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One of the biggest challenges for any project manager is knowing what work has been done and what work remains throughout a project. This is no easy task for the typical SOA/Business Process Management (BPM) project involving multiple system integrations and a large user base.

When was the last time you looked for a Lessons Learned document concerning a project your organization completed last year? Yesterday? Yeah, right! Most companies doing software development perform formalized evaluations of their project performance however few have adopted an approach that ensures they will truly benefit from the value of their own experience. 1

As a business analyst, I am tasked with a great many responsibilities.  Among them, grasping the client’s vision, writing cogent requirements, fleshing out additional details to prevent project bottlenecks, and performing functional tests of completed code.  If you’re familiar with the IT industry, then you know what’s described above is consistent with the BA job description (and therefore an understatement).  I might be content to simply fulfill the aforementioned tasks secure in the knowledge that I am meeting baseline expectations.

Last week, I had the opportunity to attend a Scrum Master training session facilitated by Mike Cohn. Because of this training, I gained insight into a number of practices that fuel our productivity at AVIO Consulting.  The following three gleanings are the ones that impacted me the most.   

Maybe You Can Win

We’ve all experienced a massive re-direction of team effort mid-sprint.  Let’s face it, it’s more normal than any of us would like to admit.  However, part of Agile methodology is being, well, agile.  

As most developers know, using someone as a lifeline to provide answers to perplexing issues or questions really enables us to get our job done. Sometimes this information is gleaned from blog posts, sometimes in webinars, or sometimes by simply posting the question to a developer forum. Those who provide the answers and shed some insight into the details of the path they've already traversed are so appreciated. Especially so when we are up against a tight timeline and/or at our wits end to solve an issue.

One of the great frustrations businesses face today is the time, money and effort it takes to solve their own business problems. Impatient waiting for corporate IT to deliver solutions, the business often resorts to delivering their own off-the-grid software solutions. This shows how Oracle PCS addresses this recurring issue with a more business oriented approach using smaller less technical teams to deliver automated process solutions. A working application will be built from scratch in the demonstration, and it includes tips on getting started, how processes are modeled, the use of business rule decisions, how user interfaces are designed and tested, the integration of services into the process, and how end users interact with the completed application.

As the story goes, woe to the person who builds their home on the sandy ground.  Much better to build it on the solid foundation of rock.


Poor Infrastructure = Risky

Nailing the requirements and vision are key to any successful project. Throughout my career and in working with multiple clients, the review (aka playback or demo) has proven one of the most important practices for communication and demonstration of progress. I was taught this technique long before I practiced Scrum and it fits perfectly with process-related projects.  In this blog, I hope to overview this agile practice and provide some benefits and risks to using it on your projects.  

Overview

Having choices when it comes to technology provides us with the ability to select the right tool for the job. But having too many choices can also lead to confusion and indecisiveness around tooling, making it difficult to decide what tool should be used when.

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