Friday, November 27, 2009

Memories of IT - mid 90's - Activity Based Costing and Functional Decompositions

Other stuff was happening in the 90’s, things like Business Process Re-Engineering, and Business Process Improvement. Crown Life got into a specific approach called Activity Based Costing (ABC), where you defined and broke down your overall process a few levels so that you figure what different parts did and what they cost. Each business unit had done this, and when I saw them, I said “great, these are Functional Decompositions.”

When I joined the Individual Insurance package project, I learned they had used their ABC decomposition to evaluate packages, and it was a good decomposition, functional not organizational. As I still had a licence for IEF, I put that decomp into IEF, as part of learning about the business before doing real work. What I found out, however, was that no data requirements had been defined, a big piece of the puzzle that was missing.

Turns out I had about a month after I joined the project before some real work started, so I said I would use the time to get up to speed. I said, do we have documentation on the package that I can read? Yes, we did, look in this LAN folder. In there I found table definitions for all the package's data, with foreign keys defined. I said to myself, I can reverse-engineer this stuff to build a data model to align with the func decomp, and I will have a great picture of the business, an actual Information Architecture.

So, that’s what I started, and started learning about the package too.

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About Me

Ontario, Canada
I have been an IT Business Analyst for 25 years, so I must have learned something. Also been on a lot of projects, which I have distilled into the book "Cascade": follow the link to the right to see more.