Many IT projects today are replacement system projects instead of new software development. A replacement project replaces an existing software system with a new custom-built system, a commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) system, or a hybrid of those. The challenges that most replacement projects share include: stuffing in unnecessary functionality, degrading the organization’s operational performance, users refusing to adopt the new system, and having such a large project that it never deploys. Focusing requirements practices on addressing these issues directly can increase the likelihood of a system replacement that delivers the desired value and is accepted by the users.
Replacement projects are most commonly implemented to improve performance (complete business tasks faster), cut costs (such as maintenance costs or license fees), take advantage of modern technologies, or meet regulatory requirements. However, it’s easy to let unnecessary new functionality slip into replacement projects.
Our MS Press blog “Software Requirements: Delivering Success When Replacing a Software System” addresses this in more depth. We talk about the Key Performance Indicator Model (KPIM) and how it can help you identify and specify metrics for business processes that need to be maintained in the replacement system. Figure 1 shows an example of a KPIM to pique your interest!
Figure 1: A simple example of a KPIM.
Author Bios: Joy Beatty is a Vice President at ArgonDigital. Karl Wiegers is Principal Consultant at Process Impact. Karl and Joy are co-authors of the new bookSoftware Requirements, 3rd Edition (Microsoft Press, 2013).