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Thursday, March 18, 2010

BA as Innovator

The only way you can survive in today market is by innovating, innovation is not limited to technology and solution, innovation in strategies and business models are also very important, in fact innovation can be performed in any area.

Traditional thinking is that innovation is for creative mind and venture capitalists, I beg to differ, innovation can be performed by anyone and at anytime (in fact every time) in any role they are performing, all you need is the ability to dream.

Innovation is not only about creating new products; innovation is about reinventing business process, venturing into new market and meet untapped customer’s need. Innovation may be high in small size companies, partly because it is the only way to survive against the big companies, but I have seen innovation in large companies too like Google, it all comes down to company culture and how much do they promote innovation.
The first thing which pops in my mind about innovation is iPod, they were not the first player in the market, but they are popular because of the innovation in their business model, simple interface and the online music shop, they added the WOW factor to the MP3 player, they recognized and tapped the customer trend and fashion.

The first step to be innovative is to remove the fear of failure, take risks and embrace failure, don’t spend too much time taking decisions, all the good ideas seems meaningless and impossible initially. Try looking at other industry to get inspiration, there is nothing like bad ideas, there may be ideas which are not feasible but that’s life.

As a BA you are in a perfect environment to be innovative, most of us are responsible to implement an innovative idea but does that mean innovation stops there?, you can use innovation to implement the idea (which include software and process ). Be a bit more social, try and meet BAs from other industry talk to them to find out what they are working on, learn from their success (and their failures).

Try getting in the head of your target audience, try to see what customer sees (or expects) which you have missed, walk a mile with them, feel their pain and frustration, a small change in the way you do things can make a big difference in their life, the moment a customer thinks they are being heard, they will be more open with suggestion and criticism.

These days business are getting global in nature, do not restrict yourself to a particular region, sooner or later you will venture out and you need to think (NOW) about the opportunities you can tap in future. Sometime to be innovative you have to go to the opposite direction from where your industry is going, you'll redefine the rules of the game.

Thank you very much for reading and don’t forget to dream.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Vendor Assessment (Part 3 - Technology and Commercial)

In my previous post I spoke about how to assess vendor on software development criteria, this post I will continue the discussion

  • Is the Software developed as per company hardware requirements?
  • Software developed in accordance to company software requirements?
Coding Standards
  • Coding standards followed based on company coding standards?
Comment in Code
  • Will all classes, functions, procedures be documented ?
  • Will comments be used to describe intentions, algorithmic overviews, and/or logical flows?
  • What code documentation and end user documentation is provided ?
  • Data Model ?
  • Class overview ?
  • Architecture overview ?
Training / Handover
  • Is there a proper procedure for handover and time allotted for training?

Development Cost
  • Is the proposed development cost acceptable?
Delivery time
  • Is the proposed delivery time acceptable?
Support Cost (e.g. training, end user support if required, technical support)
  • Is there any support cost involved?
  • Is there a warranty period suggested?
Maintenance Cost (i.e. bug fixes)
  • Is there any maintenance cost involved?
  • Is there any warranty period suggested?
Terms of Payment
  • Are the Terms of payment proposed agreed by the sponsor?
Penalty / Incentive
  • Is there any penalty proposed if the milestones are not achieved on time?
  • Is there any incentive available to achieve before time?
  • Is the company claiming any ownership on the software developed?
  • Are the any licensing fees involved?
  • Do they intend to use this product for any future development for their clients?
The list goes on, I do not intend to blog every criteria but the list above could be a good start, do not hesitate to contact me with your feedback.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Vendor Assessment (Part 2 - Software Development)

In my previous post I spoke about how to assess vendor on company background criteria, this post I will continue the discussion

Software Development

Project Management
  • Will a proper project manager is assigned to ensure smooth running of the project?
  • Does your company recommended any project management methodology to be used?
Project Status Update
  • Are regular project status update provided? Will it be targeted to shareholder and sponsor?
Development Methodology
  • Are development methodology used is in accordance with your company's development methodology.
  • Is the proposed methodology compatible with methodology used currently within your company?
Regular update and enhancement
  • Are regular update and enhancement in the future if required?
  • What are the milestones, are the proposed milestones acceptable?
Issues/Bug Management
  • Is there a proper process/tools proposed to handle bug and other issues raised during and after QA and UAT process.
  • What is the proposed turnaround time to action/resolve the queries raised by business users? are those time frame acceptable?
SLA (Service Level Agreement)
  • Is the SLA proposed by the development acceptable?
  • Is the functionality in the Requirements document included?
  • If the software is extending current functionality, How will they ensure the current system functionality is retained?
In my next post I will continue talking about technology criteria.