||Sonik's Process & Planning services
follow the Innovation phase. Generally at this stage, the business
vision, objectives and strategy are generally agreed upon, the initiative
has been approved by the management team, and budget has been approved/allocated.
The Process & Planning phase involves the primary activities that
usually comprise a majority of the effort at this stage in the project
lifecycle. Note that, while these services can take place throughout
the project, these components are key at this stage.
Process & Planning services include:
» Project Management
» Business Process Design
» Vendor Selection
» Marketing Planning
The iSDM Project Management framework is generally based on the principles of an
iterative development approach. Furthermore, this approach is essentially founded on
direct experience on larger development and implementation engagements; it is easier to
manage toward success when the project itself is of a manageable size. The iterative process
also allows for easier end-user and stakeholder involvement. Common project management activities
Business Process Design
- Develop Project Charter
The project charter is created and owned by the Project Manager, with input and direction from stakeholder representatives.
Typically, these documents are 20 – 30 pages in length. Components are a typical Sonik SDM Project Charter include:
- Project Organization
- Management Process
- Activities & Schedule (high-level)
- Create / Manage Detailed Workplan
A detailed workplan is first sketched out with the team members, using the high-level activities & schedule
used in the Project Charter as the starting framework. Key inputs include:
- a solid understanding of team member capabilities: project ‘skills inventory’
- required project activities / tasks
- Time-to-Completion (TTC) estimates
- milestones and deliverables timelines that have been requested by client management
- Conduct Status Meetings
Project status meetings are a mandatory component of effective project management. In general, status meetings
are held at regular intervals and are kept to within an hour if at all possible. The main intent of the status
meeting is to keep all team members informed of overall progress and ensure issues are addressed. Status meetings
are generally not intended to be working meetings to resolve specific issues. Two common project meetings
are weekly team status meetings and stakeholder / steering committee meetings.
- Issue Status Reports
Project status reports are distributed to the project team on a scheduled basis. Status reports indicate the
progress to date, and upcoming activities that the team needs to be aware of. Status reports also highlight issues
based on a priority or severity ranking.
- Create / Update Project Team Site (or Directory)
A central project site or directory is created at the outset of the engagement. The purpose of the site is provide
centrally managed storage for all project materials, and allow access to common project materials based on user permissions.
Document version control is another benefit of maintain a central repository. Lastly, the site can be used for communications
among team members.
- Close Project
Project completion is often overlooked. Within the Sonik SDM framework, the Close Project activity is the final main activity
for the Project Manager. A project must meet the following exit criteria to be considered complete:
- all baseline activities have been completed
- all project documentation is complete and published
- formal approval / acceptance of project deliverable has been received from the client (sponsors, stakeholders)
- deliverables have been accepted by next ‘owner’ within organization; this may be another development team, operations team or functional department.
Sonik uses a three-phase approach to model and document business processes.
The Requirement Analysis component is generally based upon the principles
of Joint Application Development (JAD), a requirements analysis technique
considered to be best practice. The Requirements Analysis service
can be applied to either Process or Product requirements. Effective
requirements analysis calls for an individual experienced in group
facilitation, systems analysis, and requirements gathering. The requirements
analyst should understand the languages of both the technical group
and the business end-users.
The SDM Gap Analysis evaluates current ("as-is") to future
("to-be") states, and provides a roadmap for management
based on organization objectives, priorities and constraints. Various
techniques are used in conducting this analysis, including:
» interviews of end-users, customers and stakeholders
» questionnaires / score card evaluations
» application / system inventory audits
Using the documented processes and requirements from previous phases,
new process models are developed that will take advantage of new technologies
and change concepts available. The usual application of process modeling
Document new processes with change concepts that will satisfy future
Analyze implementation requirements for new processes.
Two of the more common techniques used for process modeling are Use
Cases and Swimlane Diagrams.
- Use Cases
This modeling technique illustrates interactions with (and within)
the system from the end-user view. Use Cases show how entities
interact, and are usually presented as structured text or diagrammatically.
This technique allows the business analyst to capture the business
knowledge from the user perspective, and transfer this information
to the programmer analyst.
- Swimlane Diagrams
Swimlane diagrams are effective tools that can map interactions
between actors within a system. More specifically, this SDM diagram
methodology can be used for mapping:
- end-users to required application functions and data
- process owners to required process activities / tasks, and
process activities / tasks of other actors within a system
- process activities / tasks to supporting data sets and systems
Vendor selection is often the least appreciated and understood component
within the development / project lifecycle. Oftentimes, obtaining
an objective evaluation is difficult. The SDM approach requires that
Sonik has no vendor alliances or partnerships, a fundamental requirement
for providing a vendor selection service to our clients.
The RFI process basically involves evaluating vendors of a given product
or service on a common set of basic requirements - architecture, functionality,
estimated cost. Another key factor is the stability of the vendor
- factors such as company financials, market position, and future
growth opportunities must weigh into the evaluation. The RFI process
allows for the creation of a vendor shortlist, which leads to the
The RFP process essentially breaks down the requirements into specific
functional components (required capabilities of the system or service),
maintenance issues, vendor support, underlying technology, and systems
integration requirements. More detailed cost estimates are also sought
at this stage in the vendor selection process. The vendor selection
team conducts an evaluation of the vendor RFP responses based on a
pre-determined scoring grid. The scoring criteria are published in
the RFP and known by all vendor participants. All vendors are notified
of their score and comparative ranking through a follow-up process
that is executed in a consistent manner.
Competitive prototyping sessions/demonstrations are effective tools
to provide the project team and stakeholders a real sense of a vendor's
product or service. These sessions also often lead to a refinement
of requirements that provide a better overall solution. Competitive
prototyping usually takes place once the RFP has been issued, and
the requirements have been largely determined. In its basic form,
competitive prototyping involves the RFP vendors providing a demonstration
of their product / service functionality based on a pre-determined
set of demonstration requirements.
The SDM Marketing Planning service offering encompasses a customer-centered
approach to the market. By understanding the customer, offers can
be created to address the underlying customer needs. This methodology
allows the comparison of various offers to each other and the selection
of the best marketing program in which to invest to obtain the maximal
return. Our focus is on ensuring that the appropriate knowledge transfer
occurs so that the processes are ingrained in the company culture.
Marketing Planning components include:
Customer Segments and Products
» Create Offers
Prioritize and Finalize Offers
» Assess and Measure Campaign
Our client required a Risk Management System to handle credit card
fraud for non face-to-face sales using an IVR system. The functional
specification documents of the current system were incomplete, and
were not consistent from one system to the next.
Using the Swimlane methodology, Sonik was able to identify new process
activities / tasks and decisions, and identify data and systems required
to support the new process flow.
The Swimlane methodology provided the project team members a common
view to the underlying data and systems required to support the process
flow. The team also identified undocumented functionality in the existing
systems, and determined additional data requirements.