Monday Mar 11, 2013

OUM’s Oracle Support Services Supplemental Guide – What’s in it for you?

As highlighted in this previous post, the Oracle® Unified Method (OUM) includes supplemental guides to provide product, technology, and business area specific guidance, which complement and expand on the general guidance found in OUM’s baseline method materials.

There are a number of Supplemental Guides currently available in OUM covering a variety of areas from Commercial Off-the-Shelf (COTS) Application Implementations to WebCenter.  Because they provide targeted guidance, most supplemental guides are applicable only to projects that include the subject area being addressed in that guide.  However, there is one supplemental guide, which is applicable to virtually all projects – the Oracle Support Services Supplemental Guide.

The Oracle Support Services Supplemental Guide provides OUM practitioners, and Oracle customers alike, with the guidance needed to effectively manage and support the lifecycle of Oracle environments during an implementation and after go-live.

So, what’s in this guide for you?  Well, in a word, plenty.  Like all of OUM’s supplemental guides, the Oracle Support Services Supplemental Guide is comprised of several sections, including:

  • Oracle Support Services Lifecycle Management Strategy Overview
  • Oracle Support Services Lifecycle Management Methodology Mapping
  • Supplemental Task Guidelines for Lifecycle Management of the My Oracle Support Services Portal, and
  • Supplemental Task Guidelines for IT Change Management


The Oracle Support Services Lifecycle Management Strategy Overview section describes the lifecycle management strategy along with an overview of the Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) Service Lifecycle upon which it is based. 

The Oracle Support Services Lifecycle Management Methodology Mapping provides a mapping between the OUM and ITIL lifecycle management methodologies.  This mapping should be used to gain an understanding of the relationship between OUM and ITIL, as well as how to leverage the value of the ITIL best practices to achieve excellence in the lifecycle management of any Oracle investment.

The Supplemental Task Guidelines for Lifecycle Management of the My Oracle Support Services Portal should be used in conjunction with the standard OUM task guidelines to supplement baseline guidance for affected tasks when planning and implementing the processes, policies and procedures used for lifecycle management of the My Oracle Support Services portal.  This section contains very helpful guidance regarding the recommended configuration of client environments, and establishment of best practices, to take full advantage of the My Oracle Support Services portal.

The Supplemental Task Guidelines for IT Change Management likewise should be used in conjunction with the standard OUM task guidelines to supplement baseline guidance for affected tasks when planning and implementing the processes, policies and procedures used for implementing changes in Oracle environments.

Accessing the Oracle Support Services Supplemental Guide is fast and easy.  A link to the guide can be found in the Key Components area of nearly all Implement Focus Area Views – look for it in the “Other Supplemental Guidance” section in the middle of the screen.  Alternatively, you can access it by selecting the “Supplemental Guidance” option in the Method Navigation drop down menu from any OUM page.  On the Supplemental Guidance page you’ll find it listed in the table of Supplemental Guides, which are listed in alphabetical order.

Take the time to check it out and revisit with each new release, since new sections are being added over time.  I think you’ll find the information very helpful!

Wednesday Jan 30, 2013

A Method Store – Supplemental Guidance (Understanding the Structure of OUM)

My last blog in this series on understanding the structure of OUM discusses supplemental guidance.  This is the final section of the OUM Repository “store” that you need to consider.

Going back to our grocery store comparison, the grocery store contains additional specialty items.  These items complement the groceries.  You don’t always need these items, but sometimes they come in handy.  These items might include sections for gourmet or hard to find groceries, a book section with cookbooks or a section with small kitchen appliances and utensils.  While you don’t need these items all the time, different items may be useful for different recipes or occasions.

OUM has supplemental guidance that complements the base method materials.  This is additional supplemental inventory that might be useful for your project.  Just as you narrowed down the base method materials based on your type of project, you can also narrow down the supplemental guidance based on your type of project.

If you have decided to use a particular view, applicable supplemental guidance can be found in the Key Components section at the top of the view.  The first column contains view-specific supplemental guidance.  For example, if your project is a Requirements-Driven Application Implementation, this view includes links to the Application Implementation Overview and Supplemental Guide.  

Additional supplemental guidance is found in the second column of the Key Components.  This can be anything from additional supplemental guides, such as Oracle Support Services, to additional resource links.  The last link in this column is to the OUM Supplemental Guidance page that provides an Index to ALL supplemental guidance in OUM

The final column in the Key Components section of the view is to method resources.  This includes the OUM Project Workplan, Key Work Products and the OUM mappings.

