ABA Banking Journal 5/08 - (Page 48)
Tech topics vices environment. At a time when IT projects involving web services and enterprise restructuring are becoming more the norm, project management solutions, however flawed, probably deserve a second look. intuitive, but it bears mention because blocked communication remains a primary project-related issue, and is not always due to the kinds of personality clashes and other reasons mentioned in a manager’s guidebook. Instead, it happens because all too often employees with different skill sets—who map the problems differently—are forced to collaborate in a way that takes each out of their comfort zone. And so you have, to offer a classic example, the new home equity line of credit or credit card marketing campaign, with all the natural conflicts, especially the inevitable friction of marketing and compliance, says Dennis Dixon, president, Zoot Enterprises, Bozeman, Mont., who has a background in optimizing software development. For one group “optimization” means facilitating speed to market and making claims that will attract the broadest group possible. For another, it means “ultimate security.” But layered on top of that conflict you have a different view of system requirements, and usually one group’s mindset will win out. Bring in additional special interest groups as things get under way and you have work being done with each group tending to see only its discipline, agenda, and budget requirements—and let’s be frank—career ambitions. Moreover, it’s the evolving project itself that can confound even the most unified teams, taking new forms as each task gets added or needs to be revised for some reason. Say you are installing a project pricing engine designed to generate offers friendly to specific demographic segments, (e.g., seniors). As you begin to evaluate all the databases that need to be interfaced, you begin to realize that a new layer of middleware will need to be added to normalize the data: Another step, and another direction, that the project goes in. These sorts of issues require clear thinking about “the obvious” in a systematic way—one reason why PM can be so valuable, says DeLuccia. tectural redesign projects in particular (work such as service consolidation, virtualization, or moving applications from legacy systems), there is always additional “background noise.” This consists of the bedrock requirements of formulating sound strategy and making sure that businesses and IT departments are synchronized in thought and deed. In this area, frameworks and methodologies have been specifically deployed to cope. One of these is Information Technology Infrastructure Library, or ITIL, which rhymes with “little,” and defines best practice for all aspects of handling IT from incidence response or security management to environmental design and planning. There is also Six Sigma, a statistical approach to measurement, and Agile, which generally has to do with an improvisational, iterative method of project development. On the Agile method, DeLuccia is especially enthusiastic. “It says, basically, code, or develop, in the smallest unit of work possible and make adjustments as you go. This way, adjusting as you go, you meet the need of the business user.” And, at the end of the day, it is meeting the business requirements that counts. BJ Complexity cubed DeLuccia points out that the sheer number of technologies that support branch, internet, call center and back-office operations mean there is a systems-related complexity that no amount of planning discipline will completely tame. “If you have one server or device attached to your network, you’ve got an IT environment that’s easy to document, monitor, and control,” DeLuccia says, offering the simplest example. “Add just two more systems and you have a complexity level that’s cubed, because you factor in complexity by the power of the number of systems involved,” DeLuccia adds. Newer software is well documented and there are numerous guidance standards of how operations should be set up, monitored, and how change management should be conducted. In theory, all of this is out there to help all the technologists, from the programmers to team heads, keep operations simple and take advantage of new technologies like web services, for instance. “But the problem can be, while the guidance is published, in the end, standards bodies say, “but do what’s right for you,” he jokes. “PM,” says DeLuccia, “can help you keep track of what’s in the pipeline and help you better evaluate short-cut options.” Communication blocks But as high tech as “e-PM” is, the bigger appeal may be the old-fashioned organization it brings. According Elizabeth Harrin, who authored Project Management in the Real World, “projects change the status quo; they change themselves. Communication is essential at all points through the project lifecycle to ensure understanding and maintain credibility.” Sure, this is 48 MAY 2008/ABA BANKING JOURNAL Reader Resources Project Management Institute http://www.pmi.org/CareerDevelopment/ Pages/Our-Credentials.aspx The Benchmarking Network, Inc. www.benchmarkingnetwork.com Journyx PM Blog www.project-management-blog.com Projectmanagement.com powered by ganthead.com, the online community for IT project managers www.projectmanagement.com PMP Certification Program www.pmi.org Zoot www.zootweb.com Intellection Strategies ITIL and Agile When it comes to infrastructure, or archiwww.intellectionstrategies.com Subscribe at www.ababj.com
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of ABA Banking Journal 5/08
ABA Banking Journal 5/08
Online Lending Circles Hit Circuit Breaker
Snapshot: Efficiency Ratios Take a Hit
Letters: “Excessive Fees Make Us All Look Bad”
100th Anniversary: Then & Now
ABA Chairman’s Position
Handling People in a "Mixed Up" Office
Strictly by the Book
Banking's Top Performers
B2B: “Paper-Free” Soon? Ever?
Do DCNs Make a Difference?
To Advertise/Index of Advertisers
ABA Banking Journal 5/08