Member of MVC Consulting’s Senior Advisory Team Attains Scrum Master Certification

OAK BROOK, Ill., May 18, 2016 – As part of their commitment to meeting the ever-changing needs of our clients and the marketplace, MVC Consulting announced today that Senior Program Manager Dayton Kishimoto has earned his Certified Scrum Master (CSM) designation.

Kishimoto was trained by Mike Beedle, co-author of the Agile Manifesto and one of the country’s leading Agile strategists. This is just one more notable achievement in Kishimoto’s accomplished career which has spanned over 30 years and countless projects.

“We are proud of Dayton’s accomplishment,” says Mark Stroh, COO of MVC Consulting.  “As new software development methodologies, such as Agile, gain industry acceptance, we continue to invest in our team.  Dayton’s certification demonstrates our commitment to meet our client’s highly visible program management needs.”

Scrum is a well-known agile development method that provides a simple project management framework for organizing teams and their approach to system development. Agile’s benefits include improved quality, better opportunity for midcourse corrections, and improved customer satisfaction. Scrum’s relevance to the field of project management is further demonstrated by its continued popularity: “Scrum is far and away the most widely adopted flavor of Agile…For teams that have struggled to make accurate estimates or adapt to changes to the backlog, the attraction of Scrum isn’t just velocity” said Tom Grant and Diego Lo Giudice, Analysts for Forrester.

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About MVC Consulting

For over 30 years, MVC Consulting has provided highly qualified program management and IT consulting services in the Chicagoland area. Our clients include leading pharmaceutical, insurance, distribution and manufacturing organizations. Our program managers lead highly complex projects, often integrating activities from both internal and external teams, resulting in on time and on budget delivery. We are a certified women owned business. Learn more at www.mvcconsulting.com

Press Contact

Name: Kelly Burke

Mobile: 847.687.8976

Email: kelly.burke@mvcconsulting.com

The Delphi Technique, Why It’s Important and When to Use It

By: Dan Creinin

I had the opportunity to spend some time with Jim Stanton (one of his claims to fame is working on the Apollo lunar landing module.  Yes that one).  He shared a story about how the team overcame some of the challenges about gaining consensus on some project’s complex issues.  The term that he used was “The Delphi Technique”.  Being curious, I went to the source of all truth to find out what it was.

What Is It?

In looking at the various definitions (and there were many), the one that seems to best describe it is found in Wikipedia:

“The Delphi method is a structured communication technique or method, originally developed as a systematic, interactive forecasting method which relies on a panel of experts.”

The Delphi Technique’s (aka the Delphi Methodology) application centers around anonymously gathering information at an organization’s ground level.  There are many survey organizations that enable organizations this. I have personally used a number of these applications in an attempt to anonymously gather and report both broad and specific cultural issues.  They have yielded some great results, in that these tools highlighted cultural oversights that were easily addressed.

Why It’s Important

Looking beyond culture, this technique has use for a given project or initiative.  By appropriately structuring the survey, the Delphi Technique answers the following questions:

  1. Is everything going well on a given project or process (and why/why not)
  2. What are other issues that we don’t know about that we need to address

In a typical organization, when executives want to understand the status of a given project, they may speak with their direct reports.  These conversations will yield a small subset of issues that need to be addressed, and, may mask some of the larger issues that directly affect the project’s success.

Anonymously gathering information through anonymous surveys across a larger population provides a more accurate and meaningful response.  This ultimately accomplishes the two objectives above much more efficiently versus interviews with a small group of direct reports.

When To Use It

There are three basic times when the Delphi Technique can be effectively applied:

  1. Sideways – When a project is going sideways, it is critical to find out why. Doing so anonymously enables open and honest conversations.  The key element is making sure that management is not interested in WHO is providing the information, but, using the information to make appropriate decisions.
  2. Beginning – Gathering information before a given initiative takes place can yield some good results. Finding the gaps between the intended goals and some potentially unintended consequences is best determined anonymously.
  3. Ongoing – It is important to not only know what isn’t working, but, to also know what is working well so that you can replicate it throughout the organization.

Conclusion

Upon wrapping up my conversation with Jim, I asked him about how NASA got to getting a man on the moon and bringing him home.  His answer was quite simple.  He loved his job, felt part of a much larger purpose, and felt that if he was not there, that he was letting someone else down by not delivering what he committed to.  While not every organization is tasked with historic objectives like a moon landing, I think that most people would like to feel that kind of passion about the teams they are on, their co-workers and the projects they are asked to complete, and to guarantee their project’s success.  The Delphi Technique is one way to help organizations achieve those goals.

Next Steps

MVC Consulting implements this technique with our Project Healthcheck service.  This service provides the following deliverables using a modified Delphi Technique:

  1. Understands the stated goals of a project, whether in flight or proposed, and creates a survey to anonymously gather information about the project.
  2. Sends the survey out to the targeted stakeholders and teams implementing the project.
  3. Provides results analysis, and potential additional information to be gathered.

To learn more about this service, please contact us through our home page, http://mvcconsulting.com/contact-us/

Using a SaaS Data Integration Framework

One of the areas that CIO’s constantly struggle with is how to integrate disparate programs that weren’t originally designed with integration in mind. I have personally dealt with these problems both as a former CIO and later as a consulting partner.  The rapid move to SaaS has solved some problems but has allowed the integration problem to continue and in some ways get worse. Software-as-a-service vendors have struggled to find a good way to integrate their apps with those made by other vendors in addition to the problem of integrating with legacy applications. David Lithicum has pointed out that “As more enterprises move their applications to SaaS, there is a growing need for SaaS-to-SaaS integration,” “Unfortunately, as customers are requesting this, many of the SaaS providers are stumped for an answer; beyond [hiring] a bunch of developers and hoping for the best. Too often, this approach creates expensive and “cumbersome architectures that lack agility”.

Integration with legacy enterprise applications is often made more challenging by the fact that it is an afterthought for many organizations. SaaS creates silos of customers’ information in the cloud in the SaaS vendors’ data centers. “You typically want to integrate with your data center, and you have to figure out how to make that integration occur … [which] needs to happen even before you pick your SaaS,” said Blue Mountain Labs founder and CTO David Linthicum.

Given the customization work that’s involved in integrating on-premises apps and data with Software as a Service (SaaS) apps, it can cost between $80,000 and $100,000 and six to twelve months to move data, not to mention programming in the workflows necessary to automate the process between SaaS apps.

There’s an expectation that moving to a SaaS-based solution is going to solve all of an enterprise’s problems, and they’re shocked when they see what it will cost.

That is what drove our decision to partner with a SaaS tool vendor, Azuqua, that has built a software and workflow scripting solution that can solve the integration issue at a fraction of the cost and time required to do the same thing using expensive custom programming services.