Review the resources found in the Key Components section of your selected view or go straight to the Supplemental Guidance page from the Method Navigation pull-down menu of any view in OUM and see what additional guidance is available in OUM and if it is useful for your current project.

Monday Jan 28, 2013

A Method Store – Views (Understanding the Structure of OUM)

This is the fourth blog in a series of blogs on the structure of OUM.  In the previous blogs, I compared the OUM repository to a grocery store or a store with method materials with three main departments (focus areas); Manage, Envision and Implement and each of these having sections for phases, processes, activities and tasks.

So now you have your project and you know you don’t need to use everything in OUM but with all this material, where do you start?

Start with a view, or a pre-populated shopping list that provides access to the method materials (or inventory) for a particular type of project, for example, Application Implementation, Software Upgrade, etc.  The OUM views have been determined with the help of experienced subject matter experts (SMEs).

Views can be selected from the OUM Home page using the Select a View pull-down menu.  Alternatively, you can use the Resources button on the Home page to go to the Resources page and from there open the View Catalog.  The View Catalog describes each of the views supported in the current release of OUM.

Each view is organized similarly to the original focus area views.  If applicable, there will be Guidelines sections for each focus area that allow you to access the phases and processes.  At the bottom will be a filtered list of Tasks and Work Products.

Start with the view that most closely matches your project and then tailor it for your project requirements.  You can even start with the OUM Implement Core Workflow and add additional method components based on your project requirements.

My next and last blog in this series will discuss OUM Supplemental Guidance.

Friday Jan 25, 2013

A Method Store – Base Materials (Understanding the Structure of OUM)

Once again, building on my previous blogs where I compared the OUM repository to a grocery store or basically a store with method materials with three main sections (focus areas); Manage, Envision and Implement.

Each focus area is organized similarly.  Within each focus area of the OUM repository, there are sections (or departments) for phases, processes, activities and tasks.

Phase guidance is found in the Phase Overviews.  Phases are a chronological grouping of tasks.  In OUM, services are delivered by phase in order to reduce project risk.  Each phase allows a checkpoint against project goals, and measurement against quality criteria.  Phases are temporal groupings, that is, they are bound by time.  They cut vertically through project activities and provide natural points for establishing project milestones for progress checkpoints.

Process guidance is found in the Process Overviews.  A process is a discipline or subproject that defines a set of tasks related by subject matter, required skills and common dependencies.  A process usually spans several phases.

Activity guidance is found in the Activity Overviews.  An Activity is a set of tasks related either by topic, dependencies, data, common skills/roles, or work products. The tasks in an activity may come from different processes.  Activities in OUM begin and end in the same method phase.  Activities are spread within the project phases according to the time and ordering where they logically occur during the life of the project.

Task guidance is found in the Task Overviews.  A task is a unit of work that is done as part of a project and results in a new or revised work product.  A task is the smallest traceable item on a project workplan, and forms the basis for a work breakdown structure.  A work product is simply the output of a task.  Many OUM tasks have work product templates.

Once again go to the Select a View menu on the OUM Home page and select “Full Method and Focus Areas”.  From this page, choose the focus view.  Once in any of the focus area view pages, expand the Guidelines window or choose it from the Current Page Navigation menu.  From within this window, you can access the focus area phases and processes.  You can access the tasks and their associated work products by expanding the appropriate Tasks and Work Products sections at the bottom of each focus area view.

Okay now that you know how the base method materials are organized in the OUM repository, my next blog will discuss the OUM views, or your pre-populated shopping lists.

Friday Jan 18, 2013

A Method Store - Focus Areas (Understanding the Structure of OUM)

If you remember my previous blog entry, I compared the OUM repository to a grocery store, that is, a store with method materials.  Just as the grocery store is organized into sections or departments, the OUM repository is segmented into three main sections or focus areas; Manage, Envision and Implement.  

Each of these focus areas has its own view.  From the OUM Home page, use the Select a View menu to go to the Full Method and Focus Areas page.  From there choose the focus area view.

The focus areas provide the framework for all the other method materials. Specifically, the Manage focus area provides the framework for program and project management.  The Envision focus area provides the framework for enterprise-level planning and the Implement focus area provides the framework for project implementation.  In OUM, focus area guidance is found in the Focus Area Overviews.

