Wednesday Aug 06, 2014

Guard Against the Multitasking Brain Drain with OUM

Most people are aware of the perils of multitasking – it is bad for productivity, increases the possibility of distractions, and basically creates a mental traffic jam. It not only wreaks havoc in everyday life but also causes major problems on projects. If you look at OUM you might be thinking, “Hey wait! Isn’t the fact that OUM’s processes run in parallel and that it takes a cross-functional approach really multitasking?” My response to you (to borrow from Lee Corso) is, “Not So Fast, My Friend!”

The answer is directly related to magnitude of the shifts in focus. We know that those broad deviations in requirements and technology require more adjustment and time to switch gears. Human brains are okay with shifting tasks within reasonable limits. On a well managed OUM project, the team is focused on a discrete, prioritized list of functionality and technology. Only a limited number of logically grouped requirements are being worked at a time in order to achieve specific milestones. This means there is a narrow span of scope being addressed at any point in the project, even there may be a wide range of tasks and processes in play.

Extensive detours such as new requirements and major shifts in priorities are the catalysts that can lose the project to the nemesis known as multitasking. Fortunately, OUM has a number of tools to keep the focus and guard against the multitasking brain drain – timeboxes, MoSCoW lists, use cases, and system context diagrams...just to name a few.

What are some tools you use to keep your projects focused? Please share with us in the comments section below!

Monday Jun 16, 2014

OUM Success Story: Multi-Product Implementation for a Leading Travel and Transportation Client

More success! Or in honor of the 2014 World Cup in Brazil we should say: "¡GOL!"  As follow-on to my previous blog entry on the OUM Success Quote, here we have an example of how OUM was used successfully on a highly complex, multi-product project.

Project Profile:  A leading Travel and Transportation Company increased customer satisfaction and streamlined accounting functions through an implementation of Oracle E-Business Suite, Oracle Business Intelligence Applications, and Hyperion Solution. 

Use of OUM provided significant value to the project by providing the framework to establish an Integrated Project Plan: Using the same phasing and terminology on the overall project workplan for the separate E-Business Suite, OBI EE / OBIA, and Hyperion project partitions, enabled the project to leverage an Iterative and Incremental approach while enabling a complete view of the major milestones and touch points between the different partitions.

One aspect of particular significance is that this project utilized the technique of partitioning the project plan so that the work was divided into more manageable pieces. When dealing with large and/or complex projects it is advisable to split the functionality that is targeted to be implemented into smaller bits of effort.  We call these partitions in OUM, but they can also referred to as workstreams, subsystems, pillars, etc..  No matter what they are called, the whole idea is to logically break up the work, while still allowing for a common approach and integration of the tasks at key points in the project.  As you can see, the result on this project was a successful implementation and a very satisfied client.  

Do you have an OUM project success you would like to share?  Please let us know in the comments. 

Thursday May 29, 2014

Success Quote: A Hybrid Approach for Success

We recently received this quote from a project that successfully used OUM: “On our project, we applied a combination of the Oracle Unified Method (OUM) and the client's methodology. The project was organized by OUM's phases and a subset of OUM's processes, tasks, and templates. Using a hybrid of the two methods resulted in an implementation approach that was optimized for the client-specific requirements for this project."

This hybrid approach is an excellent example of using OUM in the flexible and scalable manner in which it was intended. The project team was able to scale OUM to be fit-for-purpose for their given situation. It's great to see how merging what was needed out of OUM with the client’s methodology resulted in an implementation approach that more closely aligned to the business needs.

Successfully scaling OUM is dependent on the needs of the particular project and/or engagement. The key is to use no more than is necessary to satisfy the requirements of the implementation and appropriately address risks. For more information, check out the "Tailoring OUM for Your Project" page, which can be accessed by first clicking on the "OUM should be scaled to fit your implementation" link on the OUM homepage and then drilling into the link on the subsequent page.

Have you used OUM in conjunction with a partner or customer methodology? Please share your experiences with us.

Tuesday May 01, 2012

OUM and PMI's Pulse of the Profession: The Fourth In a Series

Welcome to the fourth blog entry of the series on PMI’s 2012 Pulse of the Profession .  The previous blog entry focused on Key Finding #3: As organizations continue to strive for agility, change management and project risk management will become even more important.   That entry discussed how change management and risk management s are documented in the OUM Manage Focus Area, as well as woven into the fabric of the Envision and Implement Focus Areas.

