Before we build anything, we first Collect, Analyze, Review, and Evaluate. Data and
information is collected and analyzed using
(see also the 5 whys).
The results are reviewed and possible solutions evaluated based on estimated cost and return on investment. Two to three solutions are considered (more than this results in analysis paralysis) and the most promising solution is forwarded to the next stage.
The CARE acronym is a happy coincidence; during this stage, we must focus on and care about the outcome as subsequent stages represent increasing investments of time and money.
discover and define
The second stage serves to
specify the solution
with the objective of confirming value, establish more accurate costs, and identify the potential risks.
The value, cost, and risk (VCR) is compared to the expected return on investment. If the solution is viable -- ROI exceeds VCR -- the documentation is forwarded to the next two stages.
If the solution is not viable, the specification can be modified until an acceptable ROI is reached, or we may return to the possible solutions identified during stage one and repeat this second stage with a different set of assumptions.
build and test
Next, the solution is built and tested over multiple iterations. This
may be improving business processes,
creating a software integration,
building-custom-software -- or
some combination thereof. The specified solution, along with the corresponding value
objective, is the driver for this stage.
Educating stakeholders is a key, but often overlooked, step in delivering positive change. Informed stakeholders participate in change -- rather than having change simply happen to them.
deploy and release
The final stage launches or releases the specified solution into common use. This includes
the "early life" support of the solution as well as promoting the solution to customers
Live deployment also means maintaining and supporting the solution into the future, and collecting issues and ideas for future improvement of the product.