For most of the last two decades, LÛCRUM has participated in creating over 100 solutions for some of the most prominent organizations in business and education. In 1998, LÛCRUM published its first full Business Intelligence Methodology, iStream. The word “stream” was used to symbolize the continuous aspect of the software development lifecycle versus traditional “waterfall” SDLC’s. This post is intended to conceptually explain how LÛCRUM’s iStream is a differentiated and unique approach to the development of successful Enterprise Business Intelligence Solutions. After years of focus on the delivery of Data oriented projects, LÛCRUM has continued to refine its methodology, leveraging the continuous learning from each new engagement to benefit the next, and to enrich the iStream process itself.
The first and probably most important non-technical differentiated aspect of iStream is the concept of Alignment. Many consulting organizations and internal IT organizations have some type of design or planning step often called “Envisioning” as an initial step in their development process. This is for good reason: understanding the customer’s end goal or picture of success is critical to the success of the project. At the same time, this does not procedurally support the fact that many individuals are involved in determining the success of a project, and further, in most cases these individuals are not in detailed agreement in regards to what that success looks like, or how it is defined. Alignment takes this into account, and is a prescribed process to ensure a common understanding of the success criteria by the key stakeholders involved in any enterprise project, including department heads and/or the Information Technology department. This includes a focus on ensuring that a miscommunication cannot occur where language is not specific enough, for example in clarifying the accepted definition of the term “Sales” in a company. To explore this a bit, is “Sales” the number of transactions? The dollar volume closed? Over what timeframe? By what channel? (sales people, resellers, distributors, telesales, etc.) As simple as this concept may sound – misunderstandings or assumptions in areas as simple as this are generally a key reason for project failure. In this area, LÛCRUM is unique and differentiated in its development approach.
Another key differentiation of LÛCRUM’s approach, particularly as it relates to Business Intelligence, is in the concept of the iteration of a project. The iStream methodology allows for iteration in the development of the end result, particularly through the recognition that many pieces may make up the whole. For example, related to Business Intelligence; we may begin by working with an individual decision maker, say the VP of Marketing. In working with this person we may offer to them the YourView Instant Analytics solution, allowing them to rapidly see their information in a new way through the combination of several different reports or sources into a single view. Per the YourView solution, this can take place in a matter of days; however by definition it follows the iStream process – however abbreviated – as it is focused on only a single user. When that VP is prepared to create a complete solution for the Marketing department, the initial work now functions as a pilot/proof of concept rolling into the Alignment, Discover and Architect components of iStream for the larger YourView 360 (Data Mart) project. In this fashion, we are “iterating” our development of the data mart through one or more “Instant Analytics” projects. Both projects follow iStream; however the smaller engagements feed into the larger. When that organization is prepared to roll out an Enterprise Data Warehouse – the same holds true, the work that had been completed at the Data Mart level for the Marketing department will now be employed in the Alignment, Discover and Architect phases of the Enterprise Data Warehouse project. In this fashion the work that we accomplish at any level of the Business Intelligence Solution chain is applicable for the next, and all would be accomplished using iStream.
While the items above are not descriptive of the entirety of iStream, nor of the entire list of benefits of the LÛCRUM approach, they are absolutely two of the components of iStream which differentiate it from the plethora of SDLC approaches available in the market, and another aspect of what makes LÛCRUM a unique Business Intelligence Consultancy.
On March 21, Doug Dockery provided his perspective of the recent Business Courier article written about LÛCRUM. Doug reviewed some of the changes we’ve made to address the shortcomings in 2007. I’d like to expand on one of the focus areas for LÛCRUM [...]
On March 21, Doug Dockery provided his perspective of the recent Business Courier article written about LÛCRUM. Doug reviewed some of the changes we’ve made to address the shortcomings in 2007. I’d like to expand on one of the focus areas for LÛCRUM – Quality.
In the 2nd quarter of 2007, LÛCRUM had already identified that we needed additional disciple and focus in the area of Project Management. It was decided to invest in a Quality Management program with the goal to bring additional standards and methodology to our projects. The program was kicked off on June 1st with the hiring of a Quality Manager. The objectives we have been following since the first weeks of the QM Office have been to ensure:
o Predictable Budgetary Outcome
o Build Quality in from the beginning
o Project Quality Assessment
o Follow the KISS Method
Since the inception of Quality Management at LÛCRUM, a number of things have changed. We’ve implemented an engagement dashboard which tracks the health of each of our engagements. This dashboard is part of a weekly review by the Delivery Leadership Team. In addition, a dynamic Utilization tracking system was implemented last summer which provides our managers with detailed information about their consultants and how time is being utilized with a client. Custom reports can be generated by a manager through excel pivot tables. And new functionality is being implemented this month with which will improve the system backend and provide additional reporting.
We’ve developed our LÛCRUM “Best Practices” standards and processes which include standard templates, training material, and the implementation of a proposal review process. A Project Management marketing handbook has been deployed to our Business Development team to share with our clients how we manage projects. And most recently we’ve completed the deployment of our iStream Project Management Methodology. iStream is a engagement program which was deployed by LÛCRUM in 1999 and has been evolving over the years. The deployment of the PM methodology brings even more disciple to the management of our client projects.
Stay tuned over the coming weeks as I will be sharing with you more details about LÛCRUM’s Quality Management program.