Very few industries contain the level of jargon that Information Technology does.
Even seasoned IT professionals are sometimes stumped given the high pace of change in the industry.
So we thought a great way to make it easier for everybody was to introduce the FORLOOP Dictionary. Words that are interesting, worth defining and used often we will add over-time.
So please keep your eye out.
In Information Technology, ‘productionisation’ is the process of taking a developed product or prototype, finalising it and making it available and ready in an operationally active, or production, environment.
The term ‘productionisation’ seems to have become more prevalent in IT since the mid 2000’s, and whilst many may not still recognise it, there is no doubt its use in the IT world is not uncommon.
Why the word ‘productionisation’ has come into more popular use is debatable, but one proposition is that it has come about due to the popularity of agile type development methods, which often focus on building a prototype solution to develop and refine the product to the business requirements. Prior to putting the system into production, the developers need to ensure the system is robust enough for the target environment with regard to aspects such as error handling, stability, usability, scalability and performance. This process of making the prototype ‘production or enterprise grade’, could be referred to as ‘productionisation’.
It is commonly used to refer to a range of other terms, such as ‘production migration’, ‘move to production’, ‘go-live’, ‘release to production’, ‘cut over to production’. Many of these terms or phrases reflect that the key process undertaken is that of moving or copying the developed and tested elements of an IT product, from a non-production environment to a production, or operationally active environment. Generally once this process is complete, the product is considered to be ready to be used as designed.
‘Productionisation’, also neatly captures a range of tasks and activities, which all culminate into the IT system becoming fully operational. These activities may go beyond just the finalising and moving of IT elements, and may for instance include establishing and/or converting data, setting certain values or parameters, establishing auditing and logging, enabling support components, finalising documentation, and many other possible components.
In this way ‘productionisation’ becomes a subject in itself that goes beyond simply a task on a project schedule to ensure the product is migrated to the production environment. Productionisation is a key project milestone that requires careful planning and coordination to ensure all activities that make the IT product a fully operational system are known and executed in the correct manner.
A 'Straw Man' model is a concept used in IT to present an idea or proposal (usually a new development) that is a high level draft or hypothesis, used by teams to critique, discuss, analyse and develop an approach, decision or design. Its purpose is to create discussion & debate to drive an ultimate direction and become the catalyst for the final solution It’s often created with little information, as the ‘Straw Man’ itself serves to drive analysis, and like a real ‘Straw Man’, can be discarded quickly and a new one created as required. It can take a number of forms but is always a rough draft - from a written idea, to basic screen designs. Teams need to be prepared to discard the ‘Straw Man’ and build a new one at any time and potentially repeat this process until the final decisions are made. The ‘Straw Man’ also fits in neatly with the concept of iterative design, repeating and re-drafting to improve an initial concept or design. If anything is built, often, it may not end up in the final product. It might be that the decision is to not continue at all, in which case, the ‘Straw Man’ approach may have saved a lot of wasted work in the long run. Or, the final approach may be very different from the first model. Either way, the ‘Straw Man’ will have proven its worth by having re-directed the approach before any significant work is undertaken.
Common approaches to cost models in IT often focus on either ‘fixed price’ or ‘time and materials (T&M)’ arrangements. Both approaches have pros and cons. Fixed price is common as it sets a known budget for a client, and a target for all to work to. However, often large contingencies need to be established for unknowns. T&M ensures all effort is funded, but can also lead to large cost blowouts without having delivered a solution, meaning the client takes a risk.
An alternative approach that is less common but often a better solution is ‘Alliancing’. Alliancing arrangements can strike a balance for the client, but for it to work requires genuine trust on both sides.
The main principles of Alliancing are:
Alliancing can therefore be a very good fit for long running, medium to large scale budgeted projects.