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Technical Skills for Service Delivery May 14, 2008

Posted by Coolguy in Service Delivery.
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There are some of the technical skills needed for successful service delivery role.

  • Experience with multiple SDLC models
  • Understanding of IT Infrastructure and Knowledge of Networking concepts
  • Hands-on experience in multiple stages of software development
    • Experience and certifications in Project Management and frameworks (PRINCE2, PMP)
    • Development experience across range of projects/platforms and technologies
    • Business analysis experience
    • Understanding of Software design, architecture and estimation
  • Practical knowledge of IT Standards. Six Sigma, COBiT
  • IT Security concepts

Metrics Management May 12, 2008

Posted by Coolguy in Service Delivery, Six Sigma.
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Benchmarking and analysis of KPI’s against best practices is critical to the success of any internal service delivery organization. Almost every other organization has some sort of KPI’s of some sort in place to measure and monitor performance. Metrics management is also key skills to successful Solution Delivery role.

Six Sigma advocates three levels of metrics: business level metrics, operations level metrics and process metrics. Some of the metrics Six Sigma suggests are here.

Business Level Metrics

These metrics are typically financial and operational summaries for shareholders and management. Balanced scorecards is widely used for business level metrics. IT can be viewed either as a cost center or a profit center in companies. Based on this financial management for solution delivery is responsible for:

  • Estimating costs of projects accurately working with vendors, where necessary
  • Costs of providing services and undertaking projects fall withing approved budgets
  • Tracking expenses against allocated budgets
  • Helping Senior Management understand the total cost of completing an initiative
  • Plan IT costs for maintaining and improving ongoing services
  • Charge back IT investments to business units, where applicable

Operations Level Metrics

These relate to cost, time and resource to produce products and maintain services. Examples specific to IT include:

  • Resource utilization metrics
  • SLA Metrics
  • Capacity Metrics
  • Availably Metrics
  • Service Continuity Metrics

Process Metrics

These are detailed metrics form process level. Examples include

  • Agility in responding to a change
  • Reduce total released defects, Total Containment Effectiveness (TCE)
  • Fix defects closer to origin, Phase Containment Effectiveness (PCE)
  • Compare implementations within company, Function Point Defects per KLOC
  • Benchmark with other companies, Six Sigma that tracks Defects per Million Opportunities (DPMO)


Scope management May 12, 2008

Posted by Coolguy in PMP, Project Management, Service Delivery.
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Inputs Project scope management is one of the key knowledge areas addressed by PMP. Its also a key skills for successful solution delivery.

Key Stakeholders involved in the scoping activities include:

  • Project Sponsor / Executive
  • Business Process Owner and SME for business area
  • IT Management supporting this business area

Project Scope Management of PMP includes processes to ensure that all and only the work required by the project is done on any project. The key processes for this area in PMP are:

  1. Scope Planning
  2. Scope Definition
  3. Creating Work Breakdown Structure / Product Breakdown Structure
  4. Scope Verification
  5. Scope Control

Scope Planning

Elaborate ,formal and time consuming scope planning activities are often necessary for critical projects. Decisions on scope are typically documented in a scope management plan. This plan contains information on:

  • How the project scope will be defined
  • Define a WBS from Project Scope
  • How the scope will be verified
  • How the scope will be kept in control

Scope Definition

Scope definition and decomposition involve the activities to size the proposed project so that estimates can be made of costs, resources requirements and project duration. This phase builds on the initial Project Scope statement. Assumptions, constraints on the project are elaborated in this phase. Dependencies of the project are identified and documented. The output of this phase is a Project Scope Document which typically has:

  • Business objectives and high level requirements
  • Strategic alignment describing how the initiative fits with organizational direction or mission.
  • Project Description: Characteristics of the product/service being developed.
  • Project Objectives : Key success criteria which include time/cost constraints, quality targets etc. Each objective can have a metric like dollars for cost.
  • Project Boundaries: Including context diagrams to provide a visual model of the scope of the project
  • Project Deliverables
  • Initial constraints, assumptions, dependencies and risks
  • Project team organization
  • Important Project Milestones
  • Initial cost and time estimates
  • Project Configuration management details

