23. June 2005 20:19
I'm getting shipped off to Boise, ID next week for two to three days. I'll be capturing the business rules - the if this happens, then this has to happen - in a flow charting software app.
There will be a group of clients, me, a business analyst, and a moderator. The three of us will sit in a room with the client, the analyst and moderator will ask questions like, "When Trynt takes the data and puts it in the spreadsheet, what does he do with it next?" And the customer will answer, "At the end of the week, he then prints it out and gives one copy to Peter to file, and faxes a copy to the HQ for filing there." Then I'll draw some little boxes and arrows in the flow charting software to capture that business rule.
When the three of us get back to our office after the trip, I'll tidy up the charts and hand them over to the other team members. They'll take a look at the tangled mess of business rules and then write a recommendation paper on how to automate and streamline the process. It might go something like:
- Instead of Trynt entering the data into a spreadsheet, he will log into a web application and enter the data there.
- Peter and HQ will be able to get to the most current data anytime they would like by loggin in to the web application and viewing it. They will have read-only access, and will not be able to change any data.
- Instead of Trynt distributing the data, Peter and HQ will be able to print out a report that summarizes the data by week.
I enjoy meeting with clients and figuring out business rules, so I'm looking forward to the trip. I have a talent for working well with clients; I'm good enough, I'm smart enough, and gosh-darn'it, client's like me. I think it is because I show them respect, and I try to act as their advocates (that is, I try to align myself with them rather than with my company). A good sense of humor helps, and warmth of personality. And, I am interested in what they have to say, which helps put them at ease and to talk freely; meaning more productivity. Why, one time a lieutenant commander of the USCG remarked to my boss that the 1/2 day meeting he had with me was the most productive meeting he had ever been to! I cherish comments like that.