So, if you are making your shopping list for your project, ask yourself the following questions:
  • Do I need project management for my project?  In most cases, you always need project management and therefore, should consider the Manage focus area.
  • Is my project an enterprise-level planning project?  If so, consider the Envision focus area.
  • Am I implementing a COTS product, or doing a BI/EPM, WebCenter or custom project?  If so, consider the Implement focus area.
Once you know what focus area(s) you need, use the Select a View menu on the OUM Home page and select “Full Method and Focus Areas”.  From this page, choose the focus view.  Once in the view page, you can access the method materials available within each focus area, which is the topic for my next blog.

Thursday Jan 17, 2013

A Method Store (Understanding the Structure of OUM) - Introduction

This blog entry is the first in a series of blog entries to assist you in understanding the structure of the Oracle Unified Method.

The Oracle Unified Method (OUM) is a repository of information that can be used to support the entire enterprise IT lifecycle, including support for the successful implementation of every Oracle product.

Think of OUM as a grocery store filled with inventory (method materials) that can be used to implement your project.  When you shop, you never select everything in the grocery store.  You pick and choose what inventory is appropriate based on your grocery needs.  The same is true for the OUM repository.  You pick and choose the method materials appropriate for your project

When you shop at the grocery store, you have some idea of the inventory and how it is organized.  Even if you have never been in a grocery store, you know that the inventory is organized by sections or departments, such as, a bakery, and departments for meat, produce, dairy, canned goods, etc.  

The OUM repository or “store” contains a comprehensive set of method materials to support your projects.  These materials are organized as well.  The OUM inventory is organized by focus areas, phases, processes, activities, tasks, and work products.

Last, when you shop at the grocery store, you usually have a shopping list of what you need.  This list is based on experience, habit and planning.  

OUM has views, or pre-populated shopping lists that provide access to the method materials (or inventory) for particular types of projects, for example, Application Implementations, Software Upgrades, etc.

Now that we have been briefly introduced to the OUM repository and what it contains, my next few blogs will discuss how the OUM repository or “store” is organized.

Thursday Jan 10, 2013

OUM Manage - The Key to Marital Bliss

During a recent blog on “Applying the Iterative and Incremental Principle”, a follower commented that the waterfall approach was responsible for the demise of his marriage.  He mused that his marriage may have had a chance if he had followed an iterative and incremental approach!

Although this exchange was meant to be amusing, it prompted me to think about the similarity between a conventional marriage and the “marriage” that occurs when an OUM project is initiated.   Without getting into a political debate on the definition of marriage, for the purpose of this blog, let’s consider an OUM Implementation a type of marriage entered into by the Project Manager and the Project Sponsor for the term specified in the contract or Statement of Work (SOW). 

What makes a one marriage successful while another fails?  If you ask five people this question, you would likely receive five different answers based on their unique experience, but I speculate the answers would fall into similar themes:

  • Communication
  • Trust
  • Ability to manage expectations

In OUM Manage, one of the first activities that occur during the Project Startup phase involves the Project Manager and the client (Project Sponsor) jointly creating the Project Management Framework.  This framework establishes the ground rules for the project and is the first step in communicating, establishing trust, and setting expectations.

The key focus for the remainder of the Project Startup Phase is to evolve the Project Management Framework into a detailed Project Management Plan based on the agreed upon foundation.   In prior versions of OUM Manage, the equivalent work product was named the “Terms of Reference”.  Literally, this was the work product referenced to sort out problems when future misunderstandings occurred.   

The PMP establishes, early on, what needs to be done, who should do it, and how it will get done.  Issues and problems are anticipated and resolution approaches are agreed to in advance.  Once the PMP details the who, what, and how, the plan is monitored and updated as the relationship matures and the parties have a better understanding of what works and does not work in their relationship. 

Specifically, the PMP addresses Work Management, Financial Management, Communications Plan, Risk Management, Issue Management, Problem Management, Staff Management, Procurement Management, Infrastructure Management, Quality Management, Organizational Change Management Strategy and more!  I am not a marriage therapist, but I can clearly see the advantage to sitting down and agreeing to these areas early on, and of refining as the relationship grows.   Clearly, the Project Management Plan or PMP is a critical success factor for marital bliss! 

If you think about the positive affect that creating a PMP equivalent would have on a conventional marriage, you should appreciate the value of creating a PMP for every project to increase its chance of success.  Think about the potential issues (risks) that can be mitigated by having a candid discussion on the approach to finances (need I say more?), work responsibilities (who cooks? Who cleans?), staffing (housekeeper or no housekeeper?), Risks (in-laws next door), and Organizational Change Management (kids!) and so on.  If these areas are not discussed until there is a conflict, without a clear approach to how to deal with the potential conflict, the likelihood that trust will erode and the relationship deteriorate increases.

