Saturday, March 10, 2012

Ad Hoc Software Trial to a Formalized POC

I have been involved in many ad hoc enterprise software proof-of-concepts (POC) that instead of being a tactical step in the evaluation and selection process, it has become an executive driven activity to be executed by the technical team with little guidance. Surprisingly, in many cases, a vague, just test the product is all that is provided. My best practice opinion based on successful POCs where I have spectated, participated, initiated, or executed the review are provided in the high level guideline below:

POC Guideline:

  1. Prepare a clear list of business requirements
  2. Map the business requirements to the technical functionality to be reviewed
  3. Identify the critical factors and prioritize the rest
  4. Define a scoring system and accommodate for both quantitative and qualitative criteria
  5. Associate the relative importance of the scoring groups and/or individuals who will be part of the evaluation process
  6. Where groups are involved, a consolidated scoring process should be used
  7. Have a final report generated to document the process, factors of consideration, scoring, people and groups involved, the results, and the outcome.

This should help ensure a structured review process, scoring system, appropriate participation, and provide the supporting documentation which could be very instrumental in a project review and audit after a selection is made.

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