IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe Edition - November/December 2011 - (Page 41)

Developer System z application development Nothing Simple About It While critical to success, project scoping is often overlooked By Jim Schesvold ccurately scoping a project is key to its success. It sets the baseline on how a project should be measured and the expectations of everyone involved in either the project or the product that results. In a consulting or contracting scenario, it often sets the price of the contract. Therefore, scoping is critical but not for the faint of heart. It takes project-management skills, technical expertise, experience, planning proficiency, knowledge of the participants, a dose of intuition, a healthy measure of skepticism and a touch of courage. Scoping is not is simple. A recent project demonstrates that point well. I recall the day we met with AR and Customer Assistance management to discuss taking a design created by a steering committee and turning it into reality. One IS manager turned to the other and said, “This is an inquiry-only transaction. We don’t update any files. This should be a great way for Jim to get his feet wet in AR. It shouldn’t take more than a month or two.” Famous last words, given I had no background in accounts receivable whatsoever. It turned out far more than one transaction was involved. Inquiry-only didn’t mean it was as simple as reading a record and moving some fields to a screen. Some of the existing AR rules were changed as part of implementing this application, affecting numerous calculations. In many cases, because existing programs accessed the AR files quite differently than was necessitated for this project, the previous code couldn’t be used. These two managers aren’t naive or uninformed; they are experienced, Editor’s note: This is the first of two articles on project scoping. The second will delve into specific factors that can lead to major time overruns. The Project I spent nine months as the primary programmer/analyst developing what we fondly—and sometimes sarcastically—refer to as “new AR.” It’s a dramatic departure from “old AR,” an arcane, code- and acronymlaced accounts-receivable system that required extensive training and experience to develop proficiency. This high-priority project was designed to provide ease of use, because many of the AR specialists are seasonal (as is the business). Thus, it could have a very positive effect on training as well as AR administration. N OV E M B E R / D ECE M B E R 2 011 41

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe Edition - November/December 2011

IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe Edition - November/December 2011
On the Web
Editor’s Desk: Cool Again
Insider: With the Right Strategy and Tools, Businesses Can Capitalize on Big Data
IT Today: New IMS 12 Offers Flexibility and Support for Business Growth
Focus on Storage: IBM Health Checker Adds Features to Maintain Best Practices
Trends: Emerging Enterprises Know System z Can Help Them Compete Globally
Cover Story:The Mainframe is Entering New Markets and Encouraging New Uses
Feature: System z Delivers a Solid Platform for Mission-Critical Business Applications
Feature: Speed and Scalability Give the z196 the Extra Kick to Excel at Any Workload
Developer: While Critical to Success, Project Scoping Is Often Overlooked
Tech Corner: Systems Director SDK Leverages Language-Independent REST
Resources: Advertisers’ Index
Stop Run: Miguel Gallego’s Love of Building Things Led Him to a Career as an IMS Enterprise Architect
Reference Point

IBM Systems Magazine, Mainframe Edition - November/December 2011