Project Management

An Architectural Approach to Problem Solving Applied to Program Management

Frank Winters has more than 30 years of consulting and Information Technology experience serving as a project/program manager, consultant and IT service industry executive.

Poorly articulated and defined business requirements have caused many programs to fail to deliver the business benefit they should have. Very often these failures can be traced back to political and organizational issues. In dealing with these issues, I have found that an architectural approach to problem solving coupled with intelligent program design can be one of the most effective methods. While these tools do not solve the underling issues, they can buy the time for the teams dealing with requirements and change management while progress is being made in other areas.

A well-designed program creates layers for business architecture and technical architecture. In general, complex program layers are created within each type of architecture. Projects are then created to develop the support systems indicated by the layers of architectural design. If the design takes the issues of change and vague requirements into account, the layers will isolate any functions that must be in place to support any of the likely requirements. This assumes that by using a process of step-wise refinement, the analysis team has gained enough information and understands the business well enough to know how the business functions at its most fundamental level. In green field situations, it may take a great deal of work to get to this point. Therefore, let's limit our …

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