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 May 08, 2012

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

Welcome to the fifth (and final) blog entry of the series on PMI’s 2012 Pulse of the Profession .  The previous blog entry focused on Key Finding #4: Organizations will renew their focus on talent development as they look to grow and gain competitive advantage in new markets.  That entry highlighted how the OUM Training Program prepares project team members in various roles to be effective on an OUM project.

In this blog entry we will look at PMI’s Key Finding #5: Despite tight economic conditions, organizations have been and will continue to increase their focus on benefits realization success metrics.  PMI’s research shows project/program managers must maintain a focus on the strategic objectives of the project.  Anyone who has been on a project knows it is not easy to keep the big picture in mind when we are caught up in our day-to-day tasks.  So in this blog entry we will take a look at some of the key elements in OUM that help keep projects aligned with the organization’s strategic goals.

Whenever we talk strategy in OUM we turn our attention to the Envision Focus Area.  The development and maintenance of enterprise level IT strategy, architecture, and governance done in Envision helps to ensure IT delivery is in alignment with the organization’s strategy.  Ideally, every enterprise should be executing the processes in Envision or similar processes. 

I am going to get on my soapbox at this point and say, because the processes in Envision provide the glue between the business and IT strategies, true benefits realization will be very difficult (or nearly impossible)to achieve without an Envision or similar engagement.  We discussed in the first blog entry of this series how Envision helps ensure projects will align with an organization’s objectives by providing the processes to support effective portfolio management.   We know that organizations who focus only at the project level will wind up with a collection of stovepipe projects that have limited ability to address the organization’s strategic needs or provide return on investment.  We also know that project teams starting out without an enterprise IT strategy and architecture, or the appropriate IT governance in place will often find it necessary to gather enough information to establish the project’s objectives, scope, and estimates for the solution.  This can cause significant project delays and possibly lead to costly re-work. 

In order to understand the connection between the artifacts produced in the Envision Focus Area and how they relate directly to the tasks in the Implement Focus Area, project teams should be aware of the Envision Touch Points found in the OUM Method Overview page.  These touch points are potential prerequisites from Envision work products to Implement tasks.  As we know, an Envision engagement does not always precede an Implement engagement and, therefore, these touch points are not always available to the project as artifacts.  The project team must then determine the degree to which the Envision tasks should be executed to generate the necessary information to proceed.

The project manager should also look to the Envision artifacts when establishing the project structure to make sure the project is set up to achieve the expected benefits of the project.  During the Project Start Up phase of the OUM Manage Focus Area, resources are allocated to achieve specific objectives, satisfy needs, and set expectations through a planned and organized approach.   The project manager should start with the enterprise IT strategy and governance when formulating this approach, and then document the approach as part of the Project Management Framework (the precursor to the Project Management Plan).

As you can tell, I am a big fan of Envision.  I put a great deal of value in this focus area of OUM because I have seen so many projects that benefited by having a view of the big picture.  But, if you disagree with my assessment of how important enterprise-level work is to benefits realization, please let me know in the comments section.  For some really good advice on the role of an Oracle Enterprise Architect and how they can benefit a project, check out a blog entry written by my colleague called “When to Call an Oracle Enterprise Architect”.

This wraps up the series on PMI’s 2012 Pulse of the Profession.  I hope you enjoyed reading these entries as much as I did writing them.  It’s been a great opportunity to demonstrate how OUM is in-tune with leading industry trends.  The series has generated quite a bit of inspiration for future blog entries. So please keep watching this blog, as well as our LinkedIn Group and Twitter for OUM information, tips, and techniques.  If you have a suggestion for a future blog entry or have a question, you can reach us at ominfo_us@oracle.com.

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.

Tuesday Apr 24, 2012

OUM and PMI's Pulse of the Profession: The Third in a Series

Welcome to the third blog entry of the series on PMI’s 2012 Pulse of the Profession .  The previous blog entry focused on Key Finding #2: The desire for organizational agility will also lead to increased use of iterative and/or incremental project management methods such as agile and extreme.   That entry discussed how agile methodologies, such as OUM, help to enable agility because they are designed to significantly reduce project risk and deliver value much earlier in the lifecycle than traditional waterfall methodologies.

In this blog entry we will jump into a look at PMI’s Key Finding #3:  As organizations continue to strive for agility, change management and project risk management will become even more important.  It is apparent from the survey results that even with a move to more agile approaches, project management fundamentals are still important in managing a project to a successful conclusion.   In OUM, both change management and risk management are specifically addressed from the perspective of the project manager’s role in the Manage Focus Area.  Since change management and risk management are vital to the success of a project, the concepts are also intertwined into many of the principles and guidance in the in the Implement and Envision Focus Areas.

First up is a look at change management, which is a key aspect of agile methodologies like OUM, because such methodologies recognize the reality that requirements will evolve throughout the life cycle of a software project.  This does not mean the project should succumb to project killers like scope creep or gold plating.  It does mean that the necessary change management controls need to be in place that so we can be proactive in identifying potential changes, analyzing the impact of the change , and determining the appropriate trade-offs and alternatives. 

