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.

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