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Information Resource Development Framework

IRM Guideline 1, Version 1: 094-335
Version Date: 12-1-1994

PURPOSE AND SCOPE
This guideline explains how the information resource development (IRD) management framework for Minnesota government can be used to control IRD. State agencies can use this guideline to improve the quality of their information resources and manage the processes used to develop those information resources. Auditors of agency programs can use it to determine if the agency has adequate planning processes and management controls for their information resource management and development functions.

This guideline is pertinent to all agency efforts to design, construct, modify, improve, purchase, or install information resources. Agencies that follow this guideline and related IRM policies and standards will be in compliance with Minnesota Session Laws - CHAPTER 202-S.F.No. 1905 Article 3 Sec. 7. [16E.01]

MANAGING INFORMATION RESOURCE DEVELOPMENT

IRD MANAGEMENT FRAMEWORK
Information resource development (IRD) is conducted within the framework of IRM phases. The development subset of IRM phases consists of the design, construction and installation. These three development phases are preceded by two prerequisite planning phases -- agency planning and project planning -- and are followed by post-development evaluation.

The "IRD Management Framework" consists of four management functions that manage the development phases: architectural control, methodology control, schedule / resource control and tool management. Each management control function performs an important role in ensuring that the resources produced by the development phases meet expectations.

Deliverables are identified for each development phase during project planning, based on the type of project, its scope, IRM policies, standards and guidelines that apply, and any other relevant criteria. The four management control functions ensure that the quality of these deliverables is maintained throughout development. The relationships between the management framework functions and the development phases.

The Management Framework also facilitates the selection and use of a formal "systems development methodology." Development decisions like selection of tools, development platforms, skill set identification and acquisition, and the selection and use of a specific methodology are the responsibility of agency management. The information resource development management framework provides agency business and technical managers with guidance on what is important to manage in each development phase.

ARCHITECTURAL CONTROL FUNCTION
The architectural control function ensures that information architecture:

  • Exists (or is developed),
  • Is used and adhered to throughout the project phases,
  • Is modified as necessary within the project scope, and
  • Is used as the blueprint for evaluating information resource content and quality within each phase.

"Information architecture" includes:

  • Architectural models: agency and project level,
  • Statewide information resource management policies, standards and guidelines, and
  • The agency's organization-wide information resource management policies, standards and guidelines.

METHODOLOGY CONTROL FUNCTION
The methodology control function ensures that a development methodology is:

  • Selected, developed, configured, or modified as necessary within the project scope and chosen development approach,
  • Appropriately matched to architectural deliverables established for the project,
  • Properly incorporated into project schedules (tasks and milestones),
  • Used and adhered to throughout the development phases, and
  • Evaluated at each phase for efficient and effective use to ensure that value is added without restricting project effectiveness.

"Development methodology" refers to a collection of documented, repeatable, measurable processes that ensure that the development process outcomes are of desired quality. Methodology processes should be high level, and independent of a specific environment, project, tool, or development technique. Methodologies may take various forms and may be manual or automated as long as they meet the objectives.

Agencies may purchase, customize or internally develop methodologies as long as they:

  • Comply with the Statewide Information Resource Management policies, standards and guidelines,
  • Facilitate use of Minnesota's Information Resource Development (IRD) Management Framework, including its architectural control, methodology control, schedule / resource control and tool management requirements.

SCHEDULE / RESOURCE CONTROL FUNCTION
The schedule / resource control function ensures that project management requirements, project schedules and resources are:

  • Selected as appropriate within the project scope, chosen development approach, and required skill sets,
  • Appropriately matched to methodology processes selected for the project,
  • Used and adhered to throughout the development phases,
  • Evaluated, for each phase, to ensure the project is on time, within budget, and has appropriate resources to complete the project, and
  • Integrated with architectural deliverables identified in tasks and milestones,

"Schedule / resource" refers to a project plan based on the project scope and chosen development approach, that includes, but is not limited to:

  • A set of tasks to be performed,
  • Task due dates and time estimates,
  • Resources assigned to tasks (including project managers), and
  • Milestone deliverables and checkpoints.