In OUM, the change management controls and procedures are established in Project Start Up (the first phase of the Manage Focus Area) as part of the [SM] Scope Management process.  This means the scope change management procedures for the project are established early in the project lifecycle.  These procedures then serve as the basis for responding to possible scope changes throughout the life of the project.

The heart of OUM, as with any agile method, is the iterative and incremental approach.  The iterative and incremental approach helps to allow scope changes to be proactively managed because it breaks the development cycle into shorter durations and allows for more frequent customer feedback.  Potential changes are identified early on in the development cycle, when there is still time and budget to make corrections.  When potential changes are identified, the project manager and team can be proactive in following the scope change management procedures established in Project Start Up to evaluate and deal with the scope change.

Risk management is also inherent in the iterative and incremental approach.  We talk about OUM being risk-focused because a key goal of each iteration is to identify and reduce the most significant project risks.  This helps ensure that the project team addresses the most critical risks as early as possible in the project lifecycle.

Risk management in OUM can start at the enterprise level in the [ER] Envision Roadmap process in Envision.  This process contains the ER.120 – Identify and Mitigate Future State Risks task in which possible technology and business risks related to the future state are identified. This may be a list of identified architectural improvement options or a list of candidate projects identified to realize the future state.  Also as part of this task, a recommendation for each risk is developed which provides for a future state that represents the lowest risk path to a lower cost infrastructure that improves the ability of IT to support the key business and technical requirements. 

Risk management for a given project starts during Project Start Up in the [RKM] Risk Management process.  In the beginning of the project, the project manager is responsible for documenting, gaining agreement on, and communicating a structured Risk Management Plan as well as developing a Risk Management System for identifying, documenting and mitigating project risks throughout the lifecycle of the project.  The list of risks developed during the Envision Roadmap can serve as a starting point for identifying the risks specific to the project.

During the project lifecycle, OUM recommends first starting to work on the most complex requirements or use cases, or those use cases that are the least well defined, or by creating prototypes to find out if specific technical solutions are feasible.  As the project progresses, each iteration should be planned and executed to reduce and/or eliminate specific project risks.  In this manner, the project’s overall risk will be systematically drawn down to zero by the end of the project.

There have been numerous studies and stories in the recent press that show that a lack of change management and/or risk management is a major factor in project failure.  Therefore, both change management and risk management guidance is documented in the Manage Focus Area, as well as being woven into the fabric of the Envision and Implement Focus Areas.   Also, the OUM Level 3 Gathering Requirements course contains in-depth coverage of scope definition and risk management from an OUM perspective.

Stay tuned for the next entry in the series which will address Key Finding #4: Organizations will renew their focus on talent development as they look to grow and gain competitive advantage in new markets.    In the meantime, you may want to look at the Project Management in OUM and Tips for Project Managers documents, which contain practical tips and advice on using OUM from experienced project managers.  Both of these documents are found in the References section of the Manage Focus Area. 

Tuesday Apr 17, 2012

OUM and PMI's Pulse of the Profession: Second in a Series

Welcome to the second of the series on PMI’s 2012 Pulse of the Profession .  The previous blog entry focused on Key Finding #1: Tight economic conditions will continue to force the issue of strong project portfolio management.   We saw how project portfolio management is supported in OUM by the Envision and Manage Focus Areas.   In this blog entry we will take a look at PMI’s Key Finding #2: The desire for organizational agility will also lead to increased use of iterative and/or incremental project management methods such as agile and extreme. 

The first thing we need to do is define “organizational agility”.  If you do a search on the term, you come up with a wide variety of definitions which essentially boil down to this: the ability an organization to recognize changes (whether they be threats or opportunities), and respond to these changes in a timely, cost-effective, and appropriate manner.  Notice there are two parts to the definition:  part one is the ability to recognize the need for change; the other part is being effective in the response to the change.

If an organization as a whole is striving to be agile, it makes sense that their IT organization must also be agile. In many cases the IT organization not only supports the overall organization’s agility, but drives it by introducing enabling tools and technologies.  On the other hand, IT can also inhibit an organization’s ability to be agile by being late to deliver IT solutions, slow to react to change, and/or not being in tune with the business’s changing requirements.

Agile methods, like OUM, help to enable IT and organizational agility because they are designed to significantly reduce project risk, and deliver value much earlier in the lifecycle than traditional waterfall methods.  The time it takes to get working software into users hands can be accelerated by releasing important features first, and pushing off the lower priority items to later releases.  This in turn, provides a rapid improvement of an organization’s capabilities and/or competitive position.  Agile methodologies also encourage regular involvement by business stakeholders, which helps ensure the IT solutions match the organization’s objectives.

As PMI indicates in Key Finding #2, iterative and incremental development is at the heart of any agile methodology.  OUM recognizes the advantages of an iterative and incremental approach to development and deployment of information systems.  Any of the tasks within OUM may be iterated. Tasks may be iterated to increase quality of the work products to a desired level, to add sufficient level of detail, or to refine and expand the work products on the basis of user feedback.

