When investing in software capabilities for your customers and end users, take the shortest, safest, most effective path to supporting the unique needs of your business. Ripple Effect Solutions follows a proven best-practice process that produces a visual contextual framework of your requirements. This results in improved communication, enhanced stakeholder engagement, more accurate software capability deliverables and a solid foundation for ongoing continual improvement.

 

Here is how we minimize risk and save you money:

Step 1

Communicate Key Concepts

Too often in software projects, resources are spent delivering capabilities that are not important to your business or customers. Unclear scope and lack of business expert engagement, buy-in and sense of ownership are the most common causes of IT project failure. The first step in the Ripple Effect Solution process is to articulate, document, communicate and establish a shared understanding of the key concepts and objectives for the project. These will serve as the top-level drivers for elaborating the details of the highest priority business needs.

 

Ripple Effect Solutions uses visualization techniques to communicate concepts and complexities instead of text-heavy documentation that usually is not studied and well understood by key business experts who are super busy. This step optimizes and strengthens learning and communication among all project stakeholders. Our diagrams and models serve as a framework for capturing details of requirements during discussions and workshops.

We work with your business sponsors and experts to:

 

  • Quickly articulate and communicate vision and business improvement concepts

  • Engage with your experts to leverage their input and encourage buy-in

  • Achieve agreement on the high-value objectives to focus your investment and drive capability development and delivery

  • Iterate progressively in a series of review sessions to validate key concepts and project scope

  • Establish a shared understanding of project expectations, value and scope across stakeholders

  • Establish a contextual framework for elicitation and documentation of your highest value requirements

Step 2

Analyze and Model Improved Processes to Establish Business Context

Whether for your cloud customers, your own operational end users, or both, this step provides unparalleled insight into the ability of your customers and end users to achieve their objectives in an optimal way and establishes the process context for analyzing, identifying, documenting and communicating business needs.

We spend time embedded with your end user and operational experts modeling processes to:

 

  • Establish a business-oriented mechanism to analyze, elaborate, articulate, document and communicate your requirements

  • Create context to focus, orient and frame discussions

  • Identify pain points and bottlenecks

  • Optimize business expert time and input

  • Visualize and communicate desired future state processes

  • Clarify roles, responsibilities, key functionality and data

  • Reveal areas and topics that require additional clarity and discovery

  • Empower experts to anticipate, prepare for, and lead business change

Step 3

Inventory and Prioritize System Capabilities

Once new processes are well understood, the most valuable supporting capabilities become more evident. Now, by examining the process steps, we identify function and interaction points. Each capability, or 'use case', describes functionality that produces value and identifies supporting operational roles. It is critical for all key business stakeholders to agree on the name, description and roles for each capability. Later, this capability model is used to assess the value produced and the technical impact, architectural significance and cost. It forms the framework for further requirement elaboration provides an inventory on a prioritized project road-map. The highest value items can  proceed into development in an iterative fashion to test capabilities early and remove risk associated with delaying until all requirements are specified.

 

This is a non-IT, business-driven conversation that we conduct with your business stakeholders. It is highly intuitive and allows for immediate engagement to leverage business expertise and input.

We model the capabilities of the system to:

 

  • Identify functional points where people will interact with the system

  • Further define the boundary and scope of the project

  • Gain approval, engagement and buy-in from stakeholders 

  • Encourage visual conversations about resources and support for the future process

  • Describe and understand the core functionality of each capability

  • Inventory and prioritize capabilities

  • Formulate a road-map of capability releases

  • Formulate estimates of project duration and costs

  • From each use case, step-by-step scenarios are described and included within the functional specification (see below)

Step 4

Prototype Screen Mock-ups and Interactive Simulations

The most powerful technique to produce accurate software is to try out an interactive simulation or static mock-ups (i.e., wireframes) before spending money and time to build the system. Doing this is engaging for stakeholders and is extremely valuable in identifying and communicating data items, logic, calculations and functional mechanisms to technical teams in a highly contextual manner. You might think of this as the ability to use the very first version of the system while it is still cheap and easy to change! It’s easy and fun for business experts to envision how they would use the system, and this provides a valuable opportunity to leverage that knowledge to make corrections early in the life-cycle. This is a gold mine of requirements that empowers engineers to design and build the right solution, and make more informed decisions and far fewer assumptions. Creative and intelligent IT teams rarely hesitate to assume things when the business answers are unclear or undefined. The more clarity and understanding around the objectives the better! A visually oriented methodology is unsurpassed in quickly providing accurate input into programming, thus minimizing risk, time, costs and errors.   

