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Beaver Computer Consultants Limited - Consultants in systems engineering for business, mission and safety critical systems

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Avoiding Failures : problems you might have on projects and programmes when introducing new systems

Many projects, not just those with a significant IT and high technology element, often fail because of a poor understanding of the requirements, such as those detailed in the CHAOS report, or because of a poor development approach. Beaver specialise in systems engineering which gives the benefits of a requirements managed solution using an iterative risk based development process and maximising the use of prototypes and early release versions where possible, strongly binding the user requirements, to models, to code and architectures, and managing them as a configured set.

While this type of approach is shown to be more successful, remember adoption of a method does not guarantee success. It still depends on building the right team and have strong management direction and involvement. In managing successful projects a key focus is on the methods of managing the business benefit rather than focusing purely on the technology. We can perform project or programme risk management activities and under take due diligence or red team reviews. Beaver can assist because we actually have experience in applying these approaches on live projects as well as under taking process definition and mentoring assignments for our clients. Our approach reflects methods such as RUP, DSDM, the real-time variant RtP, SSADM, and RAD, managed within the OGC (formerly CCTA) PRINCE or programme management guidelines.

Recent legal cases such as Anglo Group v Winther Browne v BML reported in Computer Weekly has high lighted a number of issues relating to firstly specifying and developing computer and communications systems and secondly realising the business benefit, importantly giving guidance on the responsibilities of the purchaser. The High Court ruling emphasised the need to ensure users specify systems so that suppliers are clear as to what is needed, and the user makes appropriate arrangements for the realisation of the business benefit and not just the implementation of the new system, and plays an equal role as to complement the chosen supplier.

We believe this recent ruling enshrines best practice - requirement driven, risk based, iterative development, often using component based development (CBD), such as RUP and DSDM. However the list of project failures shows best practice is not well adopted. This legal case shows the problems of lack of user accountability and involvement, use of an agreed, unambiguous, well understood user based specifications, use of project risk management, and operational readiness preparations such as training and organisational issues. We believe it is likely requirements, user involvement, and operational readiness aspects will be given greater emphasis over the next few years and Beavers staff having been working with these methods for a number of years due to their involvement in safety critical projects where these methods have been required as part of the legal framework.

Remember major changes in IT and business systems can bring about enormous benefits but can seriously damage your company if they are not implemented correctly and the benefits of the initiative are not fully driven through. So if you are planning a new web site, e-business solution, or any new infrastructure, business, or manufacturing system procurement Beaver can help you to manage the risks through the application of methods such as setting a business vision, requirements management, project management, and operational readiness support, and more importantly realise the business benefit. See Beavers capability in the application of the solution development life cycle and in particular the following areas;


Given the important role of the purchaser when procuring solutions we suggest business clients consider using Beaver to provide support in developing an ITT, tender assessment, and the provision of project management, testing and operational readiness support. If you are a supply organisation Beaver can offer offer valuable support in all life cycle phases from proposal development to user acceptance tests, and act as a complement to your development teams. Manage the risk and realise the benefit.

Next learn more about Beavers business continuity services here or click here to return to our e-business improvement main page.