In addition to having an agile iterative and incremental development approach, OUM also:

Is flexible and scalable – OUM is designed to support a broad range of project types. As such, it must be flexible and scalable. The appropriate point of balance for a given project will vary based on a number of project risk and scale factors. The method has been developed with the intent that the approach for a given project be “built up” from a core set of activities to implement an appropriate level of discipline, rather than tailored down.

Allows for frequent customer interaction and feedback – OUM encourages regular sessions with stakeholders to review and confirm priorities, and ensure the project continues to meet the overall objectives.  Through several prototyping and testing tasks, business stakeholders are given the opportunity to review the development work completed to that point, and provide feedback in time to catch missed requirements and/or possible errors.

Employs a layered planning approach – OUM recognizes that plans need to be scalable for different project sizes and complexity, and contain the right level of detail for the current planning horizon.  The layered approach to planning an OUM project allows project teams to take an agile approach to their immediate project tasks, while keeping a focus on the major milestones, controls, and objectives of the project. 

Encourages the use of an empowered team – OUM encourages cross-functional and technical team training and knowledge sharing.  In addition, the use of OUM’s common language and visual models (use cases and business process models) throughout the project helps ensure the development team and other project stakeholders are on the same page, which promotes team communication and collaborative decision making.

Integrates testing throughout the development lifecycle – Testing in OUM starts early in the project, and developed components are integrated and tested as an integrated set as soon as possible. This allows for early discovery of errors that eventually reduces the risk of project delays that often are caused by heightened error detection at the end of the project.

Promotes an architecture-centric approach –  People will sometimes question whether spending time and energy on architecture is compatible with an agile approach.  The answer is that a robust architecture is crucial to the project’s success since it is the blueprint upon which requirements are transformed into a working system.   Poor architecture decisions can result in software that is not stable, is unable to support business requirements, could require substantial re-work, may not accommodate future development, or could even prevent the application from working properly in a production environment.  Nothing about poor architecture sounds too agile, does it?

I could go on for a while about OUM’s agile underpinnings; the bottom line is that OUM supports all kinds of projects – from the very lean and adaptable, to those that require more rigor and discipline.  If you want to find out more about how OUM can be applied in an agile manner, check out the Scrum guidance which includes the “Managing an OUM Project Using Scrum” whitepaper, User Story Task and Template, Product Backlog and Sprint Backlog Templates, and Scrum to OUM Mapping.  For information on OUM’s layered approach to project planning, the “Planning a Project Using OUM” whitepaper contains guidance on OUM’s layered approach to project planning.  The OUM Read Me First is a valuable reference if you want to become familiar with the method’s philosophy, key concepts, and principles.  Finally, if you have not already done so I recommend reading an excellent blog entry written by my colleague called Build Up or Tailor Down.

Stay tuned for the next blog entry in the series when we will explore PMI’s Key Finding #3:  As organizations continue to strive for agility, change management and project risk management will become even more important.

Thursday Jan 12, 2012

The Project Management Plan (PMP) in OUM - Creation and Evolution

According to the Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide) — Fourth Edition, the Project Management Plan is defined as a formal, approved document that defines how the project is executed, monitored and controlled.  In OUM, the Project Management Plan (better known as the PMP) defines the overall project management strategies and approaches applied to the project.  Since the PMP is considered to be the most important artifact created by the project manager, it is important to understand how the PMP is created and evolved in OUM.

Creation

The creation of the PMP is started with the Project Management Framework in the task BT.070 – Create Project Management Framework, which is part of the OUM Manage Focus Area’s Project Startup Phase.  The project manager creates the Project Management Framework, along with the project sponsor and other stakeholders.  At this point in the project, the Project Management Framework represents the PMP at the strategic level.  In fact, the Project Management Framework can be thought of as the initial or high-level version of the PMP. 

Evolution and Refinement

After the Project Management Framework is created early in the Project Start Up phase, it is then used as a key prerequisite for each of the OUM Manage process plans – Scope Change Management Plan, Quality Management Plan, Risk Management Plan, etc .  The PMP is refined in an iterative fashion through input and approval from the various project stakeholders and subject matter experts as the project progresses.  This means the PMP is not a static document, but is evolved to become the project management artifact that details the tools and approach for each of the 13 OUM Manage processes.

Need More Info?

For more information on how the PMP evolves from the Project Management Framework, check out the BT.070 Task - Create Project Management Framework in OUM 5.5.

About

OUM Logo
The Oracle® Unified Method (OUM) is Oracle’s standards-based method that enables the entire Enterprise Information Technology (IT) lifecycle.

Read:

· Brief

· White Paper

· Customer Program Data Sheet

Connect:

· OUM on Twitter

· OUM on LinkedIn

Search

Archives
« April 2014
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
  
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
26
27
28
29
30
   
       
Today
Feeds