In this blog entry we will look at PMI’s Key Finding #4: Organizations will renew their focus on talent development as they look to grow and gain competitive advantage in new markets.  This finding shows a continued awareness that as we look at improving the project management maturity and capabilities of an organization, we must take a three pronged approach of people, processes, and tools.  We know that even with the best tools in place to support our projects, it is still just as important to have proven processes, and a well-trained and informed project team. 

Previous blog entries focused on how OUM supports organizational development by providing processes and tools in the form of content, guidance, templates, and samples.  Since we are focusing on the people part of the equation in the form of talent development, I thought this would be a good opportunity to talk about the OUM Training Program.

OUM Training Program

The OUM Training Program helps to ensure that individuals in various roles have the level of delivery knowledge required for them to competently perform their job.  The OUM training program takes an incremental approach in which the courses are arranged in a series of levels.  This approach allows students to build on their knowledge of OUM in manageable increments by progressing from the foundation level courses to those that cover more in-depth material.  You are probably not surprised that we take an iterative and incremental approach to OUM training!

Where to Find OUM Training

Each level of OUM training is available as a self-service, self-paced training course online, except for the Level 3 course which is delivered in the classroom for a fee.  The OUM training can be accessed as follows:

Oracle OPN Partners at the level of Diamond, Platinum or Gold can access the online training through the secure OUM Training Page on Oracle University.

Oracle Customers enrolled in the OUM Customer Program may obtain access to the OUM online training by sending an email to oum-training_us@oracle.com.

Oracle Employees can find the links to the training through the Global Methods internal MyOracle site on the ‘Training’ tab.

Partners and Customers are able to take the Level 3 – Gathering Requirements with OUM course from our partner DevelopMentor.  DevelopMentor has broad training experience and extensive knowledge of the Unified Process, use case practices, and agile development techniques.  For more information and class schedule, please visit their website.

OUM Specialization

We recently launched an OUM Specialization through the Oracle Partner Network.  The OUM Specialization recognizes partner organizations that have proven their extensive understanding of OUM.  Partners who are interested in finding out more about the OUM Specialization can go to the OUM Knowledge Zone on the Oracle Partner Network and click on the ‘Specialize’ tab.

If you have not had an opportunity to take the OUM training, I encourage you to take a look at the various courses and begin your learning with the Level 1 – Overview and Awareness course.  If you have any questions about the OUM Training Program, feel free to email us at oum-training_us@oracle.com.

Stay tuned for the next entry in the series which will address Key Finding #5: Despite tight economic conditions, organizations have been and will continue to increase their focus on benefits realization success metrics.

Friday Sep 02, 2011

It's all down in Black and White.

 

In the BI/EPM View of Oracle Unified Method we introduced the idea of Black and White box Use Cases.

Black-Box Use Case Black-box use cases capture requirements at the level of observable behavior, but do not reveal the internal workings of the business or system. Most use cases are written at the black-box level to maintain the separation between requirements and design. Within this view, black-box use cases are most applicable to development of a custom BI system, but would also apply to the implementation of BI and EPM product-based systems that require custom extensions that support new data entry or reporting requirements.

White-Box Use Case White-box use cases capture requirements that reveal the internal workings of a business or system. White-box use cases detail how the system will satisfy the requirements. White-box use cases are applicable on projects that will implement BI and EPM product-based systems to document requirements regarding changes in the way the product needs to work.

Black-Box versus White-Box

It is important to understand how black-box and white-box use cases are applied to support BI and EPM projects.

Black-box use cases are typically used to capture requirements related to the development of new data entry, display, and reporting mechanisms. This includes new custom data entry and report components or data entry and reporting extensions being made to a BI or EPM product.

White box use cases are used to capture requirements related to the development or customization of internal data extraction, transformation, and loading components. These requirements typically result in the configuration or customization of existing EPM or BI Apps products. When using white-box use cases, remember to keep the use cases at the level of requirements and not to delve into system design.

All clear now?

 

Tony Carpenter

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