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This chapter is from the book

Why RUP and Rational Solutions?

RUP has repeatedly proven its value in the industry by delivering significant returns on investment (ROI) to the companies and organizations that have adopted it. I add the caveat that RUP, like any other improved process implementation, is going to be challenging, to say the least. These implementations are cultural changes and, as such, are not trivial tasks. Getting quantitative results and solid returns on investment does take effort. By reading this book, you will arm yourself with the knowledge to set the stage for success.

If you are at a point where you realize that your company could improve its software development processes, or you need one in its absence, along with a set of development tools that automate that process in order to help the organization reach a higher level of efficiency, you need to prepare your case on why you are offering RUP and the Rational tools as a solution. Why? Because you will be asked: “So what are RUP and the new tools you are talking about, and why do we need them?” Be prepared to give an appropriate response, whether that is a 30-second elevator pitch or a five-minute vision statement. A rule of thumb from John Kotter’s books The Heart of Change and Leading Change1 is that a vision driving a change initiative must be able to be described in five minutes or less and get a reaction that signifies both understanding and interest. If you cannot express such a vision, you are heading for big trouble. The goal of bringing in a new process or improving upon an existing one is to change behavior; you need to be able to paint a picture of the future with some implicit or explicit commentary on why the person you are interacting with should strive to create that future along with you. As you progress through the lifecycle of instantiating a new process and set of supporting tools, you will need both a strategy and a vision. The strategy shows how to achieve your vision, whereas the vision shows an end state where all the plans and strategies will eventually take the company. A vision should be able to be described in an elevator ride and hallway discussion, where a strategy might take a lunch discussion or hour-long meeting. Let’s start with looking at how you can draft a vision (strategy will be covered in Chapter 6, “Implementation Approach”).

The following comes from The Heart of Change2 for creating the right vision to guide action in all of the remaining stages of change:

  • What Works:
    • Trying to see literally-possible future scenarios
    • Visions that are so clear that they can be articulated in one minute
    • Visions that are moving—such as commitment to a shared set of goals
    • Paying careful attention to the strategic question of how quickly to introduce change
  • What Does Not Work:
    • Assuming that lines or logical plans and budgets alone adequately guide initial behavior when you’re trying to initiate a leap into the future
    • Overly analytic, financially-based vision exercises
    • Visions of slashing costs, which can be emotionally depressing and anxiety creating when people tie that to head count reduction
    • Giving people fifty-four logical reasons why they need to create strategies that are bolder than they have ever created before

An example of a clearly articulated vision that can be expressed in less than a minute in an elevator or expanded to a five-minute hallway conversation and has proven very effective in one of my implementations, is as follows:

  • We need to leverage software development to improve our business performance. Closely aligning business, development and operations, and automation of our activities will enable us to identify and work toward a shared set of business goals. We will implement a new process solution, Rational Unified Process (RUP for short), and the IBM Rational Solutions.That will take us from our current state of varying software development processes and tools to a single, configurable software development process solution that is an industry standard, delivering proven key principles for business-driven development and a configurable process framework, as well as a complete, fully integrated solution platform for developing software and software-based systems for our end-to-end software development initiatives. We must balance process with tools; the Rational Unified Process and IBM Rational Solutions have been developed so they are integral to one another. Taking into account the lessons learned in past initiatives of new process or new tools, which have never been in concert, the implementation of combined process and tools will greatly reduce the opportunity for adding process that cannot or will not be supported by tools without significant overhead.

This example follows the sprit of Kotter’s guidance. It paints a picture of where the company needs to go, where it is, and where it has been. It is a vision that all levels can identify with, quickly grasp, and buy into.

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