"Moving right along," said Dan, looking at his agenda. "In some cases, the design process can take weeks or even months. For RMS, we're going to try to complete it in three meetings. Today, we've got to complete Conceptual Design to stay on schedule. Fortunately," he continued, as Jane stood up, "Jane has done some of the work ahead of time, so we have a good chance at completing this today."
Jane passed out stacks of papers to each team member. "The first step under Conceptual Design is research, which includes key processes and activities, as well as user profiles. I gathered this information and tried to organize it as best I could." She sat back down. "The second step is analysis, which involves reviewing the research information and coming up with scenarios to cover all the use cases discovered in the research step, as well as descriptions of other data, like the physical environment in which the process takes place. I've tried to write the scenarios, but I'm sure they need some refinement."
"Wow, Jane, this is a bunch of work!" exclaimed Tim. "You've sure saved us a lot of time."
"Marilou helped, especially with the user profiles," said Jane.
Dan flipped through the well-organized documents. "You both deserve a big thanks. When I started you on this a few weeks ago, I had no idea you'd be able to take the work this far. Excellent job." Jane and Marilou both smiled.
"OK, folks, let's dig into this." The team spent the next 45 minutes working through the material and finalizing the scenarios. At the end of that time, Dan said, "That's the last one—I think we're done," and everyone sat back, relaxing.
Finally Marta said, "I hate to mention this, since it seems as if we're at a stopping point, but isn't there another step in Conceptual Design? Something about optimization?"
Dan nodded. "Yes, there is. I'm sitting here, debating whether or not to do it now. Let me describe it, and then you can tell me if you think there is more work to do." Briefly, he explained the optimization step. "Do any of the scenarios need optimization?" he asked. "In other words, do you want to do a future-state version in addition to the current-state scenario we just completed?"
For a moment, no one spoke. Then Tim said, "Well, the only one I can think of is the one for generating a time sheet. I think the current process is unwieldy, and it could be much better. If RMS doesn't deal with that, I think most people will see it as a failure."
Bill nodded. "Let's do it now, folks. Better now while the use cases are still fresh." The team spent another 20 minutes working through not only the time sheet scenario, but also the scenarios for resource assignment and invoice printing.
Dan asked for the tenth time, "Any more changes?" No one spoke up. "Alright, then, we're done with that for now." Dan pushed himself up from his chair and moved to the credenza.
"What do you mean, for now? Will we have to come back and do this again?" said Tim, his voice rising slightly.
"I doubt that we will on this project, Tim," said Dan as he laid out stacks of material on the credenza. "RMS isn't that complex, even though it is important. But there is always the possibility that we'll learn something later that will force us to come back and redo this part. If we have to, we have to. Remember, we'd rather spend the time getting it right in the Planning Phase than starting over Developing or Stabilizing." Dan finished putting out material and turned to the group. "Here's your reading material for the weekend. It explains Logical Design and Physical Design in greater detail. Be sure to read it before Monday morning's meeting. And for those of you who haven't yet read the first set, you need to read that, too, just so you're on the same page as the rest of us." He looked pointedly at Tim.
"It's going to be a long weekend," sighed Tim, putting his head down on the table.
"Not for me," said Bill, standing to gather his things. "I'm going fishing." He patted Tim on the shoulder as he moved to the credenza to pick up his material. "I'll just prop that pole on the transom, prop my feet on the rail, and read this stuff while I catch my limit."
"Sounds like a plan, Chief," said Dan, handing material to the others as they left. "By the way, don't forget our meeting Monday afternoon with the EA team."
"I can't hardly wait—and I hope you caught the double negative."
"I see he's met Kevin Kennedy," said Marilou to Jane as they walked out of the room.