Project Management & Business Analysis

Using IT to define and drive a programme of change


Project Management

The best way to address business change is to adopt a project approach. That is because a change is a finite process with a start and an end at which there is a clear outcome.

PRINCE2TM is a de facto standard used extensively by the United Kingdom government and widely recognised and used in the private sector, both in the UK and internationally.

The PRINCE2TM is the project management method adopted by Wells Computer Consultants because it provides a framework to manage any project successfully. It is a generic structured method that provides the basis:

  1. To identify the business benefit(s) to be achieved at the project start and then to review and assess, at stages, that the benefit(s) are still achievable and at an acceptable risk and cost.
  2. To provide the right level of control at each level of management from project board through programme manager to project manager.
  3. To plan project stages each with a clear outcome and products.
  4. To identify each required product with an owner and monitor progress towards its completion.
  5. To ensure that everyone knows what to expect, where, how and when within the project team and between the project management team and the rest of the organisation because there are recognised channels for communication.
  6. For dealing with issues and risks to the success of a project and their escalation through the hierarchy based on tolerances.
  7. For setting the quality of the project's products or services that makes them fit for purpose to achieve the required benefits.
  8. For managing changes required that can arise during the course of a project as a result of an issue being identified or a risk materialising.

Business Analysis / Systems Analysis

The final objective of Business Analysis is to specify functionality and data requirements that will support the most effective business process.

In other words what the computer system must provide and be capable of doing to support the business in the achievement of its business goals in the most effective way.

Only when this specification has been prepared is any business ready to either pass this to its technical team for design and development or to put it out to tender for a third party solution.

At WCCL we believe that at all stages of a project leading to specification the documentation must be set out in business terms and in sufficient detail and consistency that there is no ambiguity that may lead to assumptions being made by a technician.

SSADM (Structured Systems Analysis and Design Method) is a method that has been developed by the United Kingdom government and is also used widely in the private sector. It takes the best of many other methods and brings them together to provide detailed and consistent documentation that can be understood by both business leaders and technicians.

SSADM is unique in modelling three views of a required system. It introduces different methods for checking consistency and completeness across all three views of a system. If, as a result of those checks, there are missing elements or inconsistencies across the views then further analysis is required to correct the error.

The Benefits of SSADM are:

  1. That a specification is comprehensive and it ensures that the system built will be of a high quality.
  2. That because checks for consistency and completeness are applied at an early stage the cost of rectifying this type of error once the system is in the design and development stage is reduced.
  3. That splitting the project into stages and steps, each with clear products and outcomes, makes SSADM an ideal candidate for managing a project using PRINCE2TM project management method.
  4. That the detailed specifications produced provide an excellent basis for assessing all tenders from third parties to build the system.
  5. That the impact of changes in business requirements can be assessed simply at a business logic level initially before resource is expended on an investigation of the impact on the physical design.
  6. That the testing of the system is simplified because the detail scenarios for testing the system against business process are already specified.
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