Back to the Future

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Last week I revisited a client in the healthcare sector. A client where I delivered a project for a Central Laboratory Information System back in ‘97. I was the Information Analyst and later Project Manager.

Back in the nineties I loved this project. The previous system was over 20 years old and the plan was to rebuild this with minor modifications in Oracle’s (then) latest technology: Developer/2000 and Designer/2000 (we started with the 1.0 version). After an initial pilot we decided a complete functional redesign would be the best approach. So that is what we did: with a full user complement in a room with a whiteboard, we started sketching the foundations for the future. I had the privilege of facilitating this design, followed by the overall projectmanagement of ICT team and Client Team of the build and implementation phases. Of course all data of the 20 year old predecessor had to me converted as well!! (On data conversion I’ll probably blog some more in the future ). The project had its ups and downs, but we delivered. On time. On budget. With a little bit more aftercare than I anticipated, but still. A project I am proud of. Later, we added the bespoke Laboratory Informations Management System (bridging the tests in the Lab to the central system) with equal success.

As I said: I revisited the client last week. It was great to hear that the system was still fully functional and in use. By pretty much the same people that helped design and test it, by the way. The envisioned flexibility of new tests, intelligence in interpreting results and scheduling new tests, reporting the results with added conclusions, … It all worked! And it still did!

We strolled down memory lane together for a while, before discussing the latest BPEL trends in ICT. When I explained how how easy it is to set up your Business Processes as your Guide through the different laboratories, each with their own internal processes and expertise, their conclusion was that this was exactly what we had done with the intelligent follow-up testing we designed, back then.

BPEL with Designer/2000. Just design it right!

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  1. As member of the client IT group (at that time) I had the privilege to be a developer on this project. It was my first major Oracle Designer project. Due to it’s size and variety of tasks and personnel it was indeed a project to be proud of! I experienced a strong team spirit. This became especially clear when after initial delivery a number of enhancements and fixes needed to be applied and almost all teammembers were already firmly allocated on other projects. Since knowledge of the new application was crucial, the only possibility seemed to be an appeal to voluntariness and solidarity of the “old” team for a weekend of hard teamwork. And a large part of the team actually turned up for a very special weekend with a unique atmosphere and great organization. In an IT world where technology sometimes seems to be more a goal of itself for the IT company instead of a means to achieve business value for the client, this project proved that it’s still a man’s job where the human factor is decisive and highly appreciated.