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September - 2007 - issue > Cover Feature
From-concept-to-delivery-our-approach-to-new-IP-development
P.Rangarajan
Monday, September 3, 2007
While the core focus of our company is in delivering services to monitor and manage the IT infrastructure of our customers, we have also been focused on ways to bring in more automation, reduce manual intervention and improve the overall efficiency of the services. As part of this effort we have embarked on a new IP development project that will enable us to deliver on the above stated objectives and add significant value to managing the IT infrastructure of our customers.

The process we are following is similar to many models or frameworks available for a new product development, but with some variations based on our experience in handling new product development. The process steps and the key highlights of each step are explained below:

No eureka! But experience based idea generation

Based on our previous customer interactions we arrived at a hypothesis regarding the gap that exists in the way IT Infrastructure management is being delivered by the present set of tools and processes being used by the customers. We sought to address this gap by building a new set of components or tools – and the idea was debated internally within a core group and put together in the form of a short concept note.
Our experience in building and supporting high volume enterprise class OLTP application is being translated into an intelligent diagnostic tool.

Dip-stick testing

The concept note was then taken to a few lead customers (who are always looking at ways and means to improve their IT performance and leaders in using new technology), consultants, and neutral observers. The concept was explained and their view whether they will buy into this concept was taken. This part is extremely critical as very often we are so enamored by our “we will change the world idea” that we tend to stop listening to the real users. The real users also bring in the business application perspective that is being supported by the IT systems.

Ideation

The feedback from the dip-stick test was then put back into the concept note and this was now expanded into a full fledged solution. This ideation stage again should involve, apart from internal people, some known external people who can value-add in that particular field and who may not have a vested interest in such a development project.

Milestone plan

Based on the output at the ideation stage a milestone based plan was drawn out. The main objective here was to break down the big picture, a big solution into small manageable parts. This is important as it is easier to track, it gives opportunities to make corrections as we go along and it brings in a sense of achievement through some quick wins.

Early adoption customers

The small manageable deliverables are then taken up and implemented onsite with early adopters for actual testing, capturing base-lines, identifying bottlenecks and getting the feel for the real world issues.


Re-validation

The testing with the early adopters gives us the inputs (we are at this stage now!) to do a further round of validation of the concept, fine-tune the assumptions, re-orient the milestone plan if necessary, and move ahead in a positive manner.

Apart from following the above process the critical factors for success in new developments are determined by:

* Clear ownership for the deliverables should be assigned and the right project structure should be created with clarity of responsibilities.
*Continuous monitoring of the status and making necessary adjustments.
*Finally, commitment of proper funds.

He can be reached at prangarajan@vitage.com

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