Sunday, December 17, 2006

A few points of early phases for a very-large project

"Very-large" means it covers the whole company that has over 5 billion revenue (I choose 5 billion, because companies over this size usually have some characteristics of being "big").

1. When you have a very large project, you have to think about outsourcing as the first option.

2. Regardless outsourcing or not, discovery and documentation of business workflows or/and business use cases must be the major activities for a long time (3 months to half a year), without doing anything else – the first round of this is a strict waterfall, and it does not need to be very technical.

However, in the beginning, it is very important that business people have help from IT so that they know how to do business workflow and business use case analysis. It is absolutely not that case that business people “just know” how to do the analysis.

3. If outsourcing, then, you need to evaluate venders’ architecture; if not outsourcing, you need to design and simultaneously prototype your own architecture.

Note that it is necessary to evaluate venders’ architecture. Just evaluating itemized business use cases does not cut it. Yes, inductive thinking is still important; but strong deductive thinking is equally important at this phase. This means at this phase, you need very-technical people in the team even you prepare to outsource it; otherwise, prepare for disasters that will happen when it is too late.

My key point here is phase 3. In almost every very-large project I have been through (more than 7, so, it has some statistical meaning), this phase is the most difficult one, because it requires a lot of power transferring from business oriented non-technical team to technical people. It requires a lot of trust: especially considering the context that when you need a very-large project, it almost always means that the current system is not working anymore. So, that trust is really a leap of faith.

2 Comments:

Blogger Vikas said...

"This means at this phase, you need very-technical people in the team even you prepare to outsource it"

Excellent Point. I have seen mega-disasters when it was not done.

12/23/2006 05:09:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I like it a lot! Very nicely done. :-)..!
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