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Friday, February 17, 2006
no emails today...
As my email server is having problems, this give me a bit of time to reflect on how and why this project is going the way that it does now.

Previously, system improvement projects are driven by the business, as they will be the ones to be held accountable for the system, and they are the interface to the actual customers. They will get feedback/complaints/requests from the customers and they will see what should be in the business requirements list.

From a IT development standpoint, business would be considered a customer as well.

The business folks would gather the requirements that they hope for in the new version, with prioritization on what features are more important vs others, and this document, known as the business requirements document, would be sent to the IT development folks for their estimation of timelines and resources required.

It's usually the case where IT would have a fixed amount of resources (number of developers, testers) and a fixed schedule (3 months, 6 months etc) and with this defined resources, they would come up with a functional specification doc that kind of list out what are the features that they can provide within that defined timeline.

Obviously not all the features asked for will be in, but the pruning of features process is usually a amicable one, with business folks and IT folks deciding what goes in and what get left out.

In the current project, we have what i labelled as a tripod structure. We have the business folks, the IT development folks, and a new team of folks that kind of represent the voice of the customers.

So what's different then?

The Voice team.. let's think of them like marketers, or salespeople. They were tasked to gather new requirements feedback/complaints/requests from the customers, and they were tasked to promise as much as they can to the customers. Without their efforts, E3 v2 might have already been in place. With their push and grabbing of customers, this department that i'm in is being tasked to support practically the whole company, and headcounts are on the rise to support such a drive. A good thing i would say!

The business team is still the team to manage the systems, and held accountable for its service levels. The most important thing is the reliablity of the system and the consistency of the service levels. Customers will still blame the business team if things screws up. No big difference here.

The IT development team is still the same i guess.

What has changed is instead of the constant communication from 2 teams, there's now 3 teams that do filtered, for one reason or another, communications with the other 2.

So B talks to I about something that V has decided on, but it's something that B has no priorities on, but V has agreed to the customers that it will be done. V committed to some ridiculous service level that I cannot deliver to B to provide such a level of service. And lots of variations of this throughout the project.

This situation causes a lot of churn. A lot of unnecessary meetings, sometimes in a total hostile state, are held with tons of people in them. Why is this so?

Well.. there's a hard-stop deadline (which has slipped), and a ridiculous performance committment that business's subject matter experts weren't aware of, and a malicious political powerplay all made for a project that's jinxed from the start.

Why is there a fight for control of the system? You'd think that it's probably stupid to wrestle for control especially when it doesnt benefit company at
all! Perhaps E3 v1 shocked people too much, and made people realized that jobs are at stake with each decision made. More control == more headcounts == more jobs.
Especially on the other side. As i mentioned above, the business side is getting so much work that we're piling on headcounts like never seen before, perhaps the last that happened was when a new operations centre opened in a region.

The worst thing about the fight for control is that it is not a fair and clean fight. Almost using all 36 tips of war from Sun Tzu, i got to see all kinds of
dirty tricks and manoveours performed. Makes me sick of having to interact with such people.

I'm in constant sessions with my manager on why we should even have this arrangement at all when it benefits no one. Let's see how that goes.
posted by Jonathan at 4:23 PM | Permalink |