For anyone contemplating marriage – whether conventional or in the project sense, I strongly advice that you emulate OUM Manage and create an equivalent to the Project Management Framework when you are engaged, and that you detail this framework during your engagement -- prior to the nuptials!  If this is done, then you should have much more confidence in the success of the union!

Tuesday Jan 08, 2013

What's New in OUM 5.6: Updated Manage Homepage

Have you seen the updated Manage Focus Area homepage in the latest release of OUM?  If you have downloaded the recently released OUM 5.6, you may have noticed the Manage homepage was redesigned so that the primary navigation is now by activity, rather than by process as in prior releases. This was done based on feedback from our global PM community that they prefer to view and manage their projects at the activity level. The new activity diagram navigation allows a PM to see the major blocks of work that must be accomplished by phase. This enhancement provides a flexible checklist and high-level perspective preferred by many OUM project management practitioners.

If you still want to navigate through Manage via the process view (aka the Whale Diagram), you still can. Go to the bottom of the ‘Select a View’ list from the OUM homepage and select ‘Full Method and Focus Areas’. On this page, you can then select the both the primary Manage view or the Manage Process view.

Haven’t downloaded OUM 5.6 yet? Check out the official announcement for more information about how you can download the method pack and start taking advantage of the updates in OUM 5.6. In the meantime, your comments and feedback are very welcome.

Tuesday Dec 18, 2012

Oracle Unified Method (OUM) Release 5.6


Oracle’s Full Lifecycle Method
for Deploying Oracle-Based Business Solutions

About | Release | Access | Previous Announcements


Oracle is evolving the Oracle® Unified Method (OUM) to achieve the vision of supporting the entire Enterprise IT Lifecycle, including support for the successful implementation of every Oracle product. OUM replaces Legacy Methods, such as AIM Advantage, AIM for Business Flows, EMM Advantage, PeopleSoft's Compass, and Siebel's Results Roadmap.

OUM provides an implementation approach that is rapid, broadly adaptive, and business-focused. OUM includes a comprehensive project and program management framework and materials to support Oracle's growing focus on enterprise-level IT strategy, architecture, and governance.


OUM release 5.6 provides support for Application Implementation, Cloud Application Implementation, and Software Upgrade projects as well as the complete range of technology projects including Business Intelligence (BI) and Enterprise Performance Management (EPM), Enterprise Security, WebCenter, Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA), Application Integration Architecture (AIA), Business Process Management (BPM), Enterprise Integration, and Custom Software. Detailed techniques and tool guidance are provided, including a supplemental guide related to Oracle Tutor and UPK.

This release features:

  • Business Process Management (BPM) Project Engineering Supplemental Guide
  • Cloud Roadmap View and Supplemental Guide
  • Enterprise Security View and Supplemental Guide
  • Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA) Governance Implementation Supplemental Guide
  • "Tailoring OUM for Your Project" White Paper
  • OUM Microsoft Project Workplan Template and User's Guide
  • Mappings: OUM to J.D. Edwards OneMethodology, OUM Roles to Task
  • Techniques: Determining Number of Iterations, Managing an OUM Project using Scrum
  • Templates: Scrum Workplan (WM.010), Siebel CRM
  • Enhanced / Updated:
    • Manage Focus Area reorganized by Activities for all Views
    • Oracle Architecture Development Process (OADP) View updated for OADP v3.0
    • Oracle Support Services Supplemental Guide expanded to include guidance related to IT Change Management
    • Oracle User Productivity Kit Professional (UPK Pro) and Tutor Supplemental Guide expanded guidance for UPK Pro
    • Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA) Application Integration Architecture (AIA) Supplemental Guide updated for SOA Tactical Project Delivery View
    • Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA) Tactical Project Delivery View expanded to include additional tasks
    • Siebel CRM Supplemental Guide expanded task guidance and added select Siebel-specific OUM templates
    • WebCenter View and Supplemental Guide updated for WebCenter Portal and Content Management

For a comprehensive list of features and enhancements, refer to the "What's New" page of the Method Pack.

Upcoming releases will provide expanded support for Oracle's Enterprise Application suites including product-suite specific materials and guidance for tailoring OUM to support various engagement types.


