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A Roadmap for Building the Right Solution
Kurt Bittner Chief Technical Officer - Americas Ivar Jacobson Consulting
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The Problem with Business Software

Business goals are poorly understood by IT, & often by the business itself “Requirements” processes often dive too deep, too early into specifying poorly conceived solutions Cultural divide between business & IT clouds communication Exploring innovative alternatives is slow & expensive

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The Impact
     

Unmet business needs and failed business plans Cost and schedule overruns Wasted expenditures Solutions delivered that remain unused Eroded trust between business & IT Poor morale and poor retention of skilled staff

“In the last year, 70% of projects failed to meet deadlines, and 50% of projects fail to meet the needs of the business. 80% of the issues stem from poor requirements.” Standish Group Chaos Report, 2007

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A Roadmap for Building the Right Solution

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A Roadmap for Building the Right Solution
Understand Desired Outcomes

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IBM Rational Software Development Conference 2008

Supporting Data
 Only 5% of all product returns are defective

Customers were dissatisfied with a working product

 60+% of all software projects fail to deliver on time or desired functionality

Even on successful software projects, up to 30% of all features are never used

 Lack of understanding of real needs is a key factor, if not THE FACTOR, in these failures

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QuickTime™ and a decompressor are needed to see this picture.

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Understanding Desired Outcomes (Needs)

Requirements don’t help you understand the problem or the opportunity Requirements define a solution, sometimes to the wrong problem Problems need to be addressed at their root causes
Treating the symptoms can result in temporary relief • But treating the symptoms is often more complex than addressing the root cause

Determining root causes and desired outcomes takes time & real insight

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The Effects of Poorly Understood Needs

IBM Rational Software Development Conference 2008

Adding features that do not address real needs adds to:
Complexity • Cost of development, testing, adoption & support • Schedule

All without any real benefit

Failing to deliver the right solution damages trust and credibility

No matter how good the code or the quality of the solution, if it does not solve the right problem all the effort is wasted

But… you cannot expect users or stakeholders to tell you what they really need… at least not directly

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IBM Rational Software Development Conference 2008

Techniques for Understanding Needs

Problem Analysis Approaches
• • • • •

5 Whys Fishbone diagrams Pareto Charts Mind Maps Desired Outcomes Analysis

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A Roadmap for Building the Right Solution

Explore Solutions

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Exploring Solutions

The best approach is to explore solutions through visualization Business analysts, product managers & UE professionals assemble three dimensional simulations of possible solutions Business and IT stakeholders “test drive” & provide feedback in rapid, interactive explorations Discussions are more focused & engaging Visualization dramatically improves communication between business & IT

 

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The Value of Visualization

Visualization converges the vision of the solution faster
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Most people think visually rather than verbally; visualization enables people to be more creative Visualization forces people to be concrete about the solution that they often have in their heads Visualization creates more interesting discussions about possibilities than “documents” Visualization provide a way to articulate the solution in in a language everyone can understand

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Other Techniques Can Complement Visualization

For parts of the solution that do not lend themselves to visualization, other techniques can help:
business process modeling • domain modeling • glossary of terms • financial modeling

Not all stakeholders will understand or find these techniques useful, but for specialized areas of the domain they can be helpful

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A Roadmap for Building the Right Solution

Evaluate Alternatives

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Evaluating Alternatives
  

Often, a number of possible solutions will need to be evaluated Comparing solutions back to the desired outcomes helps to determine which best meet the needs of the business Rough order of magnitude schedule and budget estimates, compared with expected business benefits, are used evaluate the financial worth of the solution

Visualizations and other information gathered while exploring solutions are the primary drivers of these estimates

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A Roadmap for Building the Right Solution

Augment Specification

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Augmenting Specifications

Visualization helps people to comprehend how the solution will work -- but sometimes something more is needed to tie things together Areas that can need more work usually involve data, process flows, business rules Additional scenarios may need to be visualized as well

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A Map of Requirements Techniques

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Comparing Requirements Techniques
Technique Declarative (Traditional) Scenario-based Model-based Prototype-based Testing-based Backlog-based Facilitates discussion Moderate Good Moderate Good Moderate Poor Handles interdependencies Poor Moderate Good Poor Poor Poor Low overhead Moderate Poor Poor Moderate Good Good Handles “flows” Poor Good Moderate Good Moderate Poor

