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Getting the Specs Right

10/13/04 | by JAdP | Categories: TIA Life

We're currently working on a project where the business need was years old, and the RFP spec was written four years before getting funding - and was done by a consultant who didn't bother to understand the customer's business.

As a result we're doing a full business process analysis/strategic planning gig on top of the contracted work. And what was specified as a stand-alone app in multiple locations interfacing with a main frame through flat files, has become a full-blown enterprise app with a central Oracle server, Oracle Enterprise Application Server for Wireless and EAI (Open Source Jetstream) to the mainframe app.

It has become a much more exciting project, but a lot more work in the same time frame.

But we're gaining lots of "lessons learned" for the customer, as well as ourselves. &#59;)

The first lesson is a renewed appreciation for how powerful a wiki(flowchart, business process flow chart) can be. For the first time in 30 years, silos of knowledge within the customer's organization are being unified into the "big picture". And the JAD sessions have caused both the business and IT stake-holders to open up and share their knowledge of their piece of the puzzle.

The second lesson has been to combine presentations of the process analysis (current state and future state) with the UI prototyping JAD sessions.

It has been great working with the customer's folk, and their excitement about finally getting a wireless logistics system has made all the extra work worthwhile.

The third lesson? Bad specs make for a lot of extra work. But this isn't really new is it? :))

So, in a relatively short period of time, we're turning out-dated specs based upon a poor understanding of the customer's working day and deprecated wireless standards, into a complete business process model, data flow model, enterprise data model and system architecture... And having a lot of fun doing it. :>>

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I'm Joseph A. di Paolantonio and this blog has two main foci: my interest in food, and my interest in the future. This provides a look into my personal life, and is separate from my consulting work…though there will be overlap. I am an independent researcher, working as a strategic consultant and I'm an executive with over 20 years of commercial experience with a technical interest in the intersection of Internet of Things, with advanced data management and analysis methods. I view data science as a team activity, and I feel that the IoT must be viewed as a system. I am leveraging my past activities to understand the adoption and impact of the IoT; first, as a system engineer in aerospace, where I developed Bayesian risk assessment methods for systems within the Space Transportation System (including the Space Shuttle), Extreme Ultraviolet Explorer, Gravity Probe B, and many more, and second, as a enterprise data warehousing, business intelligence and analytics professional. Between my aerospace and IT careers, I indulged my hobby of cooking by starting a food company, Montara Magic, centered around my chocolate sauces. My education combined chemistry, mathematics and philosophy. I performed research into molten salt fuel cells in graduate school, and in photovoltaic materials for a short time in industry. The lure of bringing the human race into space was strong, and when I was offered the chance to combine my chemistry and mathematics skills to develop new risk assessment and system engineering methods for space launch and propulsion systems – I couldn't resist. I perform independent research and strategic consulting to bring value from the Internet of Things, Sensor Analytics Ecosystems and data science teams.I am a caregiver, a lover of science fiction and speculative fantasy, and my passion to learn has led me to a pilot's license, an assistant instructor in SCUBA, nordic and alpine skiing, sea kayaking, and reading everything I can, in as many topics as I can.

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