Oracle Customers

Oracle customers may obtain copies of the method for their internal use – including guidelines, templates, and tailored work breakdown structure – by contracting with Oracle for a consulting engagement of two weeks or longer and meeting some additional minimum criteria. Customers, who have a signed consulting contract with Oracle and meet the engagement qualification criteria, are permitted to download the current release of OUM for their perpetual use. They may also obtain subsequent releases published during a renewable, three-year access period. Training courses are also available to these customers. Contact your local Oracle Sales Representative about enrolling in the OUM Customer Program.

Oracle PartnerNetwork (OPN) Diamond, Platinum, and Gold Partners

OPN Diamond, Platinum, and Gold Partners are able to access the OUM method pack, training courses, and collateral from the OPN Portal at no additional cost:

  • Go to the OPN Portal at
  • Select the "Partners (Login Required)" tab.
  • Login.
  • Select the "Engage with Oracle" tab.
  • From the Engage with Oracle page, locate the "Applications" heading.
  • From the Applications heading, locate and select the "Oracle Unified Method" link.
  • From the Oracle Unified Method Knowledge Zone, select the "Implement" tab.
  • From the Implement tab, select the "Tools and Resources" link.
  • Locate and select the "Oracle Unified Method (OUM)" link.

Previous Announcements

Thursday Dec 13, 2012

Do You Know How OUM defines the four, basic types of business system testing performed on a project? Why not test your knowledge?

Testing is perhaps the most important process in the Oracle® Unified Method (OUM). That makes it all the more important for practitioners to have a common understanding of the various types of functional testing referenced in the method, and to use the proper terminology when communicating with each other about testing activities.

OUM identifies four basic types of functional testing, which is sometimes referred to as business system testing.  The basic functional testing types referenced by OUM include:

  1. Unit Testing
  2. Integration Testing
  3. System Testing, and
  4.  Systems Integration Testing

See if you can match the following definitions with the appropriate type above?

A.  This type of functional testing is focused on verifying that interfaces/integration between the system being implemented (i.e. System under Discussion (SuD)) and external systems functions as expected.

B.     This type of functional testing is performed for custom software components only, is typically performed by the developer of the custom software, and is focused on verifying that the several custom components developed to satisfy a given requirement (e.g. screen, program, report, etc.) interact with one another as designed.

C.  This type of functional testing is focused on verifying that the functionality within the system being implemented (i.e. System under Discussion (SuD)), functions as expected.  This includes out-of-the -box functionality delivered with Commercial Off-The-Shelf (COTS) applications, as well as, any custom components developed to address gaps in functionality. 

D.  This type of functional testing is performed for custom software components only, is typically performed by the developer of the custom software, and is focused on verifying that the individual custom components developed to satisfy a given requirement  (e.g. screen, program, report, etc.) functions as designed.


Check your answers below:

  1. (D)
  2. (B)
  3. (C)
  4. (A)

If you matched all of the functional testing types to their definitions correctly, then congratulations!  If not, you can find more information in the Testing Process Overview and Testing Task Overviews in the OUM Method Pack.

Wednesday Dec 05, 2012

Finding "Stuff" In OUM


One of the first questions people asked when they start using the Oracle Unified Method (OUM) is “how do I find X ?”

Well of course no one is really looking for “X”!! but typically an OUM user might know the Task ID, or part of the Task Name, or maybe they just want to find out if there is any content within OUM that is related to a couple of keys words they have in their mind.

Here are three quick tips I give people:

1. Open up one of the OUM Views, then click “Expand All”, and then use your Browser’s search function to locate a key Word.

For example, Google Chrome or Internet Explorer: <CTRL> F, then type in a key Word, i.e. Architecture

This is fast and easy option to use, but it only searches the current OUM page

2. Use the PDF view of OUM

Open up one of the OUM Views, and then click the PDF View button located at the top of the View. Depending on your Browser’s settings, the PDF file will either open up in a new Window, or be saved to your local machine. In either case, once the PDF file is open, you can use the built in PDF search commands to search for key words across a large portion of the OUM Method Pack.

This is great option for searching the entire Full Method View of OUM, including linked HTML pages, however the search will not included linked Documents, i.e. Word, Excel.

3.  <!--[endif]-->Use your operating systems file index to search for key words

This is my favorite option, and one I use virtually every day. I happen to use Windows Search, but you could also use Google Desktop Search, of Finder on a MAC.

