Month: November 2006


manager is the name I have given to my new project management tool. Think Gantt chart. Think Microsoft Project. Then think the real world. Team members have different charge profiles - rates can change during projects. Team members can only provide given effort if they are partially assigned to other projects. Updating plans is largely manual, and tracking of hours spent takes a lot of the project managers time. Once underway, the plan becomes a reality, and things quickly change. The manager is continuously replanning, which is rather an administrative task. He wants to be managing, not administrating. According to Prince 2, a project management methodology, the job of the project manager is to identify and then manage problems. He does so using thresholds. When a given threshold like overall cost, steps over a boundary, he alerts the next level and together they manage the problem, be it with added resources, reduced scope, increased budget, etc. Getting information on when thresholds are over stepped, is again largely a manual and administrative job. In fact project cost analysis is also largely manual, and playing with scenarios, like removal of a feature (a set of related tasks) is largely theoretical, because without the right tools, it cannot take things like team members effort profiles, or holidays into account. Wouldn't it be great if there was a tool that took all this administrative stuff away from the manager, automated it, and just alerted him when there were problems? Well... now there is one.…

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7 Sheets of Requirements

Vision "Replace an enterprise information system that has been developed over the last ten years, to allow it to become stable on a modern architecture, to allow two new business units due to a split in the business to develop along their own paths, and to introduce new features that will take the business into the multinational domain." Inception The business wants to know how much such a system will cost. Although its vital for the entire business to be able to continue, it does make sense to get a grip on the costs of such a system, because with a vision like that, they are likely to explode. So the business has approached the IT department and asked for a conceptual phase to be carried out that includes analysis of requirements, conceptual analysis, migration plans and cost estimates. Great, three months ago we started on the technical side. No requirements at this stage, other than the vision. We managed to put together the architecture though, with big caveats with regards to realisation based on actual requirements. Hang on... shouldn't we have stopped before writing about the architecture and waited for requirements? Well the project manager insisted we keep to the deadlines, so perhaps we could "put something together"? His budget, he can spend it how he likes (I get paid by the hour). Two months ago, we completed the migration document. Again, because of a lack of requirements, it was largely conceptual, with lots of pretty flow charts to…

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