Listed below is a short summary of some of the types of services Means To An End has provided.
Systems Engineering/Architecture is a big subject. They are grouped together here
because they are often so intertwined. Also, in most cases Systems
Architecture are intertwined as well.
The systems engineer and the architect may be one and the same person or the may
work hand in hand to define, design and implement the solution. They support the
Project Manager and the needs of the greater organization from a technical perspective
by defining how things can be done. It is their job to address such issues as:
- The development, testing, training, and production environments.
- The computing infrastructure.
- Configuration management procedures and processes.
- Backup procedures and processes.
- Disaster recovery procedures and processes.
- Service Level Agreements (SLAs), both to the customer and from suppliers outside the organization.
- Data protection requirements.
- Etc. etc.
The information architect will address such issues as:
- Defining the mission and vision of the application/system.
- The content and functionality of the site.
- Data taxonomy.
- Application/system organization and components or modules.
- A plan for future growth or retirement of the application/system.
The systems engineer will also likely be an advisory member on the application/system
Van Chesnutt of Means To An End has assisted organizations within Boeing IT to reach
Business Analysis/Technical Business Need & Requirements Gathering & Options Analysis
Gathering requirements is more than finding out what management wants a system
to do. It is also more than asking users what they want. It includes things like:
- What is the operational environment?
- What other systems does the application need to interface with?
- How many users are there? Do they need access 24x7?
- What are the service level agreements with other departments?
- What are the data protection requirements (e.g. SOx, HIPPA)?
- Etc. etc.
With answers to these and other questions, some analysis needs to be done. We
ask ourselves, what are our options? Are there trade-offs? Can we buy an
off-the-shelf product and what is its long-term viability, or do we need to
build this ourselves? Who is going to support the system? All kinds of answers
are needed before a recommendation can be made. Means To An End has experience in
this area with recommendations for software development project that have
Business/Technical Process Improvement
For there to be process improvement, there first has to be a defined, repeatable
process. Ones that are documented and are being used. Often this is not the case.
Many times there are disparate processes being used within the same organization.
Process improvement activities may be as simple as evaluating all the different
process and/or procedures and determining which is best of finding a new way altogether.
A key force in improvement activities are the
Policies, Procedures, and Processes
that are used to define the success of a project, an organization, or a company.
Program & Project Management
The three legs of the Project Management stool are: Schedule, Resources (people,
money) and the Product or end result (driven by requirements). But management
of system projects often include other things that don't necessarily fit neatly into
one of these buckets: interfaces, certain design elements, security, testing and
training to name a few. And, there are
associated with most components of a project. Because system application projects change
over time, sometimes dramatically, a key question that needs to be kept in mind
is, "What does success look like?". This focus may make the all the difference
in determining whether a project is successful or not.
Means To An End also provides application development/coding services in the Microsoft .NET environment,
for both windows and web applications. This includes coding/development
services for the database(s) that underlie the applications. These
applications range from simple websites for small business to things like the complex
Cancer Surveillance System for the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.
This experience only serves to enhance the skills brought to the other disciplines