In the present time the 90-90 rule and other variations are still alive: The first 90 percent of the code accounts for the first 90 percent of the development time. The remaining 10 percent of the code accounts for the other 90 percent of the development time.
Often used jokingly among the IT-crowd, it still holds value in estimations and operations of nowadays projects. This often leads to last-minute pressure in the finishing stage of IT projects. This blog outlines how to reduce the 90-90 rule and ensure smooth and focused project run phases.
The reverse Engineering loop
The last 10% of any project can cause surprises when it has been shown that the business process has not been modelled or outlined entirely. Often a business process specification only outlines the happyflow: everything within the process has been executed flawlessly, all data was complete and all involved parties performed exactly how it was expected.
What is unaccounted for is the fact that no process runs 100% in the happy flow, there are always outliers. What often happens in the development process is that each outlier is being viewed as a part of the business process that needs to be supported. The project then switches to reverse engineering: the business process is being evaluated again and expanded while developments extend to support the new cases and discover new ones while testing. This creates a loop where each of the parties are feeding each other additional work and hence adhering to the 90-90 rule. This way of operation within a project often causes the loss of making concrete decisions:
Is the outlier really a persistent part of the business process?
What is the added complexity and does it justify towards operations?
Does the process remain stable while being future proof?
Break from the loop: business process analysis
The loop has to be broken right from the start of the project by incorporating Business Analysts to map out the process in conjunction with all stakeholders. This ensures that the process is:
Sound: it does not contain states which block the entire execution
Well structured: all conditions in the process are opened and closed properly
These are the foundations of Business Process Modelling; while the standardized notation allows an intuitive insight in the outline, the validation of the quality and consistency is equally important.
In addition to the detailing, both happy and non-happy flows need to be covered. In case of any exception, what needs to be done to catch and (re-)process? Which steps need to be taken to get insights in the frequency and characteristics of exceptions? These activities are vital, allowing to incorporate the right people at the start of the project and actively engaging them in shaping well-designed business processes.
Keep the loop out: data mapping
Any business process will contain mandatory and optional data, often varying per actor and involved system. A data mapping will contain a complete overview for each field in the data model: how to validate data, is the data required and for who/which system and how to transform content per actor/system. The data mapping ties business-, functional- and technical stakeholders together to discuss and decide on the final data model. This is a highly efficient method of approach greatly contributing to the business process mapping.
Do not go back: monitor and act
The decision whether outlier data needs to be supported by a business process is required to be backed up by operational data. Insights in the frequency and type of outliers together with the effort required to reprocess and the impact on the business process complexity are drivers that support the decision how to go forward. This approach ensures stability while adhering to the required flexibility in operating nowadays IT landscapes.
At Acorel we apply the Healthy Data Flows approach to ensure operational stable processes that are flexible and future-proof. We use the Acorel Monitoring Toolkit to ensure the complete processing of data while giving insight in the well-being of the integrated landscape. Want to move the healthy data flow through your systems? Get in touch!