All you need to do (on a Windows machine) is to make sure your local OUM folder structure is included in the Windows Index. Go to Control Panel, select Indexing Options, and ensure your OUM folder is included in the Index, i.e. C:/METHOD/OM40/OUM_5.6

Once your OUM folders are indexed, just open up Windows Search (or Google Desktop Search) and type in your key worlds, i.e. Unit Testing

The reason I use this option the most is because the Search will take place across the entire content of the Indexed folders, included linked files.

Happy searching!






The Workshop Technique Handbook

The #OUM method pack contains a plethora of information, but if you browse through the activities and tasks contained in OUM, you will see very few references to workshops.  Consequently, I am often asked whether OUM supports a workshop-type approach. 

In general, OUM does not prescribe the manner in which tasks should be conducted, as many factors such as culture, availability of resources, potential travel cost of attendees, can influence whether a workshop is appropriate in a given situation.  Although workshops are not typically called out in OUM, OUM encourages the project manager to group the OUM tasks in a way that makes sense for the project.

OUM considers a workshop to be a technique that can be applied to any OUM task or group of tasks.  If a workshop is conducted, it is important to identify the OUM tasks that are executed during the workshop.  For example, a “Requirements Gathering Workshop” is quite likely to Gathering Business Requirements, Gathering Solution Requirements and perhaps Specifying Key Structure Definitions.

Not only is a workshop approach to conducting the OUM tasks perfectly acceptable, OUM provides in-depth guidance on how to maximize the value of your workshops.  I strongly encourage you to read the “Workshop Techniques Handbook” included in the OUM Manage Focus Area under Method Resources.

The Workshop Techniques Handbook provides valuable information on a variety of workshop approaches and discusses the circumstances in which each type of workshop is most affective.  Furthermore, it provides detailed information on how to structure a workshops and tips on facilitating the workshop. You will find guidance on some popular workshop techniques such as brainstorming, setting objectives, prioritizing and other more specialized techniques such as Value Chain Analysis, SWOT analysis, the Delphi Technique and much more.

Workshops can and should be applied to any type of OUM project, whether that project falls within the Envision, Manage or Implementation focus areas.  If you typically employ workshops to gather information, walk through a business process, develop a roadmap or validate your understanding with the client, by all means continue utilizing them to conduct the OUM tasks during your project, but first take the time to review the Workshop Techniques Handbook to refresh your knowledge and hone your skills. 

Tuesday Dec 04, 2012

Finding Tools Guidance in OUM

OUM is not tool – specific. However, it does include tool guidance.  Tool guidance in OUM includes:

  • a mention of a tool that could be used to complete a specific task(s)
  • templates created with a specific tool
  • example work products in a specific tool
  • links to tool resources
  • Tool Supplemental Guides

So how do you find all this helpful tool information?

Start at the lowest level first – the Task Overview.  Even though the task overviews are written tool-agnostic, they sometimes mention suggestions, or examples of a tool that might be used to complete the task. 

More specific tool information can be found in the Task Overview, Templates and Tools section.  In some cases, the tool used to create the template (for example, Microsoft Word, Powerpoint, Project and Visio) is useful.

The Templates and Tools section also provides more specific tool guidance, such as links to:

White Papers


Example Work Products

Additional Resources

Tool Supplemental Guides

If you’re more interested in seeing what tools might be helpful in general for your project or to see if there is any tool guidance for a specific tool that your project is committed to using, go to the Supplemental Guidance page in OUM.  This page is available from the Method Navigation pull down located in the header of almost every OUM page.

When you open the Supplemental Guidance page, the first thing you see is a table index of everything that is included on the page.  At the top of the right column are all the Tool Supplemental Guides available in OUM.  Use the index to navigate to any of the guides.

Next in the right column is Discipline/Industry/View Resources and Samples.  Use the index to navigate to any of these topics and see what’s available and more specifically, if there is any tool guidance available.  For example, if you navigate to the Cloud Resources, you will find a link to the IT Strategies from Oracle page that provides information for Cloud Practitioner Guides, Cloud Reference Architectures and Cloud White Papers, including the Cloud Candidate Selection Tool and Cloud Computing Maturity Model.

The section for Method Tool and Technique Cross References can take you to the Task to Tool Cross Reference.  This page provides a task listing with possible helpful tools and links to more information regarding the tools.  By no means is this tool guidance all inclusive.  You can use other tools not mentioned in OUM to complete an OUM task.

The Method Tool and Technique Cross References can also take you to the various Technique pages (Index and Cross References).  While techniques are not necessarily “tools,” they can certainly provide valuable assistance in completing tasks.