TOOL MANAGEMENT FUNCTION
The tool management function ensures that technology tools are:

  • Selected for each project based on its scope and development approach,
  • Planned for in terms of tool acquisitions and training requirements;
  • Appropriately matched to methodology processes selected for the project,
  • Appropriately matched to architectural deliverables to ensure use and maintenance of architecture throughout the phases of the project,
  • Used effectively throughout the development phases, and
  • Evaluated at each phase for efficient and effective use to ensure value is added without restricting project effectiveness.

"Tools" include but are not limited to:

  • Upper and lower CASE tools,
  • Code generators,
  • Repositories and data dictionaries,
  • Project management software products,
  • Development methodology software products, and
  • DBMS or programming debugging utilities.

IRM PHASES THAT APPLY TO IRD

PREREQUISITE IRM PHASE: AGENCY PLANNING
Planning is the first task in information resource management. Careful planning is necessary to help ensure that information resources are developed that help the agency comply with public policy requirements, meet its business goals and fulfill its policy purpose. A well articulated strategic business plan and information plan can greatly assist those responsible for identifying projects. A well done plan will provide direction to those responsible for identifying which information resource projects are a priority for the continued success of the agency.

High level agency planning addresses leadership, organization and implementation planning requirements in an IRM environment. It also defines agency-wide requirements for information architecture, methodology, project management and technology tools that comply with public policy and statewide policies, standards and guidelines. The requirements defined at the agency planning level provide direction when selecting project-specific components (e.g., which models to pick, tools to use, methodology components to use) that will be managed under the IRD Management Framework

PREREQUISITE IRM PHASE: PROJECT PLANNING
Project planning takes agency level planning to the level of detail necessary to develop and manage specific projects. Project planning should identify and analyze:

  • Schedule and resource requirements,
  • Necessary skills and tools,
  • Project costs, benefits and risks,
  • Project scope defined in terms of architectural models, and
  • How methodology processes translate into project tasks (project plan).

DEVELOPMENT PHASES
The IRM phases that apply to development are design, construction and installation. Activities,deliverables and responsibilities are defined for each of these development phases during project planning and are managed by the appropriate Management Framework functions.

Design
The design phase develops three levels of design information, which are:

  • Conceptual Designs: Conceptual designs describe the resources that are required and/or available, the relationships that exist between resources and the business rules that apply, without specifying details of format or specific content.
  • Logical Designs: Logical designs convert conceptual designs to an information processing point of view. Logical designs are detailed enough to create a physical design, but independent of a specific physical implementation.
  • Physical Designs: Physical designs convert logical designs to the design of a specific physical implementation. Physical constraints, performance concerns and technology-specific details are incorporated into physical designs.

Conceptual Design
The intent of the conceptual design phase is to review project requirements and create, verify, refine or redesign the agency business and information resource models to address the projects requirements. The conceptual design specifications are preserved for future reference.

Examples of activities performed during conceptual design may include creating / verifying / refining / redesigning:

  • Business activities, based on business activities identified in the project scope and the agency (or project) functional business model,
  • Entities / relationships, based on entities and relationships identified in the project scope and the agency (or project) conceptual data model,
  • Process specifications, based on processes, transactions, or applications identified in the project scope and the agency (or project) process or transaction / application model,
  • Distribution scheme, based on distribution locations identified in the project scope and the agency (or project) distribution model,
  • Technology specifications, based on technology components identified in the project scope and agency (or project) technology model, and
  • Existing data, applications and technology to be migrated, based on existing data,applications and technology, the project scope and the agency (or project) migration model.

Logical Design
The logical design enables agencies to understand the detail of the bigger picture from an information processing point of view. The logical design specifications are derived from the conceptual design specifications, and are preserved for future reference. It is typically in the logical design phase that RFP information is developed and build / buy / outsourcing decisions made.

