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IT Project Portfolio: Technology Fit 4

July 14, 2008

STAGE 4 – TECHNOLOGY ALIGNMENT

After the mockups, the technology team retreats to their development area and designs a system. This is easier said than done, but if it was easy, someone else would have done it already. At each step of the design process, the IT project lead has to ensure the vision, business, program, and service area’s goals and objectives are respected.

The design should include logical and physical architectures, and in a more formal organization you would get architecture sign off and guidance as well.

One area that is usually forgotten at this juncture is the support model. This area requires special care. Many systems are not evaluated thoroughly, and will come back to haunt you in the post-implementation stage.

Work with your user community and your service desk (if you have one) early to get a feel for the non-functional requirements of your proposed solution. Will it need “24×7” support, or is “business hours” support good enough?

Compare the solution to your existing infrastructure. Can you support this new solution? Do you have the capacity, skill and/or resources? This is the time to get those determinations documented and clarified.

Compare your solution to your technology blueprint. Are you duplicating functions you may already have? Is there opportunity to consolidate solutions at the technical layers? An example of this might be the sharing of a Web application server rather than implementing a secondary provider solution.

Once the deliverables are completed, a final workshop is provided for the business unit, so that the IT team can demonstrate the solution. Do yourself a favor and make sure you keep the technical language to a minimum. I have seen too many projects where the technical group is so enamored with their solution they can’t help themselves, and drown the presentation in technicalities. All of sudden the client asks, “What about this or that?” and you can hear a pin drop for the sudden silence.

This is the final opportunity for the client group to get their message across as to what they need and how the solution must look, so be respectful of both the technical team and the business unit. Again, changes here are not serious because you are still refining the solutions.

Once the user area has signed off on the technical design, you can proceed to costing and a final proposed-solution design.

Stage 4 Deliverables

  • Updated customer profiles.

  • Updated use cases.

  • Support model.

  • Mockups.

  • Non-functional requirements definitions.

  • Logical architecture.

  • Physical architecture.

  • Input into the solution outline.

Stage 4 Outcomes

  • Tangible, workable solution architectures.

Stage 4 Duration

  • Two to four week

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