And The Other Side Of the Table……..

Hello there, i am back and so today it is about the folks who actually get their hands dirty and bring a business vision to life,

So on this side we have the players categorized as follows:

1. The team that actually builds or develops the product based on the business vision you share with them
2. The team that will eventually hold the product and provide support to the end users on a daily operational basis
3. The team that validates if the developed product is as per user specifications
4. The teams that validate if the product being developed is as per best practices and the standards being followed in your organisation
5. External Suppliers of software or services

and this translates to,

1. The Project Manager
2. The Operational Support Team
3. Quality Team
4. Implementation SMEs
We have the Project Manager and his development/build/implementation team, as is obvious these folks develop the solution, the PM creates the Project plan, Work Breakdown Structures and the Activity checklists. The go-around document for this team would be the Low Level Design document or Technical Specifications document which is a byproduct of the Functional Specifications document that you share with the PM, User Training Sessions and Manuals are brought out by this team(the functional memebers of the team usually do this) and this team also transitions the functioning of the nuts and bolts of the product to the Operational Support Team, the support team takes over the maintainance once the product has stabilized and undertakes fixes and enhancements through Change Requests.

In between the product being developed and pushed into production, it is put under the scanner and ripped apart to check for flaws, disasters and catastrophes, i know you love this phase, yes the product is tested and depending on the functionality and other parameters like the probable number of users, internet facing or not etc, the product is subject to functional, load and other applicable types of testing, If the product under consideration involves a couple or more applications publishing data among themselves, a thorough System Integration Testing is carried out. Depending on how your organisation works, either the BA or the Quality guys write the Test Cases. Quality teams use the Functional Specification document and the Technical Specification document (in most cases) and maintain Defect Registers & Trackers.

Depending on how your organisation works, the Solution Architects, the DBAs, Usability Analysts, Change Consultants, Information Security experts et al are brought in either before the implementation starts or after the initiation and before the development commences. These guys use either the detailed Requirements Document or a Solution Approach document.

This outlines what goes on and around in a typical software development cycle, when a methodology like AGILE is followed and adhered to, the players , the process and the artifacts change, and more about that later……

So until next post, take care………

One side of the table….

Ok, now i am back and i apologize for the long absence, so today’s post is about that group of stakeholders who we collectively refer to as customers or clients. did i say a group of stakeholders?? yes and let me explain why and how, the way i look at a client group is in terms of,

1. Who has initiated the implementation
2. Who owns the product being developed and knows what is wanted and can verify if the developed product fits the bill
3. Who is actually going to use the product developed at a transaction level

so we can now identify the three categories of stakeholders as

1. The Project Sponsor
2. Domain SME and/Or UAT InCharge
3. The End User

and we know that the Project Sponsor is the one that gives the go ahead for the implementation after recognizing the business need for the same and initiates the project, holds and controls the budget and is in charge of the project at the highest level. and the documents and updates he/she would ideally look for would be the Business Requirements document detailing the business needs and the solution discussed, proposed and agreed upon for the same and once the project cycle kicks in, the sponsor would typically be sent regular (weekly / twice a week are ideal) mails updating the status of the implementation and would preside over Steering Committee calls or meetings where go / no-go decisions would be taken in case of conflicts.

And then we have the Domain Subject Matter Expert who actually knows the nuts and bolts of the business processes being automated in the project implementation, this person would typically comb through your Business Requirements document in detail and ensure that all sunny day and rainy day scenarios have been captured for each business process (and send back the BRD with the comments in Track Changes if not :)), review all the test cases with a hawk’s eye and would engage in discussions on the report templates to be used, the recipient lists to be included in mails, the labels for the text boxes and all such bells and whistles, he/she usually would also be part of the User Acceptance Tests and would be one of the stakeholders signing off on the UAT. This stakeholder(s) would typically be in constant touch with the BA and the Project Manager through daily status calls and/or mails.

Next up are the people that will actually have to use and live with the product under development, the end users, these set of stakeholders may or may not read through your BRD depending on the practices followed in the business organization, some of them may be part of the group engaging in the UAT and would thus receive and review the test cases and almost all of them would be part of the training workshops that you may conduct for product familarisation and would be using the user manuals that are prepared as part of the project deliverables.

So you see we have a set of stakeholders on the same side of the table who can be visualized as different subsets with different expectations and different needs.

Next I will share my understanding of the stakeholders on the other side of the same table and their expectations, till then see you around.