Examples of activities performed during logical design may include:

  • Decomposing and refining business activities based on a refined functional business model (this activity adds detail to further explain what occurs and to facilitate business process re-engineering and quality improvements),
  • Defining the logical data model based on a refined conceptual data model (this activity typically transforms entities and relationships into data groups or logical data files, and produces a fully attributed, normalized data model, with data elements that can be added to a dictionary),
  • Defining logical transactions based on a refined process or transaction / application model (the logical transactions are more detailed than their conceptual counterparts; for example, a brief conceptual specification of a few lines may transform into a detailed 50 to 100 line program specification),
  • Defining logical-level distribution scheme based on a refined distribution model,
  • Defining logical-level technology specifications, based on a refined technology model, and
  • Defining logical-level migration specifications, based on refined migration specifications (if all or parts of specified information resources are going to be replaced or modified, exactly what is to be replaced or modified needs to be identified; for example, blocks of logic, specific fields in files, cabling and processor upgrades).

Physical Design
The intent of physical design is to develop detailed specifications that reflect the capabilities and constraints of the selected technology.

Examples of activities performed during physical design may include:

  • Evaluating and selecting technology components (this activity typically is the first completed in this phase, so that the technology is identified before the rest of this phase begins),
  • Defining physical data structures based on the specific database manager selected and the logical data model (for example, data groups from the logical model may become database records or rows and data may go through some physical changes to meet performance, volume and security constraints),
  • Defining physical program specifications based on the programming environment selected and the logical process or transaction / application model (logical transactions are turned into physical program specifications based on the distribution of the data and the capabilities of the selected technology),
  • Defining physical distribution model, based on selected technology and the logical distribution model, and
  • Defining physical modifications, interfaces, bridges, based on logical-level migration specifications.

Construction
Construction involves transforming the physical design into a prototype or information resource ready for installation.

Examples of activities performed during construction may include:

  • Documenting and testing human procedures,
  • Generating, populating, testing data structures,
  • Creating and testing programs,
  • Installing and testing technology components, and
  • Building and testing modifications, interfaces, bridges.

Installation
Installation involves putting new resources in place and connecting them to other resources; assisting project management in the training and orientation of the users and maintainers; and decommissioning of old resources.

Examples of activities performed during installation may include:

  • Training users to implement procedures,
  • Populating data structures with live data,
  • Putting programs and technology components into production status, and
  • Decommission / activate modifications, interfaces, bridges.

POST-DEVELOPMENT PHASE: EVALUATION
Agencies should attempt to evaluate each project's deliverables based on the architectural requirements established during the planning phase. After implementation in the business unit, the information resources should also be evaluated to determine if they are meeting business needs.

Project evaluation should also include an assessment of how well the:

  • Project's deliverables conformed to architectural specifications,
  • Methodology served the project,
  • Project management functions performed, and
  • Tools used in development were used and added value to the project.

Periodically, agencies should evaluate their:

  • IRM organization,
  • Information architecture, including their models, policies, standards, and guidelines, and
  • IRM planning

IRD INTEGRATION: DEVELOPMENT PHASES WITH
MANAGEMENT FRAMEWORK FUNCTIONS
ARCHITECTURAL CONTROL METHODOLOGY CONTROL SCHEDULE & RESOURCE CONTROL TOOL MANAGEMENT
PRE-DEVELOPMENT PLANNING
DESIGN Confirm scope in terms of functions, data, applications,technology, and location involved Confirm the approach (i.e.,RAD, waterfall, iterative) is appropriate Confirm project plan, staff assignments, Ensure tools align with staff skill sets and proposed approach
CONSTRUCTION Ensure models from design reflect agency-wide architecture and strategy Monitor project for effective, appropriate use of methodology Monitor staff activity and resource consumption Monitor tool performance
INSTALLATION Ensure tested resources from construction reflect agency architecture and strategy Monitor project for effective, appropriate use of methodology Monitor staff activity and resource consumption Monitor tool performance
POST-DEVELOPMENT EVALUATION

The above chart is a high-level summary of the tasks needed in each development phase to satisfy IRM requirements. As work proceeds, the four management functions are applied to ensure the right products are produced (architectural control), the right work is done (methodology control), the project is on-schedule and within its resource limits (schedule / resource control), and the selected tools are used and add value to the project and the information resources being developed (tool management).