Chapter 10. Business–IT Collaboration

In every IT project, different roles need to collaborate. Collaboration is the most crucial aspect of projects. It impacts the development effort, the resulting quality, and the time to value. In short, it is the critical success factor. But as the Wikipedia entry on business–IT alignment notes:

IT and business professionals are often unable to bridge the gap between themselves because of differences in objectives, culture, and incentives and a mutual ignorance for the other group’s body of knowledge. This rift generally results in expensive IT systems that do not provide adequate return on investment.

This chapter dives into the subject of collaboration. It:

  • Describes a typical project and the roles involved, to establish a common understanding and vocabulary

  • Shows how visual models help to improve collaboration, not only between business and IT but also between IT and IT

  • Provides some guidance on creating process models that can be better understood by various stakeholders

A Typical Project

Let’s return to the imaginary ShipByButton (SBB) Inc. project presented back in “A Business Scenario”. Assume that SBB started with that idea four years ago and set up a quick-and-dirty PHP application (note that most parts of this story wouldn’t differ much if it were instead an insurance company that’s a hundred years old and uses a large mainframe monolith). The PHP application served the company well in the beginning when going to market, ...

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