Avoiding a Leaky Scope Bucket

July 1, 2014

There’s a hole in the bucket, dear Liza, dear Liza,
There’s a hole in the bucket, dear Liza, a hole.
– children’s song, Bergliederbüchlein (c 1700)

In my prior article, I introduced the concept of a scope bucket to explain the concept of project scope to your stakeholders.  In this article, I continue the theme with some tips for managing and delivering the scope in your project scope bucket.

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Open Group Boston 2014

May 28, 2014

We are happy to announce that we will be presenting again at the Open Group Conference, this year in Beantown, July 21-22. We will be presenting in the Health Care track with a colleague, Al Zannini, Director of Architecture and Design at Blue Cross Blue Shield of RI. Al and I will be sharing our journey to re-launch an Enterprise and Solution architecture capability, but more on that later… Read more



A Bucket of Scope

May 13, 2014

An architect relies on a clear understanding of scope.  In prior articles we have discussed the business context diagram, a great tool for establishing solution scope.  We also provided a technique for setting expectations regarding the scope of architecture activities.  In this article, I intend to expand on the importance of understanding (or establishing, if you are in a project lead role) the scope of a project.

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Identify Indirect Stakeholders with System Context Diagrams

April 16, 2014

A Systems Flow consultant has skills that tend to fall in the triangle of technical, business and organizational excellence. One common and repetitive case of project dysfunction where this overlap brings real benefits is that of the “Operational Business Stakeholders Missing from Business Requirements.” Here’s how it usually goes:

  1. Architect is engaged to design project’s solution architecture (using the Investigative Architecture™ method)
  2. He/she is provided business requirements to review and comment on, to ensure they are fit for high-level design
  3. The requirements (hopefully) clearly state the end-user and product/service-centric objectives
  4. But how the end-users and the new/enhanced product or service will be supported operationally is completely missing
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Integration – Send Me a Message

March 31, 2014

I recently had the opportunity to work on a project where we were bringing in a vendor product that required data integration with a number of our client’s in house transaction applications. We needed to determine how the internal applications would integrate with the new product.  I figured the timing was right to build on my prior blog on messaging, and provide some additional guidance. Read more



“Make it Work Like Our Current System” and Other Requirement Pitfalls

March 18, 2014

This is the final article in in the series for implementing “Custom Off The Shelf” (COTS) solutions; a follow up to our Buy vs. Build Your Software  and “Off the Shelf” Implementation Pitfalls articles. In this we want to address requirement approaches that are sometimes proposed, but rarely successful in such an implementation.

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Issue Resolution – Celebrate Your Success

March 3, 2014

This blog is the third in a series of posts designed to help technical leads get over the hurdles that inevitably pop up during any complex implementation; a series that was started by Understanding the Problem and continued in Determining a Solution.

With the course set and the implementation of the recommended solution underway, it’s time to finish strong.  Read more



Issue Resolution – Determining a Solution

February 19, 2014

This blog is the second in a series of posts designed to help technical leads get over the hurdles that inevitably pop up during any complex implementation; a series that was started with Understanding the Problem.

Once the problem is sufficiently understood, it’s time to roll up your sleeves and get down to business. Read more



“Off the Shelf” Software Implementation Pitfalls

February 3, 2014

This is the long-awaiting (or at least long-promised) article on implementing “bought” products; a follow up to our Buy vs. Build Your Software article.  Many large organizations rely heavily on external vendors for large scale software implementations of “Off the Shelf” packages – very frequently modified for competitive advantage and/or to align with internal business processes. These are some common pitfalls to these Custom Off The Shelf (COTS) implementations.

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Think Strategically, Proceed Practically

January 20, 2014

Knowing the strategic solution is only part of the challenge. Let’s assume you are able to establish the “right and just” solution either because your enterprise has well documented target architectures and roadmaps or your solution has a well established “best practice” pattern you can apply.

Take a moment to savor your success, but only a moment! Now let this sobering thought sink in – your awesome design brings zero business value to your organization until it is instantiated and running in production. Zero. No business value at all.

In most cases, designing the strategic solution is the easy part of the challenge. Let’s review the remaining roadblocks between you and providing business value, then discuss the winding path to success.
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