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It Project And Agile

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  • 1. Roman Agaev, Msc, PMP IT Project and AGILE IT Project and AGILE Author: Roman Agaev, Msc, PMP Date: 11/23/09 1
  • 2. Roman Agaev, Msc, PMP IT Project and AGILE Table of Contents 1 Introduction............................................................................................................................................3 2 Why IT/CRM projects have a problems with its 'Project triangle'........................................................4 3 The 'out of the box' solutions in IT/CRM..............................................................................................5 4 Why AGILE ?........................................................................................................................................6 2
  • 3. Roman Agaev, Msc, PMP IT Project and AGILE 1 Introduction Lets start by project term definition. Commonly it said that project is a 'temporary endeavor'. In case of IT world we can pay attention, many projects cannot be named as successful just because it ended by violation of preliminary defined scope, cost or time. The immediate meaning is 'temporary endeavor' didn't finish and in many cases become to be 'permanent problem' in terms of its maintenance and extensions practices. The mainstream that defined 'best practice' as working on 'out of the box' systems using configuration skills of distributed teams misled. It eventually brought the market to the reality, where the systems that gave an 'out of the box solutions' created an abnormal 'leaf' of development platforms with its own SDKs and best practices. These practices in many cases stand far away of clear programming development methodologies and techniques, dictating its own visions of infrastructure, graphic user interface and business layer prototyping. It is clear, in cases where these 'out of the box' solutions are not alone, the assimilation in production environment mainly become to be quite complicated or even impossible for implementation using predefined solutions. This situation potentially leads to violation of 'project triangle' members and in a such case to the inappropriate quality of the result. Finally, it seems, several possible solutions exist. One of these - very strong multidisciplinary group of software specialists who in spite of declared solution will able to develop extensions over it, using allowed techniques and staying in a very tight 3
  • 4. Roman Agaev, Msc, PMP IT Project and AGILE boundaries of the system. Another – very fast and adaptive project management where a few of strong core multidisciplinary specialists work together with workers who just passed the appropriate training program, using complementary software products, methodologies and techniques. In another words it could be summarized as “Individuals and Interactions over Processes and Tools”1. 2 Why IT/CRM projects have a problems with its 'Project triangle' The problems in IT/CRM projects mainly start from the beginning. In case of mistake in answer on RFP, that can be treated as preliminary scope definition, in many cases the cost, scope and schedule as well highly affected. The mistake at this stage of the project is completely crucial and leads to unpredictable results especially when the project managed using predictive methods. Usage of predefined solutions, mainly named 'out of the box', is not solving the problem entirely. These solutions declare an ability to be able to support all of the client's business processes , but in cases where the solution is not a single client's application the integration in distributed environment become to be unstable and as consequence the change management here is a very problematic issue. Even more problematically is inability of many project initiators to define the project aims clearly and formally. Not well defined aims mainly lead to the wrong solution choice and all the problems described above become to be even more difficult and sharper. As consequence of unstable scope the cost goes higher, but in order to stay in some kind of budget 1Agile Manifesto 4
  • 5. Roman Agaev, Msc, PMP IT Project and AGILE the schedule limits mainly overridden. These problems may be just a beginning, because in some cases the changes in cost and schedule are not enough. It can occur in case where the solution that should be provided is a very problematic and complicated (especially in 'out of the box' systems where the solution is not effectively extensive) , in such cases the development team become to be a project focal point, if the team is able. 3 The 'out of the box' solutions in IT/CRM A lot of different CRM solutions filled in the market. We can see systems for small, medium and big business as well. Different companies position itself as able to provide all needed business process in any vertical and horizontal market segment, from health care till employee management as predefined (out of the box) solutions. It looks so impressive and promising, especially when it accompanied by promise for no or almost no development neediness. In place of programmers came consultants/configurators, specialization and mighty to resolve problems by analysis and synthesis have been overtaken by straight knowledge, skills to use the knowledge and simple orientation in a system predefined abilities. Finally we've gotten the IT/CRM market in an illusion. On one side project initiators want it quick and well done. They buy advertised ability, but from other side the project managers (including very high positions) cannot provide them a needed solution just because the bought systems (for example) don't allow it or the consultants/configurators cannot implement it due to elementary lack of preliminary gained wide knowledge for solutions analysis and synthesis. 5
  • 6. Roman Agaev, Msc, PMP IT Project and AGILE This situation led to enormous third parties and partially done unstable solutions for many quite simple requirements, a lot of people work for making this situation to be preserved. We can see many satellite firms around big solution providers like Oracle, Siebel, SAP, all of these companies just try to paint the 'out of the box' solutions to more appropriate color. Distributed teams looked as an answer on that problem, but this way was good if it was possible to define requirements in a very sharp and formal way. The question is, how it can be ? The process of development, on one hand, probably must be done before in order to define it (predictive) and on other hand it must be iterative, including daily meetings and vocal interactions between the team members (adaptive). The conclusion is, the effective usage of distributed teams can be achieved just in case of 'thinking element' lack in development process, the team must work using predefined techniques, methodologies without an ability to get out of the tight boundaries. The 'out of the box' solutions cannot provide this kind of boundaries, the popular way of such problems treatment is 'best practices', but it cannot solve everything. There is no way to avoid the solution analysis and synthesis during the development phase, because it must take in an account so many different aspects that can be changed very quickly, especially in a complicated implementation. 4 Why AGILE ? It looks that almost all projects based on the systems, that provide the 'out of the box' solutions need a little bit different management approach than 'predictive' in order to be able to get it work as it should be (all scope, on time and in budget). The 'predictive' management approach cannot provide an answer and leads in many cases to the unreal problems that could be avoided quite easily. 6
  • 7. Roman Agaev, Msc, PMP IT Project and AGILE Since, the configuration process in fact is development process under cover it should be treated as is. The 'adaptive' management approach presumes an iterative development using short development cycles with understandable and valuable results that could be tested and accepted by customer. In order to be able to influence directly and indirectly on the development results, the customer should be involved in each such cycle. Distributed team requires predictive rather adaptive approach in order to be most effective. In order to work this way with predefined solutions, the 'extended level' of business logic setup prototypes2 should be used3. This level must allow the straight work towards the aims of the custom project within the boundaries defined by its tools (developers cannot do anything except fulfillment of the straight and simple directives). Using AGILE management, it will be possible to work faster, righter and be more closer to the customer wants. Among the AGILE oriented techniques, probably, the most appropriate technique that should be adopted for the IT/CRM world4 is SCRUM. 2 Similar to STL for C++. 3 Based on knowledge management and general infrastructure elements prerequisite. The concept will be presented in separate article. 4 The IT SCRUM technique will be presented as separate article. 7

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