An analysis of the Highlight Insurance sales process reveals the details outlined in Figure 3.1.
Figure 3.1: Sales process at Highlight Insurance
Here's the short story: Highlight's in-house underwriters make
Highlight's current process has several problems. First, it's too labor-
The process is also
Another issue is that Highlight's current process doesn't handle direct sales. The company's Web site could let potential customers print request forms for
The process also has technical problems that are magnified by the complexity of software update, which includes coding (with technical code preparation on the mainframe), plus various kinds of testing, plus fixes and retesting as needed. After the code is correct, developers promote it from a test environment to a production environment, where the promoted code is
The main technical problems are twofold. First, existing applications combine different kinds of logic (
Technical problems have business implications. The excessive effort needed to update and test software
As you collect requirements, and even as you build a new business process, make the assumptions explicit and present them to technical and business personnel alike, in writing. Your goals are
to specify the purpose of each application
to identify which
to clarify which departments and personnel have which responsibilities during the project
to address issues that may lead to conflict
to help decision-
to have a record that can be useful when people later ask what the rationale was for a given decision
If you fail to identify assumptions, you're likely to present a solution that needs
Assumptions can concern a variety of issues, including
standards of measurement, with decisions such as:
Monetary values are in dollars.
Timestamps reflect Coordinated Universal Time.
scope of effort, with decisions such as:
Fee collection is outside of scope.
Underwriters are responsible for setting
quality of service, with decisions such as:
Service A must be available 99 percent of the time.
The application must be able to support 1,000 requesters concurrently.
After you list assumptions, you'll discover that some don't apply to your project at all. That's normal. You'd do well to consider many issues even if you later ignore a few.