We model human interaction points with the system to:

 

  • Easily engage and leverage your key business stakeholder expertise

  • Define the navigation and experience for end users and customers to achieve their objectives

  • Illustrate values, structures and functional details

  • Simulate the experience on mobile and laptop environments

  • Try a very first version of your solution to make many improvements before building your software

  • Communicate the most accurate requirements to technical teams

Rapid prototyping can minimize the need for many of the other Ripple Effect Solution steps by easily engaging business experts in a robust simulation of the solution. It is extremely valuable when complex interactions and navigation are needed and helps to accurately and effectively communicate functionality, intent, and data needs.

 

A great analogy comes from the building industry. Imagine what you could learn by walking through a virtual reality model of a building and spatially experience the proximity of doorways, windows, rooms. appliances and furniture before you build it...and for a tiny fraction of the end cost? Imagine all the changes that would be desired after such a model is explored by you and your stakeholders. When you add the inevitable cost of an iteration of changes, you can easily see how you come out ahead, with more accurate results, when prototyping techniques are applied. 

Step 5

Describe Details of Functionality, Data, and Business Rules as a Software Requirements Specification

Although giant leaps in understanding can be communicated through visual models, text is needed to describe the details within the requirements framework that we have established. Throughout the Ripple Effect Solutions analysis process, we develop a specification that captures details from discussions and serves as your ongoing bridge from business to IT. Requirements are described and communicated within a 'visual drill-down' format that traces the details directly to business value and process. From this we establish a product backlog that forms the basis of your road-map going forward, frames future release analysis efforts and can be applied to training and used to assess impact of change. The Ripple Effect Solutions analyst will meet with technical team members to communicate the requirements and ensure that the software functionality is well understood and will accurately meet the expectations of the business. RES analysts are experienced in software development to ensure that technical design meets business needs.

Throughout the requirements elicitation, development and ratification process all the details from each step of the Ripple Effect Solutions are captured within context as supplemental text:

 

  • Concepts

Details of each concept that form the basis of the project scope and business needs are captured, reviewed, agreed and communicated

  • Process Models

Each step in the future process is detailed to include key data, activities, supporting information and expert commentary​

  • Capability Model

Descriptions of all capabilities supporting the future business process steps​ and the objectives

  • Scenario Details

Each capability is described as one or more series of sequential steps that work together to achieve the goal and value including:​

- triggers

- how the system responds to user actions

- functional mechanisms and business logic

- algorithms and calculations

- pre-conditions

- alternative paths

- business rules

- post conditions

  • Mock-ups and Simulations

    • Supplemented with detailed write-ups describing the functionality, navigation, data and objectives

    • For prototypes, many details will be incorporated visually into the interactive simulation which is far more self-evident. Descriptions of the navigation (i.e. a site map) will be included as well as all textual information needed to fully understand and interact with the prototype

    • Source files are provided from Justinmind prototyping tool 

From Here...

On your own, using your (new) product owner experts, or through extended consulting engagement you will be positioned to:

 

  • Maintain Road Map - Inventory, prioritize and plan your software capability release cycles. In fact, delivery of the most important capabilities could already be well underway during the Ripple Effect Solution process using an 'Agile' approach

  • Maintain Product and Agile Sprint Backlog and User Stories. Ripple Effect Solutions uses the 'Gherkin' format to specify stories to drive development and quality testing sprints and will conduct 'grooming' sessions with engineers as needed: 

    • Given a state (e.g., a soda machine has amount deposited greater than the cost)​

    • When an event occurs (e.g a beverage is dispensed)

    • Then a result (e.g. then correct amount of change is dispensed)