Appoint a project Manager
First appoint a project manager who knows your business well. This person will be responsible for agreeing specifications, testing delivered systems, reporting back bugs and changes, deploying the system and signing off deliverables as complete. The project manager will in a small business be you. In a large or multi departmental business the project manager:
You or your project manager will need to allocate staff who should be involved in the project and/or each process definition that will be created in the project. These people will be required to meet regularly at least during the initial stages of the project.
This group should include the people who asked for the system in the first place. For most Processes a good mix of people involved would include:
It is the operators who more often than not can picture the detailed interaction they would have with the system as well as specific pitfalls they would want to avoid. Line managers will often add facilities for process rate monitoring, quality control monitoring and detailed calculation. Department heads tend to restrict or defer features according to limits of project time and budget whilst adding Decision Support and Executive Information requirements.
Decide strategy and priority
You will save your money and time if your project manager and staff identify and resolve the major disagreements about strategy and priority before you approach us. The decisions you make will be better informed if you involve or at least consult the people identified above..
Schedule a Technology Survey visit
The Technology survey is to ascertain the databases, servers, networks, protocols, operating systems and application software that the new system will need to operate with. Also logos, colour schemes and other 'preferences' are gathered and listed. This can usually be done in one meeting between a CCS consultant and the Customer's IT staff and should normally last no more than half a day.
Schedule Process Definition
Each process that is to be targeted for software development requires a key organisational specialist to draft its Process Definition. (you may already have this documentation in a form that complies with ISO or BS accreditation). This person should be the expert in that business process and is often a departmental manager or operations person who knows intimately the normal and exceptional procedures that are carried out by the business in their department or workgroup.
It is important to note that key specialists are not always the senior staff. Often personnel at the lower end of the business hold detailed operational information about how things are done and moreover how they can be done quickly. Consult these people and bring them into the software development process at the process definition stage.
The creation of a process document is often more demanding than people initially assume. It needs each involved person to actively envision what the evolving process document means and conceptually test it against the real scenarios they have experienced both in normal running as well as in exceptional situations.
Process Definition is group design. As such Process Definition sessions are demanding and tiring. They should be carried out away from the work so that the people involved can focus and bring their knowledge of the business to bear on what has to be designed.
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