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Following Office of Inspector General Report the major number of mistakes was aloud in Information Resources Management (IRM) section and in evaluation of information technology performance. EPA has failed to produce sufficient IRM Policy Manual, with strict provided Interim Policy regarding the evaluation of performance of information technology program.
One of the most crucial mistakes is the lack of necessary project documentation therefore the complete list of project risks was not documented and accounted, as well as there was any appropriate documentation to track the different phases of development cycle, that makes the process of risks and budget monitoring not transparent and project management rather troubles shooting than project management process oriented.
The Agency final recommendations were focused on EPA management involvement in key decision points of the information technology projects thus obligated them to create a proper management manual with these key decisions documented before moving to another stage of the development cycle. So at this stage EPA management was required to provide a written response to the Report within 90 calendar days including an action plan for corrections with milestone dates.
OEI response from 15th of June, 2005th has answered the main concerns underlined in OIG report, however, I believe that it should be more detailed with delivery dates on each issue and concrete responsible person entitled for each particular step. There is no possibility to create post reports based on this action plan. Additionally the actual stage of management documentation was not analyzed in response; therefore the concrete plan of documentation line change was not presented.
However within the both reports we can get only a skipped overview of management processes and the main background of critical issues, it is absolutely clear that time and budget failure could be prevented with development process improvement by retrospectives, OEI (as a client) involvement and at least more frequent (I suggest two weeks) iterations. These measures are dictated by Scrum approach and supported by Agile methodology. The main issue of OEI management response is in being not time efficient.
I believe that building an action plan based on Agile Scrum approach will take 90 calendar days at the planning stage but will save 50% of time in production. The current OEI action plan is not acceptable within the present situation of time and budget over limiting. Why use Scrum at OEI case? The answer is: “Scrum approach was invented to drive rapidly the innovative products to market, so Six month releases used to be a reasonable time from for an enterprise system. Now it is three months for a major new release, one month for upgrades, and one week for maintenance releases.
The initial version of the Agile Scrum development process was designed to enhance productivity and reduce time to market for new product” (Schwaber & Beedle, 2002) Due to the issues with project risks evaluating MetaScrum Planning is one of the most appropriate tools to use in the situation. Gantt Charts will become an additional (missed) chain in project documentation as well as a deliveries’ data plan in addition to OEI response. Dynamically generated Gantt chart is able to manage multiply releases.
At our circumstances we receive an opportunity to track the major resource problems as well as have any significant delays rather balanced. Weekly MetaScrum meetings allow managing all problems in real time because every chart is based on concrete data, so management is able to see immediately where optimization is necessary. It really makes the project managers work more efficient because they have a short iteration period of time to sort the current problem and to stabilize the chart before the next meeting.
Over or under estimation of tasks is one of the most crucial reasons for delivery delays, so it is better to track frequently the status of small assignments. OEI has the project with high degree of unpredictability, so we cannot use traditional planning techniques or Gantt/PERT charts only, at this case we have a high risk of requirements change. Scrum weekly meetings promote communication and expertise sharing, they increase the average level of urgency, encourage sharing of knowledge, team work.
One of the most valuable benefits of Scrum approach is high predictability of risks and problems; they are visible long before the release. I suggest that 90 calendar days devoted for creation of new operation plan for management should be used completely for management process refactoring; special changes are to be performed in deliveries section. Within changes of requirements MetaScrum is a best approach for OEI to get self-organized around their current problems. Planning and delivery changes will be reflected immediately through decisions to be made on weekly basis in the MetaScrum.
As the result of using MetaScrum approach OEI will receive more flexible, more decisive, more adaptable project management process. Project management will become totally automated. Company will save on paperwork, effective project management reporting and additional reporting before moving to next project stage will be achieved without additional human work intervention. Automated data collection and reporting system will allow tracking and implementing of update easily, which is a valuable tool for OEI executives.
MetaScrum tools will allow us to reach transparency of processes, companywide visibility, metrics driven by decision makers, efficient productivity results. According to Dr. Beedle (1999): “Scrum will increase speed of development, aligns individual and corporate objectives, will create a culture driven by performance, supports shareholder value creation, achieves, stable and consistent communication of performance at all levels, and enhances individual development and quality of life.
It also drives functionality out into the marketplace at a pace that can overwhelm competitors and achieve industry dominance”. Employing Scrum oriented approach on their action plan OEI managers will reach the great transparency of development/ deliveries processes, efficient monitoring of progress, they will become flexible with time and efficient with budget.