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New Post 9/25/2011 1:45 AM
User is offline fizz
16 posts
9th Level Poster


Advice needed - approach to a research project 

 I would appreciate some help from the experts here.

 
I've been tasked with evaluating a fundamental change in one of our largest enterprise applications. The change revolves around modifying the heirarchy of departments and the allocation of cost centres to them. At present, each department is allocated to one cost centre and is therefore a one to one relationship, which is limiting and now considered impractical. Before we make a system wide change (not just to the core enterprise application, but all associated sub-systems that communicate with it), to allow multiple cost centres to be assigned to each department (therefore creating one to many relationships), I need to evaluate the impact of such an undertaken.
 
Therefore, my long term objective is to analyse, study and make conclusive recommendations on the impact of this change. However in about 2 weeks, I am expected to share with the stakeholders my approach i.e. how will I go about conducting this research/analysis from start to finish. I have a rough idea of what steps I will follow and perhaps even which tools to use, but need to be more precise in terms of what I will do. If any one here can share their ideas and thoughts, it would greatly help.
 
New Post 10/9/2011 1:12 AM
User is offline fizz
16 posts
9th Level Poster


Re: Advice needed - approach to a research project 

 So after numerous discussions and some research, I've come up with the following simple research. Please let me know if any one has any thoughts on it. I plan to share it with stakeholders later this week:

Objective:

At present ‘Cost Centre’ is the lowest unit at which cost related information can be stored. The Business Group has identified a need to allow costing to be done at a level lower than Cost Centre (sub cost centre) without affecting the hierarchy above.

Approach to follow:

1 – Identify key people and create a focus group that represents cross functional interests of this endeavor. This may include Project Sponsors, Business Users Impacted and even the Vendor if needed.

2 – Agree with the above focus group on the objectives and scope of the impact analysis and what is expected to come out of it as findings and also the boundaries of the task (in-scope, out of scope etc).

3 – Use the focus group to learn the background behind why setting the unit of an organization to the cost centre is a problem or a limitation, the process behind how this is done currently and possibly also how fixing this will lead to improvements.

4 – If there is a business imperative behind the initiative, determine the time frame by which this change is expected to occur.

5 – Determine the data architecture of the core system currently being used to define cost centre’s and other organization types and use it to determine existing data linkages from the core system to other tools or systems that make use of this information.

 
New Post 10/9/2011 1:59 PM
User is offline Tony Markos
493 posts
5th Level Poster


Re: Advice needed - approach to a research project 

Hi:

Get Agile, don't get fancy:   Create and verify  a Context Diagram as soon as possible.  Until you do this, you can not do anything else seriously.    Meet with people both individually or in a group, but do not spend alot of time trying to decide which way to go.

You will not be able to create a context diagram in a pure top down fashion - nobody has that knowledge.  So creat some lower level dfd's and summarize up to a context diagram.  Put the pencil to paper and do not be afraid of the numerous misunderstandings of the As-Is that you will make.

Tony

 

 

 

 
New Post 10/20/2011 5:19 AM
User is offline fizz
16 posts
9th Level Poster


Re: Advice needed - approach to a research project 

 Tony, thanks for your reply.

 
Our organization (to which I'm very new) has not embraced Agile just yet. They are stuck in doing things by way of CMMi so my approach has to align to this while being unique to the task at hand. Creation of a context diagram sounds like good advice, however, the approach has to be a little more detailed in terms of the steps I will take - I don't have to do anything just yet - only specify the series of steps I intend to take. Unfortunately, the customer for this requirement is related to the core business, they are not from within IT, therefore, my talking context diagram, or any other diagram may baffle them. Same goes for DFD's etc, talking about them in the approach document itself is being too specific to IT. This is the business asking me as a BA - what will be my approach to their problem, not give us the results of your approach right now. Anyway, the meeting with the business has still not occured and has been constantly delayed (at their end).
 
I will be presenting my approach finally (as listed above, with little or no change since the last post) early next week. If anyone can add more to this discussion, it would be highly appreciated.
 
New Post 10/24/2011 9:57 PM
User is offline fizz
16 posts
9th Level Poster


Re: Advice needed - approach to a research project 

 Just a quick, short update. I was able to present the above mentioned approach and it was acceptable to the business. We have now officially started on the project.

 
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