In the Other Resources section of the Supplemental Guidance page, you find links to the viewlets and white papers that are included within OUM.

Wednesday Nov 21, 2012

When should I use a Process Model versus a Use Case?

This Blog entry is a follow on to and addresses a question I sometimes get asked…..i.e. “when I am gathering requirements on a Project, should I use a Process Modeling approach, or should I use a Use Case approach?”

Not surprisingly, the short answer is “it depends”!

Let’s take a scenario where you are working on a Sales Force Automation project. We’ll call the process that is being implemented “Lead-to-Order”.

I would typically think of this type of project as being “Process Centric”. In other words, the focus will be on orchestrating a series of human and system related tasks that ultimately deliver value to the business in a cost effective way. Put in even simpler terms……implement an automated pre-sales system.

For this type of (Process Centric) project, requirements would typically be gathered through a series of Workshops where the focal point will be on creating, or confirming, the Future-State (To-Be) business process. If pre-defined “best-practice” business process models exist, then of course they could and should be used during the Workshops, but even in their absence, the focus of the Workshops will be to define the optimum series of Tasks, their connections, sequence, and dependencies that will ultimately reflect a business process that meets the needs of the business.

Now let’s take another scenario. Assume you are working on a Content Management project that involves automating the creation and management of content for User Manuals, Web Sites, Social Media publications etc. Would you call this type of project “Process Centric”?.......well you could, but it might also fall into the category of complex configuration, plus some custom extensions to a standard software application (COTS).

For this type of project it would certainly be worth considering using a Use Case approach in order to 1) understand the requirements, and 2) to capture the functional requirements of the custom extensions.

At this point you might be asking “why couldn't I use a Process Modeling approach for my Content Management project?” Well, of course you could, but you just need to think about which approach is the most effective. Start by analyzing the types of Tasks that will eventually be automated by the system, for example:


Best Suited To?


Task Name


Process Model


Use Case




Manage outbound calls





A series of linked human and system tasks for calling and following up with prospects

Manage content revision




Updating the content on a website

Update User Preferences




Updating a users display preferences

Assign Lead




Reviewing a lead, then assigning it to a sales person

Convert Lead to Quote




Updating the status of a lead, and then converting it to a sales order


As you can see, it’s not an exact science, and either approach is viable for the Tasks listed above.

However, where you have a series of interconnected Tasks or Activities, than when combined, deliver value to the business, then that would be a good indicator to lead with a Process Modeling approach. Another good indicator, is when the majority of the Tasks or Activities are available from within the standard COTS application.

On the other hand, when the Tasks or Activities in question are more isolated, tend not to cross traditional departmental boundaries, or involve very complex configuration or custom development work, then a Use Case approach should be considered

Now let’s take one final scenario…..

As you captured the To-Be Process flows for the Sales Force automation project, you discover a “Gap” in terms of what the client requires, and what the standard COTS application can provide. Let’s assume that the only way forward is to develop a Custom Extension. This would now be a perfect opportunity to document the functional requirements (behind the Gap) using a Use Case approach. After all, we will be developing some new software, and one of the most effective ways to begin the Software Development Lifecycle is to follow a Use Case approach.

As always, your comments are most welcome.




Saturday Nov 03, 2012

The Birth of a Method - Where did OUM come from?

It seemed fitting to start this blog entry with the OUM vision statement.

The vision for the Oracle® Unified Method (OUM) is to support the entire Enterprise IT lifecycle, including support for the successful implementation of every Oracle product. 

Well, it’s that time of year again; we just finished testing and packaging OUM 5.6.  It will be released for general availability to qualifying customers and partners this month.  Because of this, I’ve been reflecting back on how the birth of Oracle’s Unified method - OUM came about.

As the Release Director of OUM, I’ve been honored to package every method release.  No, maybe you’d say it’s not so special.  Of course, anyone can use packaging software to create an .exe file.  But to me, it is pretty special, because so many people work together to make each release come about.  The rich content that results is what makes OUM’s history worth talking about.  

To me, professionally speaking, working on OUM, well it’s been “a labor of love”.  My youngest child was just 8 years old when OUM was born, and she’s now in High School!  Watching her grow and change has been fascinating, if you ask her, she’s grown up hearing about OUM.  My son would often walk into my home office and ask “How is OUM today, Mom?”  I am one of many people that take care of OUM, and have watched the method “mature” over these last 6 years.  Maybe that makes me a "Method Mom" (someone in one of my classes last year actually said this outloud) but there are so many others who collaborate and care about OUM Development.

