TeamFlow User Profile
"TeamFlow played a critical part in our ability
Approach Inc. was hired by a large employee relocation services company to help members of the corporation's IT department develop and document a rigorous process for the development of software. The client had numerous and challenging requirements for the process, based on many years of development experience as well as research into various existing process models. A tool would be needed that was robust, powerful, and flexible enough to encompass the requirements, while also meeting the needs of the process development team and producing results the client could understand without a significant learning curve.
Since Approach has successfully used TeamFlow to develop some of its own internal processes, it was an obvious choice to be the primary tool for capturing the countless and ever-changing features of the client's process as it took shape.
Approach's lead process developer Richard White says, "From experience we knew that we could handle a project of this significance with TeamFlow as our core development support tool, and it came through for us."
The client benefited from the choice as well, according to John Berger, Approach's client manager on the project. "Even though the client had never seen TeamFlow before we introduced it, they could follow the flow diagrams immediately. That meant we could take some further steps right at the start - for example, defining conventions for how we'd use the elements to express particular concepts such as concurrency."
White describes how TeamFlow's simple, intuitive interface contributed to the project. "The project lasted several months and involved people from many different areas of the client's business. Because they could clearly see the elements of the process design and their interactions, it was simple for them to identify areas they wanted to add to or improve. TeamFlow's flexibility enabled us to add, delete, edit, and move elements within the process flow diagram with just a few clicks and keystrokes. That made it possible to keep up with the client requests even as we continued to develop other sections of the diagram. Also, the ability to create levels of detail allowed us to develop the diagram in a focused, modular way without anyone, us or the client, being overwhelmed by detail at any one level."
TeamFlow's fundamental structure was another benefit, White says. "It's not unusual for people to define the tasks in a process clearly, but without assigning roles to the various tasks. What TeamFlow does, through its organization chart component, is force process developers to consider roles as they develop the set of tasks. On this project we placed definitions for many of the roles within their information areas for easy reference, and both our development team and the client found it productive to be able to discuss the roles with a common understanding. Ironically, being forced to consider the roles also contributes to fleshing out the process flow itself - for example, patterns of tasks begin to appear across roles, and process gaps are revealed."
White says TeamFlow's ability to attach documents came in handy as well. "On this project we created document templates and white papers explaining pieces of the process in more detail, and then attached them to the right places in the flow. This allowed us to create rich detail without cluttering the flow of the process diagram."
"TeamFlow has served us well," concludes White. "It played a critical part in our ability to complete this project to the customer's satisfaction. It allowed us to focus on solving the problem, instead of struggling with difficult-to-use support tools."
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Their web site is www.approach.com
Last Update: November 4, 2009