Thursday, September 11, 2008

Align Software to Business Goal !!

This article stress on understanding the Business Goal on first opportunity available.

Board Room of Chief Technology Officer (CTO) , Star Hotel, London

There were 3 people in the room discussing the need to improve the existing portal of the Hotel.

CTO: Current portal is really slow. I guess that user like to visit our site but they leave the site before all information loaded to the website.

Product Owner: I am not able to showcase new offers efficiently through current website. I need to take approval from two different groups before I can talk to administrator of the portal to load new offers. 90% of time, the administrator ask me to make changes to offer details due to technical limitation.

Technical Architect: It seems that current portal needs to be replaced by a new one. My team can re-write it using a new technology and develop the software based on new requirements to support your needs.

CTO: I would rather like to re-use the current portal. If you need budget to enhance the existing portal, I am ready to get the budget for that. But I don’t want to invest for building a new portal unless really needed.

Technical Architect: If the problem is only to improve the performance and manage the promotions of new offers, we can solve your problems by refactoring some of the code. But, still we need to re-write some part of functionality to accommodate new requirements.

CTO: I am OK with that. So, we are clear on what we need. I want two of you to work together and come back with estimated cost for this enhancement.

CTO: One more Point ! We recently hired a business analyst to help our team on gathering requirements for new software projects. Do you want to involve him on this now?

Product Owner: Na… as of now, we are not clear on what we need. I will work with technical team to get more clarity on complexity of implementing some of my requirements. We can involve the business analyst later.

The Product Owner and Technical Architect worked on understanding the requirements for a month and gave proposal to CTO.

CTO gets the approval from Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and asks team to start the work.

Now, the team decided to bring the business analyst to enhance the functional requirements.

Question
At this point of time, is it possible for business analyst to align the software development work with business goals?

My Opinion
Yes, the business analyst should still be able to work with the team to come up with a new/modified plan and requirement list which is aligned to the business goals, though if the team would have involved her in the initial stages of discussion, it would have been faster and easier.

Question
What if the business analyst doesn’t question to find out the goals for the business and need for developing the software because she got involved late in the process?

My Opinion
It is a big risk. The software might be technically sound but the investment on software may not improve revenue situation for the company. It may also result into the re-write of the portal very soon in near future.

Conclusion
Understanding the business need for the software is important. No matter when a business analyst starts working on the project, she should always start on project by understanding the business goals that should be fulfilled after development of software.

2 comments:

ShareKhan said...

I agree, Rajiv. We often assume that the project is headed in the right direction from the requirements point of view. Even if we cannot change it, we can highlight where it is going so that those authorized can take corrective action.

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