Creating a WBS/PBS

Work Breakdown Structure (WBS), is a decomposition of work that is required to complete a project to accomplish the business objectives. It is typically deliverable-oriented and hierarchical in nature. The WBS describes the total scope of the project work to be performed. A Product Breakdown Structure (PBS)
is a decomposition of the components of the product. The PBS describes the total scope of the product or service to be delivered.

Creation of a WBS(or PBS) is the next step after completion of a Project Scope Document. In this phase deliverables are divided into manageable components of work until deliverables until they are defined into a work package level. Cost and schedule should be reliably estimated from work packages.

A WBS dictionary can be created to support the WBS.

Scope Verification

This phase involves obtaining stakeholders formal approval to the completed project scope.

Scope control

This is to assure that all changes to the scope are processed through established change control processes. Scope changes can be

  • Request for new items to be added in projects scope
  • Request to modify deliverables
  • Removal of deliverables from project scope. (de-scoping)

Solution Delivery April 30, 2008

Posted by Coolguy in IT Career, Service Delivery.
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3 comments

Solution Delivery is high level management function which leverages people, processes and technologies to ensure successful project/product delivery.

Key skills required to succeed in a Delivery Management role are:

  1. Collaboratively working on end-to-end solutions
  2. Client relationship,satisfaction and value management
  3. Communication management
  4. Quality management
  5. Scope and expectation management
  6. Vendor and procurement management
  7. Time and cost management
  8. Process Management
  9. Risk management
  10. Metrics management
  11. Leadership
  12. Taking initiative
  13. Strategic thinking
  14. Innovation skills
  15. Technical experience
  16. Web experience (if relevant for the role)
  17. People management

Here is a good article on the skills sets.

Profit Centers vs. Cost Centers September 12, 2005

Posted by Coolguy in Service Delivery.
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  • In business, an operating unit is either making money or it’s detracting from a company’s profits. In simple terms, it’s the difference between a profit center and a cost center.
  • Conceptually, a business unit is considered a profit center when “it’s set up as a small business — it has its own revenue and profit targets,”
  • On the flip side, a company unit such as the human resources department doesn’t earn revenue or turn a profit. Its objective is to hire, train and support the company’s employees, and there’s a cost to the company to run the unit. As such, human resources is typically viewed as a cost center.
  • IT departments traditionally were set up as cost centers. An IT organization would charge back costs to a business unit. For example, IT would charge a commercial loan division of a bank for monthly transaction processing costs or mainframe use costs. But it wouldn’t bring in a profit because the division would be charged at cost. In some cases, those costs may be absorbed by the company or as part of a business unit’s overhead.
  • If an IT department is a cost center, “the rest of the business views you as a burden”
  • However, it’s common for IT organizations to be set up as cost centers in highly-regulated industries, such as financial services or electric utilities, “to show regulators where the costs are” by charging IT costs to individual business units
  • Other companies, such as The Hartford Financial Services Group in Hartford, Conn., have elected to set up their IT organizations as profit centers with a goal of generating zero profit
  • Some CIOs think their IT departments should remain cost centers. “Our core competency [in IT] is to help our company build aircraft structures, not to code [enterprise resource planning] systems, so I could not see us as a profit center”

Solution Delivery Methodologies September 7, 2005

Posted by Coolguy in Service Delivery.
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Methodology A:

  • Phase based, milestone-driven and iterative mode
  • Adoption of this methodology will streamline the delivery of the solution and reduce schedule and budget risks to the project.
  • Every release of the application should go through a project lifecycle, a process that includes all activities in the development cycle that take place up to the release.
  • The main function of a lifecycle model is to establish the order in which a
    project specifies, implements, tests, and performs its activities.
  • This will help streamline the project and help ensure that each step moves the customer closer toward the goal.

