Tuesday, May 03, 2011

"The Bridge": Day 1

Today we had a great session. Obvious introductions were first; another functional user who files a lot of SRs for Finance and HR modules, a couple of upper-level managers, a IHUB engineer and a front-end "user experience" ADF developer (was that too redundant?).

Honestly, I was a bit overwhelmed at first, having never done task flows in a group like this before. But I liked the concept. Our moderator/taskmaster Mitch is a good guy, and at times we tried his patience. :) We started off defining what we thought the "Big Picture" is - note how we labeled it "Create SR". At one point, one of the managers said, half-jokingly, "My god, what have we created?!?":

As you can see, we have lots of stickies. Mitch loves sticky notes (aka, post-it notes). We identified key processes and showed how they related to each other, and finally we marked it up with pink stickies for problematic areas. We also identified some "out of scope" topics. This first go was a really rough draft but provided a framework from which to build.

After we had the current picture in mind, Mitch asked us to dream about what we wanted it to look like. To dream a little. To think of a Blue Sky. Spelling errors (wrong to call them typos when you write them out? *grin*) were the trademark of the evening, but we pushed forward. The following picture is what the other user and I came up with:

I did the one on the left. I kept it really basic, because that is what Mitch indicated. And I wanted to emphasize how we need to keep the process simple and as fast as possible. The other user representative has a lot of experience filing SRs so has essentially figure out how to "game" the system to make it work fast. Included on the other side are a number of additional (and some optional) items, some of which overlap mine. I do not have a picture of the diagram the managers/developers came up with, but it wanted more forms and more questions answered. :) After getting it all down, we users then marked each step with how desirable it was (H = High, M = Medium, L = Low), and the developer group marked how feasible it was (H = Hard, E = Easy). The goal was to find as many highly desirable and easily feasible points as possible. I kinda think we did not pay too much attention to that. OH well. The next phase was putting these two (Realistic + Desirable) together. In the middle, we experience a Scope Changed because we started to see how important "Search" is to this process, and how we users much rather find existing information that solves our problem then filing an SR in the first place. Thus our Scope evolved into "Solving Problems" and this "Step 1" reflects how many of the things that could be used to initialize an SR could actually be pointed at the Knowledge Base. Like so:

Lest you despair (some consider KB to be a four-letter word), we had lots of talks about improving the KB search functions, and especially focusing on using the Advanced Search capabilities. This reflects the combination of our "Blue Sky" ideas - of simplifying the existing framework and trying to think of what is the bare amount needed to go search for information, while still providing plenty of robust functionality for power users who want to provide a ton of extra detail.

Here is a shot of us "in action" - you can briefly glimpse the chaos:

In the end, we also worked on "Step 2", which was the SR Creation portion of it, and discussed at length how these two steps play together, and how Sev 1 changes the ballgame a little (more often than not, if you file a Sev 1, you are not going to take the time to Search). With 30 minutes left of the night, we dove into objectifying the tasks. We merely scratched the surface, but I think we all felt it was significant progress.

I am certainly very impressed by this process. There are some obvious inter-group challenges when certain folks dominate the discussion, but overall we are making wonderful progress and I am very happy we are having these discussions. I only hope we are drastically pushing the managers and developers in a direction we will later regret. :) I am also struck by the complexity and the number of pieces involved. We very briefly touched on how OCM/EM play a role in providing data to the SR creation process, and we obviously tacked the bigger "purple elephant" of Search and the Knowledge Base (how many people are using it and finding what they need?).

And now I am mentally exhausted. And need to grab some sleep.

No comments: