Saturday, June 29, 2013

CIO as Chief Integration Officer: How to identify Building Blocks in an IT project?


A key foundation would be to approach the project from the perspective of being a business project, not an IT project.  

CIO continually advocates - there are no IT projects, only business projects; and, there is no IT and business, we are all part of "the business". However, IT projects statistically have much higher failure rate than another type of business project due to the complex nature. Hence, in order to manage successful IT projects, how to identify building blocks in an IT project, what could be the possible Architecture building blocks and solution building blocks of an IT project spanning on many teams, processes, custom development and third party software?




A key foundation would be to approach the project from the perspective of being a business project, not an IT project.  Any project must attend to the business use, the business change necessary for the effective use and for the realization of the business value, so the project is a business project because it effects change in business behavior associated with the delivery of IT output. Hence, the delivery of the IT output is only half the story. Organizations are discovering that by positioning projects as business change projects which create demands for systems change, much better outcomes are achieved.

Capabilities are good starting points. Architecture Building Blocks map decently to capabilities.
a) Identify Business Capabilities: Create a business architecture for the enterprise which would have identified business capabilities as primary building blocks for the enterprise;
b) Identify Technical Capabilities: Created a technical architecture for the enterprise which would have identified the technical capabilities upon which these business capabilities will be reliant;
c) Create a business capability heat-map and related technical capability heat-map
d) Create a business project to improve a nominated business capability and associated technical capabilities.
e) Create a project brief that described objectives, scope, business outcomes, business and technical capabilities within scope, approach, costs, time frames, risks, etc as the initial basis for launching the project.

With a strong EA focus and good project management practices, IT project can be managed as the business project with real business value, enabled by a combination of IT and non-IT solutions. Proceed with typical business analysis, creating:
a) Business process requirements
b) Information requirements
c) System requirements
d) People requirements
e) Non-functional requirements

An Architecture Building Block (ABB) typically represents a required capability, while Solution Building Blocks represent components that implement the required capability. The solution building block referred to maps closely to the "Application Map". What needs be further drilled down on the solution map to depict the key interactions for the Application map to be readable.

The Architecture block could typically cover the overall IT landscape and needs to be represented using a few separate artifacts like a) Business Services view; b) Technology view. While IT landscape would have to iterate through some of the models below: a) Process/Capability model of the business; b) Application Map (for the whole/part of the IT/Process/Capability)
Project/portfolio Management/Governance Blocks: There are two interdependent blocks : Project Management and Change/Governance Management. There are three levels of management disciplines: Project management (to ensure doing things right in an efficient way); Program management (Realizing benefit, through identifying interdependence of a series of inter-related projects; and Portfolio management (doing the right things for effectiveness). Navigate Project Blocks via 5W+1H:
- Why: the user case to justify logic reasons for project initiative, sponsorship, pros & cons.
- What: The customer requirement collection, the scope, specification of the project.
- How: The implementation phases, the business processes & capabilities to realize it.                       
 - Who: People are still weakest link many times, talent management.
- When/Where: The Road Map, Milestone setting, Metrics, KPIs.







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