date and time of new entries, while its 'namesake' feature lets you whizz round all the updates for any given date. It keeps a permanent record of progress and, by looking at the outline view, you can quickly spot areas of inactivity.

(A namesake, by the way, is an entry identical to one that already exists in your BrainStorm model. They are automatically hyperlinked and share the same set of descendants. This means that all the information you have stored on a particular subject is instantly accessible. Navigation between namesakes is instant.

Tracking changes and bugs
You can track program design changes, storing them in context, maybe in special colours, so that you can see at a glance which parts of the project are suffering from excessive change. By assigning people's names to the changes, you can quickly trace the change record for each individual. Most importantly, you keep on top of the project and all the changes, in context and with instant links to related (by context, by time or by person) activities.

All projects need a bug-reporting and tracking mechanism. Just like changes, as the bug reports come in, they can be dropped into the appropriate part of the development model, complete with conversations and/or emails. As the bugs are fixed, the originator can be notified and the testing cycle resumed. Use the Find command, navigate the namesake links or use Aerial view to keep tabs on every detail of your project.

Team working
BrainStorm facilitates teamwork, even when team members are separated by time or distance. Teams can collaborate very effectively with BrainStorm. The best way is to let each person contribute to the project planning model in their own colour. The project leader can merge the contributions of the team, yet still clearly see who contributed what, and act accordingly. Once a round of feedback is in, the model can have its colours stripped and then be sent out again for further comment. In this way it's very easy to spot the new suggestions.

Documentation
Documentation is probably the least favourite job of any developer. Well, here again, BrainStorm makes it easier. You can throw everything in and sort it out later. Program design can be thrown in, user questions, amendments made, case studies and usage examples can all be captured from wherever they happen to be. When you think you've captured everything you can use BrainStorm's powerful organisation commands to give the work structure. A quick export to your preferred word processor, or help development environment and you are ready to give the words their final polish.