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Importance of Prototying in Package Implementation- I

Catching on latest happenings in LinkedIn; reading through some wonderful posts and getting involved in discussions have been some of my favorite unwinding lately. The guys out here are really cool, there is a lot to learn from them. The knowledge they possess, the experience they have and the way they articulate things have been inspiring. Read a comment from Biju Varughese recently on how a wrongly done requirements gathering could be a precursor to a painful IT Implementation. Actually Biju's note resonated with folks I met recently during a recent customer meet. They had concerns on how requirements are destined for frequent changes. While the folks discussed emphatically on how requirements are changed as late as User Acceptance test, I actually got tele-transported back to my stint in a process optimization exercise at one of the largest utility companies. I would like to share this bit of my tryst with you in a hope that it would add value to your projects.
The meetings were scheduled in one of the busiest conference room at the customer location. On the commencing day the cold weather was adding to my anxiety of addressing a full house- a team of thirty odd subject matter experts from different business functions across the utility. The plan was to have meetings for a period of four weeks to collate and finalize the requirements. This followed by the mapping the requirements to  "best of breed" package application and be ready for the big profile to-be sessions thereafter. The requirement analysis exercise ended well, not before I partially lost my voice on the very next day of the session requiring a kind hearted soul to offer me a microphone so that I am audible to everyone for the rest of the sessions. My confidence rose all the more when we successfully presented the To-Be design and secured the signoff to start with the build. To me, covering and finalizing the whopping list of work management requirements which included a comment which read "the current processes are clunky!" was in itself an achievement. Such a comment was a natural outcome of these folks dealing with complex process day in and out. Now before you folks remind me to I start talking about the prototype model, which is the topic you actually wanted to read about, I would like tell you that this blog is not about technicalities of "Prototyping", I will be beating this topic to death otherwise. Instead I would like to present some human aspect of it, as for any model to sustain, I think it needs to align to how people think.
The project entered the build phase and the development team started with mapping the requirements into the package. With the team managing to complete it on time, every face around was a smiling one. However, when the SMEs got a first look at the deliverable, they realized that one of the development tracks-the aplication workflow, did not meet their expectations. The workflow was required to essentially automate processes across the business functions and incorporate all the business rules and roles stated in the requirements.  A seamless implementation of the workflow engine would have ensured that it streamlined the end to end work management process enabling standardization and adherence. This was a core area where most of the folks found the challenges with.Analysing the past, we made some realizations on why things turned up the way they did 
Please read my two realizations, which I think made the difference

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