The Development and Maintenance Process Development Phase Requirements Elicitation

The first phase deals with the requirements of the users. In the BT case study, the main users are programme managers. It is evaluated which processes of the user group the knowledge system should support. The whole process in which the user group is involved and, if necessary, sub processes and their different phases are analysed in this process. The focus of these analyses are the information requirements in each phase.

The kind of people who take part in those business processes and their roles are studied. For example, the task of a project manager is to write a project requirement document (PRD) at the beginning of each business year. This document serves as the basis for the decision of the programme manager whether the project will be funded or not. If a project is carried out, the project manager has to write a highlight report (HR) each quarter which states up-to-date information on his project. Based on these HRs, the programme manager is able to control the projects he funds.

Hence we know at which steps in the process new knowledge is created (e.g. writing

PRD) and who provides this knowledge (e.g. project manager). The locations of these information sources are documented (e.g. competitor analysis as output of the marketing department which are stored on the Intranet), who this information needs and when (e.g. a programme manager needs competitor analysis when he decides

which projects to fund. At this moment he needs up-to-date information on where BT stands in comparison to competitors). Consequently, the information flows are studied. Both the information sources (e.g. marketing department) and the information drains (e.g. programme manager) are identified. For example, the whole process can be visualised in a sketch like in Figure 7. By analysing the requirements, it is also defined in what situations it is enough to just grant users the access to information documents, and in which cases it is better to bring people together and to arrange a face-to-face communication for knowledge exchange. For example, if a programme manager wants to look up the costs of a project it is enough for him to see the value from a PRD; but if he has encountered problems in a certain project dealing with a new technology, he does not want to read a document explaining the technology. Instead, he wants to find somebody with deep understanding of this technology to consult an expert's opinion on the subject.

If many different needs of employees and multiple business processes have to be supported, it is advisable to set priorities to enable an efficient resource allocation in the following phases of the development process.

The preferences or expectations concerning the structure and layout of presented information is as well documented. For example, a programme manager wants to type in the division code, choose between budget and manpower and expects as a result a list of all projects in the division plus their budget or manpower, and in the final row the sum over all these projects. Another expectation of the programme manager is a list of expert terms classified into several categories visualised as a tree for easier navigation.

The objectives which must be achieved, and therefore the requirements for the technology which must enable these objectives, become clear by this broad proceeding (business process, information sources, information needs of people within a process). It is also specified in this process which objectives are fulfilled by what technology (information system). In the case study, it is specified that the information from PRD and HR documents must be accessible in full detail, and that we want to use rules to make inferences to this information. Therefore, Ontobroker is used for this part. For integrating information on external patents we have decided that it is enough to once classify them according to the programme themes (using the patent classifier) and to make them then accessible via a tree. Providing the programme manager with news is realised with a special application which searches for news articles according to the profile of the user and summarises each article.

For the case study, it was also decided to integrate a conventional search engine into the knowledge portal to offer the programme manager a known tool to search in PRD and HR documents.

As a result, it is specified which development tasks can be performed in parallel in the following implementation phase and how they will be integrated in a homogeneous user interface later. For that reason, different developers can now begin independently with their tasks.

Lean Six Sigma Fishbone Healthcare
Figure 28 - Development Process of the Knowledge Portal, adapted from Staab et al. [2000]
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