Friday, 4 December 2009

Bridging the Gap - IT and Business...

Way back in the 80's when I started programming, there were no methodologies, or at least nobody followed one. Computers were scarce and the commercial consumer had still not started to adopt to the technological advances made in the world of computers. There was but a small population of the brave explorers who had started to buy computers for their EDP departments. That was one hell of a long time back...

In those days all commercial programming was done using COBOL, Dbase II, Dbase III, Dbase III+, FoxPro and / or Clipper.

Computers organisations used were IBM PC with PCDOS/ MS DOS or Apple II, Apple IIc, Apple IIe.

There were no defined processes for Business Need Analysis, Business really did not know what their needs were and how to express these to the IT professionals/ developers. IT professionals on the other hand had no idea, how to talk to the business unit managers and gather information - as they were not qualified for those roles. One set of people were very technical (we call them geeks) and the other set of people were very business oriented and technologically poor.

30 years have passed since then. The world has moved from early adopters of the 80's to the tech savvy junta of the new century. My son who is all of 11 years, can move his fingers faster than a professional Data Entry Operator on his Nintendo DS, can operate the Internet as if he learned it all in his mothers womb - pre-birth qualifications!!

BUT in the commercial world, besides the fact that we cannot live without technology or computers, nothing much has changed netween IT professionals and Business unit managers. Somehow, they are still struggling to BRIDGE THE GAP.

What could be causing this Gap?

Business and IT have come a full circle. From IT pushing and shoving hardware and software down the business throats to IT starting to understand that their value in the business chain is that of support. However, there are still a lot of companies, and when I say lot I mean A LOT of companies where IT and Business cannot communicate with each other, in turn leading to Project delays, added costs and frustrations all around.

Overcoming this obstacle is fairly simple. We need Business Analysts, who have a keep sense of hearing and documenting what they hear. Then translating this into a High Level Business Requirement Document. Get it signed by the Business, so every body is on the same page. So far so good. Next step, the same Business Analyst sits with the IT team and narrates the same story, which then starts to take shape as a Technical and Functional Specification Document. Once ready, this forms the first cut document for the Developers to start working on. Don't forget to add in a component of Risk and Contingencies. Well that is a topic of another discussion.

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