I’ve thought about writing this blog entry for a long time just to reflect on how far the Method has come. Each release, as I prepare the OUM Contributors list, I see how many people’s experience and ideas it has taken to create this wealth of knowledge, process and task guidance as well as templates and examples.  If you’re wondering how many people, just go into OUM select the resources button on the top of most pages of the method, and on that resources page click the ABOUT link.

So now back to my nostalgic moment as I finished release 5.6 packaging.  I reflected back, on all the things that happened that cause OUM to become not just a dream but to actually come to fruition.  Here are some key conditions that make it possible for each release of the method:

  • A vision to have one method instead of many methods, thereby focusing on deeper, richer content
  • People within Oracle’s consulting Organization  willing to contribute to OUM providing Subject Matter Experts who are willing to write down and share what they know.
  • Oracle’s continued acquisition of software companies, the need to assimilate high quality existing materials from these companies
  • The need to bring together people from very different backgrounds and provide a common language to support Oracle Product implementations that often involve multiple product families

What came first, and then what was the strategy?

Initially OUM 4.0 was based on Oracle’s J2EE Custom Development Method (JCDM), it was a good “backbone”  (work breakdown structure) it was Unified Process based, and had good content around UML as well as custom software development.  But it needed to be extended in order to achieve the OUM Vision.

What happened after that was to take in the “best of the best”, the legacy and acquired methods were scheduled for assimilation into OUM, one release after another.  We incrementally built OUM.  We didn’t want to lose any of the expertise that was reflected in AIM (Oracle’s legacy Application Implementation Method), Compass (People Soft’s Application implementation method) and so many more.

When was OUM born?

OUM 4.1 published April 30, 2006.  This release allowed Oracles Advanced Technology groups to begin the very first implementations of Fusion Middleware.  In the early days of the Method we would prepare several releases a year.  Our iterative release development cycle began and continues to be refined with each Method release.  Now we typically see one major release each year.

The OUM release development cycle is not unlike many Oracle Implementation projects in that we need to gather requirements, prioritize, prepare the content, test package and then go production.  Typically we develop an OUM release MoSCoW (must have, should have, could have, and won’t have) right after the prior release goes out.   These are the high level requirements.  We break the timeframe into increments, frequent checkpoints that help us assess the content and progress is measured through frequent checkpoints.  We work as a team to prioritize what should be done in each increment. Yes, the team provides the estimates for what can be done within a particular increment.  We sometimes have Method Development workshops (physically or virtually) to accelerate content development on a particular subject area, that is where the best content results. As the written content nears the final stages, it goes through edit and evaluation through peer reviews, and then moves into the release staging environment.  Then content freeze and testing of the method pack take place.  This iterative cycle is run using the OUM artifacts that make sense “fit for purpose”, project plans, MoSCoW lists, Test plans are just a few of the OUM work products we use on a Method Release project.

In 2007 OUM 4.3, 4.4 and 4.5 were published.  With the release of 4.5 our Custom BI Method (Data Warehouse Method FastTrack) was assimilated into OUM.  These early releases helped us align Oracle’s Unified method with other industry standards

Then in 2008 we made significant changes to the OUM “Backbone” to support Applications Implementation projects with that went to the OUM 5.0 release.  Now things started to get really interesting.  Next we had some major developments in the Envision focus area in the area of Enterprise Architecture.  We acquired some really great content from the former BEA, Liquid Enterprise Method (LEM) along with some SMEs who were willing to work at bringing this content into OUM.  The Service Oriented Architecture content in OUM is extensive and can help support the successful implementation of Fusion Middleware, as well as Fusion Applications.

Of course we’ve developed a wealth of OUM training materials that work also helps to improve the method content.  It is one thing to write “how to”, and quite another to be able to teach people how to use the materials to improve the success of their projects.  I’ve learned so much by teaching people how to use OUM.

What's next?

So here toward the end of 2012, what’s in store in OUM 5.6, well, I’m sure you won’t be surprised the answer is Cloud Computing.   More details to come in the next couple of weeks! 

The best part of being involved in the development of OUM is to see how many people have “adopted” OUM over these six years, Clients, Partners, and Oracle Consultants.  The content just gets better with each release.  

I’d love to hear your comments on how OUM has evolved, and ideas for new content you’d like to see in the upcoming releases.


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