The Business Orientation subphase
In the USoft Approach, Business Orientation is a subphase of the PLAN phase.
Business Orientation consists of fact finding and interpretation. Its purpose is to get a general picture of the work that needs to be done in the next DEFINE phase. This involves identifying all the stakeholders and talking to them to find our what are their needs and expectations.
•At management and decision-making levels, these expectations are about budget planning and the objectives that were set when reserving budget or raising funds for the work.
•At functional levels, these expectations are about functionality: subjects fields covered, functions covered or supported by software.
•At operational levels, these expectations are more practical: specific software features, such as the user-friendliness of error messages or the level of comfort and attractiveness of human interfaces delivered in a previous cycle.
In addition to drawing up a program of work, Business Orientation must also address the following aspects of preliminary analysis:
•Making sure that preconditions are met for the work. Are facilities and logistics in place? Do people know what is expected from them and do they have the required skills and authority? You may find that measures must be taken or procedures started before the work in the DEFINE phase can start. Or you may find that the expected work is simply not feasible under given conditions.
•Making sure that essential requirements are not overlooked. Have all stakeholders been heard? Does the work involve new connections to existing other software systems or other departments, and if so, is it clear that these other systems and departments are able to supply the correct information and that they do not have needs or modalities that are misunderstood?
•Making sure that scope creep is avoided from the start. To help avoid scope creep, in addition to stating in general terms what will be delivered, it is helpful to state clearly a number of related deliverables that are NOT included in the work iteration. Statements that formulate that something is out-of-scope may be termed exclusions.
The Business Orientation subphase must result in a general description of the functionality, scope and proposed approach of the work that has validated by talking to key stakeholders. Such a description is produced outside the USoft product set. It could have a conventional document format. In a Scrum project, the Business Orientation and Rapid Analysis subphases could together result in sprint-ready user stories.