Drive design quality by having team members present their work.
It’s initially a bit uncomfortable but once it becomes like a heartbeat in your programme you will wonder how you ever achieved real design quality without it. During a large scale design phase of a waterfall programme it can get very difficult to track all the deliverables and ensure they get signed off on time. We implemented a full day each week when key stakeholders would form a panel and all active documents would be presented in 30 minute slots throughout the day. [1st of 5 paragraphs]
We split the reviews into 50% and 95% progress – the 50% should be an outline of the piece of work required; the key decisions, issues, process diagrams etc. The 95% should be the final deliverable just prior to sign-off and we synchronised this so the 95% review was the week before the 100% was due on the plan. For stakeholders it was a far more efficient use of their time than having different meetings set up by various people for discussions and sign-offs. [2/5]
For team members it was an opportunity to have all key people in a room once a week and get business decisions made literally on the spot. As long as the work had been done and there was evidence of clear and concise thinking these weekly sessions became a catalyst for design quality and progress. Similar to the popular talent shows like X-Factor it was also a process of natural selection; quality and talent improved with each successive round. [3/5]
Even throughout the build and test phases we kept these deliverable reviews going – just about everything on a large waterfall implementation is measured by the sign-off document. Test packs, training material, communications; they all went into the deliverable review sausage machine and it really worked. The value is not so much in each individual session, it’s in the weekly drumbeat that it creates and the transparent approach to entrenching quality across the whole programme. [4/5]
Much like the Japanese Total Quality Management approach, it’s better to build quality at source rather than inspect for it at the end of a process. Once everyone on a programme understands why and how the weekly, 30 minute deliverable reviews lifts everyone’s output it quickly gains traction. If Simon Cowell can put the X-Factor back into the music business, you can use deliverable reviews to do it for your IT implementation. [5/5]