The best approach uses an appropriate blend of techniques based on the complexity of the domain, the domain expertise of the project team, the degree of cooperation between IT & the business, the need for enduring documentation, & the degree of governance oversight required.
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Use Cases and Visualization
 

Use cases are useful to capture the usage scenarios, while visualization is ideal for eliciting feedback & exploring usability issues Done in parallel, they complement one another
Basic Flow The use case begins when the Banking Customer wishes to pay a bill online. {select account} The system presents the list of accounts held by the Banking Customer. The Banking Customer selects the account from which the bill will be paid. {enter Bill Payee information} The system prompts the Banking Customer for Bill Payee information. The Banking Customer provides the Bill Payee information. {enter amount} The system prompts for the payment amount. The Banking Customer enters the payment amount. ...

Movie-making analogy Script Storyboard

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Using a Domain Model

The Domain Model is a convenient mechanism for capturing requirements about data Many tools enable prototypes to be generated from data models (like the domain model) The domain model is easily integrated with other requirements approaches

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Using Business Process Models

Business Process Models are often useful to explore and document business processes:
Decision-making processes • Workflows • Logistical & Manufacturing Processes

Not all the interesting things that a system needs to do can be visualized Explicit consideration of processes helps to identify opportunities for simplification

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Using Models & Visualization Together

Used correctly, models complement the visualizations

Data Models

Business Process Models

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Strategies for Reviews

Using the visualizations, walk through scenarios , describing how the solution will deliver the desired outcomes Bring in other reference material where needed to supply detail Make the sessions interactive Look for undiscovered desired outcomes or ways to improve processes Seek to simplify

 

Don’t circulate documents! You won’t get good feedback and you’ll miss the opportunity for an interactive discussion about whether you’ve met the real needs.
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Choosing the Right Participants

Select people with a deep understanding of the process being improved
• •

People who will be directly affected by the outcomes produced by the solution A small but diverse group of individuals – not just “lead users” but also, and especially, “average” users

Avoid people only indirectly involved in the solution Avoid using the review session for “information sharing”

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A Roadmap for Building the Right Solution

Develop

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Developing Solutions

Having visualizations & supporting documentation provides a firm foundation on which to build Keeping open communication with the business is important - frequent demonstration and review of working software builds confidence & allows finetuning of direction

Frequent review of working software is the surest means of keeping a project on track

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A Roadmap for Building the Right Solution

Evaluate Results

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Evaluating Results

Testing is essential for closing the loop - it is a means for evaluating whether the overall project objectives were achieved Testing means more than just making sure there are no defects - it also means making sure the solution meets expectations.

Comparing results delivered against the desired outcomes will tell you whether you have delivered the right thing

Involving the business in the effort, continuously throughout the project, ensures that expectations are being met

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Summary

Improving results from software projects is mostly about improving communication Clarity about desired outcomes is essential, but is often overlooked in the rush to develop solutions Visualization of potential solutions is an ideal way to achieve consensus on how the solution will deliver the desired outcomes Continuous feedback through the development effort provides a means of assessing progress Testing means more than just verifying that there are no defects - it more importantly means closing the loop back to business value
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About iRise
    

7+ years of leadership in visualization 200+ customers across a broad portfolio of industries World’s first patents awarded for application simulation (2007, 2008) Global community of 10,000+ visualization authors & 25,000+ reviewers Backed by Morgan Stanley Venture Partners & Deutsche Bank

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Proven Success

About Ivar Jacobson International
 Our mission: to help project teams and organizations be more successful in the way they develop software  Our approach: working practice by practice, we help clients to make dramatic improvements incrementally  Our pedigree: we invented use cases, codeveloped the Unified Modeling Language, and led the early evolution of the Rational Unified Process

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Thank you for attending A Roadmap for Building the Right Solution
For further questions, please contact: Kurt Bittner, CTO Ivar Jacobson International kbittner@ivarjacobson.com Mitch Bishop, CMO iRise mbishop@irise.com

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