An Oracle blog about Unified Method

OUM is Flexible and Scalable

Tony Caselnova
Global Methods Director

Flexible and Scalable

Traditionally, projects have been focused on satisfying the contents of a requirements document or rigorously conforming to an existing set of work products. Often, especially where iterative and incremental techniques have not been employed, these requirements may be inaccurate, the previous deliverables may be flawed, or the business needs may have changed since the start of the project. Fitness for business purpose, derived from the Dynamic Systems Development Method (DSDM) framework, refers to the focus of delivering necessary functionality within a required timebox. The solution can be more rigorously engineered later, if such an approach is acceptable. Our collective experience shows that applying fit-for-purpose criteria, rather than tight adherence to requirements specifications, results in an information system that more closely meets the needs of the business.

In OUM, this principle is extended to refer to the execution of the method processes themselves. Project managers and practitioners are encouraged to scale OUM to be fit-for-purpose for a given situation. It is rarely appropriate to execute every activity within OUM. OUM provides guidance for determining the core set of activities to be executed, the level of detail targeted in those activities and their associated tasks, and the frequency and type of end user deliverables. The project workplan should be developed from this core. The plan should then be scaled up, rather than tailored down, to the level of discipline appropriate to the identified risks and requirements. Even at the task level, models and work products should be completed only to the level of detail required for them to be fit-for-purpose within the current iteration or, at the project level, to suit the business needs of the enterprise and to meet the contractual obligations that govern the project.

OUM provides well defined templates for many of its tasks. Use of these templates is optional as determined by the context of the project. Work products can easily be a model in a repository, a prototype, a checklist, a set of application code, or, in situations where a high degree of agility is warranted, simply the tacit knowledge contained in the brain of an analyst or practitioner. For further reading on agility, see Balancing Agility and Discipline: A guide fro the Perplexed.

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