Envisioning

  • Envisioning is the initial phase of a project life cycle.
  • It implies the beginning steps required to identify, launch, and manage a new technology engagement.
  • The concepts presented in this phase are the first steps necessary to producing a successful project.
  • Envisioning is fundamental to the success because it sets the base upon which team members will build a shared vision.
  • The purpose of envisioning is to get an early understanding of the project goals and constraints.
  • The envisioning phase will answer feasibility questions, gain approval from the customer’s stakeholders, and acquire a common set of expectations from everyone involved.
  • The outcome of envisioning sets the stage for the more detailed planning effort that will come later by beginning to define the scope of the project or each release.
  • Envisioning Phase Deliverables
    • Business Requirements Document
    • Scope Document
    • Risk Mitigation Plan
    • Project Plan
    • Project Work Plan
    • Project Quality Plan
  • Tasks /Activities
    • Identify User Requirements
    • Integrate Performance Support Requirements
    • Recover Current Application Design
    • Identify Quality Requirements
  • Milestones
    • Major
    • Scope approved
    • Interim
    • Core team formed
    • Scope document written
    • Risk mitigation plan written
    • Project plan created

Solution Planning

  • The work in the Solution Planning Phase begins with the definition of functional and technical requirements and performance targets that lead to activities that address the design and integration of the elements defined in the Scope document.
  • The overall design process is iterative; teams will continuously revisit
    their designs in order to resolve integration issues and tune the overall capability to meet all business, functional, and technical requirements.
  • The information gathered during this phase focuses on building out the detailed requirements and design as defined by the business requirements outlined in the Scope document created during the Envisioning Phase.
  • Tasks /Activities
    • Update Scope document (as needed)
    • Update Risk Mitigation plan with any new risks
    • Update Project Plan for those activities that will take place during the
    Developing Phase
  • Deliverables
    • Functional Specification
    • Design Specification
    • Updated Scope Document
    • Updated Risk Mitigation Plan
    • Updated Project Plan
    • Project Work Plan
    • Project Quality Plan
    • Development Architecture
  • Tasks /Activities
    • Design Development Architecture
    • Design Operations Architecture
    • Design Run-Time Architecture
    • Design User Interface
    • Design Application Architecture
    • Design Application Interfaces
    • Design Database
  • Milestones
    • Major
    • Design Complete
    • Interim
    • Logical Design Complete
    • Physical Design Complete

Developing

  • An approved functional specification and associated project plan provide the baseline for focused development to begin.
  • The development team sets a number of interim delivery milestones, each of which involves a full test/debug/fix cycle.
  • Deliverables
    • Updated Functional Specification
    • Updated Risk Mitigation Plan
    • Source Code and Executables
    • Test Plans – Unit Testing, Integration Testing, System Testing, And
    Acceptance Testing
    • Unit and Integration Test Cases, Conditions, and Results
    • Updated Project Plan
  • Tasks /Activities
    • Develop and Unit Test User Interfaces
    • Develop and Unit Test Application
    • Develop and Unit Test Interfaces
    • Create System and Acceptance Test Plans
    • Develop Database
    • Perform Integration Testing of Application and Interfaces

Stabilizing

  • Testing activities are performed concurrently with code development.
  • During the stabilizing phase these activities take center stage, as bug finding and fixing become the primary focus.
  • Here the focus of testing shifts from coverage testing (which measures
    whether individual pieces or features of the application work) to usage testing (which measures whether the application as a whole woks as intended).
  • Deliverables
    • System Test and Acceptance Test Conditions, Cases, and Results
    • Project Documentation
  • Tasks /Activities
    • Perform System Testing
    • Perform Acceptance Testing
    • Deploy Application
  • Milestones
    • Major
    • Release
    • Interim
    • Core Technology Deployed
    • Deployment Complete