Business application requirements gathering is famously hard. It’s hard for IT to sort out business priorities and get the details they need from busy business people. It’s hard for business executives to sign off on 600-page documents of requirements. Overall, the process is exhausting, filled with meetings where “minutes are kept and hours are lost.”
A Better Way
To crack this nut, you need a way for all the stakeholders to get on the same page. They need a common language, to eliminate misunderstandings. And, they need a way to capture BOTH the big picture and the necessary details to realize it.
Pega gives you a way to do just that. We call it Directly Capture Objectives (DCO). It starts with high-level requirements: the work to be done and the outcomes it should achieve. These set the context for the details. Pega’s DCO what-you-see-is-what-you-get modeling tools facilitate business-IT collaboration with a visual language that everyone can understand. And, DCO helps teams validate requirements by immediately demonstrating what they heard and making changes if the demonstration exposes a misunderstanding or stimulates a new idea.
We recommend all projects leverage DCO through the entire project lifecycle.
DCO in Action
A sizable municipal court system in the U.S. chose Pega to develop a solution that would streamline court procedures, improve user interfaces, and automate everyday courthouse functions. Initially, this customer didn’t make full use of DCO. Their requirements gathering meetings brought in too many stakeholders for focused discussions. Weeks went by, meetings dragged on, and things in the parking lot stayed parked. It was hard to see progress. This customer had new Pega technology, but used old techniques of document-based use-case templates. It was hard to prioritize requirements.
Pega helped the customer with a DCO skills transfer program that turned this situation around and began implementing the backlog of use cases in short order. Pega led the initial DCO sessions. Then we coached, and finally just shadowed the customer’s Business Architects using DCO. Now the customer runs DCO sessions independently.
Insights gleaned from this project should be helpful to all DCO users.
- Work top down. Gather requirements from your core stakeholders first. Start with high-level requirements, and drill down into details they can supply. Then bring in the subject matter experts who can fill in the details. Small groups are often best.
- Make course corrections right then and there. DCO gives you the power to instantly demonstrate the evolving system. Use it to make adjustments during the DCO session. This creates “buy in” by giving everyone a voice, and ensures that everyone agrees on the requirements specified.
- Designate DCO champions. Create leadership teams that include delegates from business, IT, Pega (or Pega partner), and testing.
- Hand over the reins. With a bit of coaching and shadowing, customers can lead DCO sessions themselves. It helps to start with a dry run, led by Pega or a Pega partner, so everyone is clear about roles and responsibilities.
Productivity Comparison: Pega 7 vs. Java EE
Read the recent Capgemini productivity study that finds Pega 7 to be 6.4 times faster than Java EE.