12 Point System
American Eagle Group
Structured For Flexibility
American Eagle Group has developed a flexible 12 point system to aid clients in developing world class projects. The system permits the client to understand the steps necessary to achieving the proper solution for their environment while leveraging the best use of AmEagle's consulting expertise.
AmEagle stresses the importance of working side-by-side with the client. Working together, AmEagle and the client can achieve concurrence in each step of the project. Without the close coordination of effort, the final solution might diverge from the client's intended goal. Not willing to work as a "lone horse", AmEagle works with the client's team members toward the desired outcome.
Why This System
American Eagle Group has found through numerous experiences that an organized approach to determining a solution for clients produces the greatest results. At the same time, the system must be flexible to meet the various clients' cultures, mannerisms, and needs. No two clients are alike, and yet, are very similar in overall steps necessary for ensuring success.
AmEagle has built into each step a deliverable aimed at obtaining continued support for the project. Because the overall length of the project can last for several months or even several years, the need for continued support from key stakeholders is required for completion of the project. Additionally, the steps act as checkpoints for determining the need for the next step. If the client and AmEagle determine that the project should not continue, the checkpoint provides a convenient and logical termination point.
Each deliverable is constructed in the style necessary to satisfy the champions of the project. The deliverable can be a comprehensive document or a summarized list of findings. AmEagle will use whatever method best conveys the information for rapid acceptance and progress to the next step. Working within the culture of a client's organization is an important quality of AmEagle's methodology.
Step 1: Project Scope Definition
To be effective, American Eagle Group must understand the overall scope of the project. By establishing the desires and goals of the client, AmEagle can work towards that end for a satisfying result. Although this step does not take much time, it is the basis for a successful relationship with the client and solution that meets the client's needs. Both parties sign off on the document indicating clear acceptance of expectations and success criteria
Step 2: Business Needs Analysis
Understanding the needs of the business is critical to providing the proper solution. AmEagle feels there are four audiences that must be considered for a proper solution recommendation: the end-user, the administrator, the accountants, and the executives. Each plays a vital role in the acceptance and determination of the final solution.
AmEagle uses a variety of methods in order to gather the business needs. Some of the methods include one-on-one interviews, focus groups, surveys (either electronically or written), and informal discussion groups. The goal of this step is to generate as many ideas and need statements as possible without any type of judgment. Validation of ideas will come later.
AmEagle focuses on both today's needs and tomorrow's visions. Both timeframes are critical in determining a successful solution to the project. Due to the typical timeframe of these types of projects and the rapid evolution of our industry, a keen eye towards both times is critical for success.
Step 3: Business Requirements and Drivers
Working with the client, AmEagle will help determine the business requirement and drivers for the project. Are the drivers revenue producing or cost savings? What business reason will cause acceptance of the new solution? What is the business justification for change?
The business requirements and drivers help solidify the concept of the future. Coupled with the needs gathered in step 2, AmEagle can help the client create a flexible environment that quickly adjusts to changes in technologies (e.g., the advent and impact of the Internet/Intranets on current messaging systems).
AmEagle believes in the Triple Constraints to any project: Scope, Time, Money. It also holds to the fact that one of the constraints is the strongest of the three, a.k.a., the driver constraint. One constraint is the weak constraint. The order of constraint strength is document for future reference and understanding.
Step 4: Project Specification Development
Using the information gained from the previous steps, AmEagle constructs the Project Specification for the project. Each function is tied back to the expressed need or requirement. The direct reference to the need or requirement eliminates the "scope creep" that many projects experience. In the final analysis, the client achieves the project's goals without paying for unnecessary features and functionality.
Step 5: Project Plan Development and Team Selection
The high level architectural design is independent of any specific product. It is the roadmap that shows where various technologies must be employed in order to meet the expressed needs and requirements. It helps determine which products are candidates for assessment in building the final solution. Just as an architect can draw the plans for a building without too much consideration of building material, the high level architectural design shows the framework of the solution. The building materials are determined later.
Step 6: Project Initiation with resources applied
AmEagle will suggest several products that, at first glance, will meet the client's needs. These products must be evaluated and piloted to determine a proper fit. AmEagle uses a tool that they developed to help "score" products for adherence to the Functional Specification developed earlier. Using weighted scores, the client and AmEagle can determine quickly the best solution.
In many cases, the client will need to use several vendors' products to meet all the expressed needs. For example, they may use one vendor's groupware and messaging software, another's calendaring product, and a third vendor's directory service. AmEagle will help the client piece the puzzle together using the high level architectural design to ensure a proper fit.
Step 8: Stakeholder communication
The final architectural design makes all the necessary adjustments and specifies the building material for the project. This detailed design is used to develop the implementation plan, migration plans, and roll-out timeframes.
Step 9: Migration and Roll-out Strategy
Migrating from current systems to the new system is a time-consuming and fragile process. Proper planning up front helps smooth the transition so that interruption to services is minimized. The strategy includes order of transition, philosophy in transition (something as simple as converting old messages to new formats vs. eliminating old messages must be decided), and timeframes.
Step 10: Implementation
Implementation of the new system must be planned and coordinated with the implementation team. Depending on the products selected, SME's may be required to perform the work. In other cases, AmEagle may provide consultants to do the work. A third option is to use client personnel trained by either AmEagle consultants or other SME's.
Step 11: Training
A key to any successful project is actual use of the solution. In order to achieve the most benefit from the new system, administrators and end-users must be trained on the new software. Many clients skimp on this area of the project without realizing that they are actually diminishing their return on investment. AmEagle can aid in training or suggest other channels for alternative training.
Step 12: Mid-Course Adjustments and Planning
Because our industry is moving so rapidly and typical projects last longer than the current "Web year," AmEagle would be remiss to not provide mid-course adjustments and planning as new technologies became available. Either the new technology would provide a better fit to the needs statements, or the advent of new technologies identifies dormant needs or sparks new opportunities. By being flexible, AmEagle can help the client capitalize on those changes to provide a complete solution for its users.
Deliverable: Awareness Statements of New Technologies and Its Impact on Project
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