Capturing Requirements

Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.”
Antoine de Saint-Exupery

The most important part of OSS requirement capture is to focus on benefits rather than functionality. The vendor solutions on the market offer a vast array of functionality, bells and whistles. This makes vendor evaluation difficult as there are no easy apples-for-apples comparisons. Vendors tend to focus on the functionality that they can offer in an ever-increasing arms-race of functionality.

The aim is to create a guiding vision for what the OSS is to achieve. To borrow from Pareto’s 80:20 principle, the key to capturing a business’s OSS requirements is to identify the 20 percent of high-value actions that deliver 80 percent of benefits to the organisation. But more importantly, the requirement capture phase should focus on optimisation of those 20 percent of actions to determine the fastest processing of those actions.

Who are the users that perform these activities the most efficiently and what do they do that sets them apart from the rest of the team that perform similar functions?
This requires benchmarking of a company’s current operations.

The following questions will help to refine what is most important:
1. What is the company’s sustainable competitive advantage (SCA)
2. In what areas do the current management tools influence the SCA (positively or negatively)
3. What areas of the business are (or will be) most reliant on OSS tools
4. What areas of the business consume the most work-hours with OSS or similar tools
5. In what areas will OSS efficiency improvements deliver the greatest outcomes (eg faster revenue turn-on, reduced fault rectification times, reduction in head-count, etc)
6. What additional functionality would deliver the greatest outcomes (eg sales target identification, fault trend analysis / predictors, network capacity planning simulators, etc)

The key questions above are also key features in the OSS Business Case Development Tool.

The OSS Business Process page provides a high-level classification of process areas. Depending on your business model you may find your high-impact activities fall within any of the categories, but it is likely that most reside under the Fulfillment and Assurance domains. The usual suspects include Customer Order Management (Adds/Moves/Changes/Disconnects) and Fault Management (root cause analysis and fault repair workforce coordination).

Just as Jonathan Ive revolutionised the music player industry with his iPod design, the OSS world is craving simplicity, through products that are not burdened with the non-essential.

This leads on to the discussion about the Jeffery OSS Benchmark (JOB), which is built specifically for OSS requirement capture and associated vendor evaluation

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