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31 January 2012
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Wednesday, 27 February 2013
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I just Want What I Need

I had an interesting question recently, from a person who had just been introduced to Macroscope. The person was a specialist in the implementation of products from one of the major ERP vendors. In essence, the question was, “Why can’t I get everything in one place that I need to do an implementation of ___ (Product ‘XYZ’)?” He was asking why it was necessary to go to the Project domain for all the PM material, to the Solution domain for the general -purpose SDLC material, and to the XYZ vendor’s methodology for the product-specific material.

I gave a partial answer right away, but after some more thinking, here’s a more complete answer.

If you look closely at ASAP and AIM/OUM and other ERP frameworks, you will find many, many similarities – often using different vocabulary, but essentially much of the same material. This is particularly true of everything to do with project management.

For the benefit of all Macroscope users, the Macroscope team needs to maintain a single project management framework that is built on our experience and is tailored to the “Fujitsu way” – the distinctive aspects of Macroscope that come from our years of consulting and services experience. Fujitsu has accumulated a very rich body of knowledge regarding the best practices of project management – for all types of projects. That’s what you see today in the Project domain. If we were to attempt to re-do the architecture of Macroscope so that we would offer “everything you need to do Oracle (in various flavors)”,and “everything you need to do SAP”, etc., etc., we would have to deeply integrate and duplicate the material of the Project domain into all of those dozens of different solution-oriented presentations. Not so easy and we could debate the value.

So – inspired by the growing popularity of the PMBOK a number of years ago – the decision was made to extract everything related to “pure” project management – and place it in one and only place – the Project domain. This has provided us with many benefits. Chief among them – we reinforce the importance of having experts in the art and science of project management – regardless of the type of solution. For example, it has been proven that an excellent SAP PM – can successfully manage an Oracle project, and vice versa. The key is to also implement the Solution Architect role – the person who has the deep knowledge of the particular solution – and works in close collaboration with the PM – as encouraged by the Project Fundamental – “Balanced Management Perspectives”. (I’m ignoring the fact that sometimes it’s possible for one person to cover both roles – although with some risk.)

For the work of the ERP solution itself, it is quite possible to use the Solution domain as your starting point, but it makes much more sense to use something that has been pre-tailored toward the configuration and implementation of your specific ERP. That is – look at ASAP, AIM/OUM, or whatever your product vendor offers. But a word of advice – it’s quite likely that you will find useful material in the Solution domain of Macroscope that you won’t find in the vendor-specific methodology. A bit of mixing and matching can go a long way. And – if you should find yourself integrating products from two different major vendors, then you are definitely going to need to mix and match. Macroscope can work very well as a “federating” framework.

We should also remember that the Macroscope approach to Portfolio/Program management, Enterprise Architecture and IT Strategy – are almost completely independent of the implementation of any type of solution. But on a particular engagement, one might find it valuable to use some small components from these other domains – going quite beyond what you’d find in ASAP, OUM, etc.

With all of that said, the Macroscope team in recent years has done some nice things to help the underlying need with “discipline-specific” views. At this point we have Security, Solution Testing, and Business Analysis views. This approach enables us to preserve the presentation of the important collaborations of the different roles in the main process views, while offering extra material that is useful to specialists. I hope we continue to see more of these views.

I believe no methodology will ever be complete nor perfect. It’s up to us to make the best of what we have – and always look for ways to improve. (And – the Macroscope team will gratefully accept your suggestions for improvements!)

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