Roland Hill*, a business analyst for Dutch IT specialists IPROFS, used Clean Language to reveal a number of misunderstandings which could have caused the collapse of an 34.9 million-Euro project involving financial institutions across Europe.
He joined the project after the functionality of the new computer system had apparently been agreed. But when he used Clean Language to check through the specified requirements with representatives from the two sponsoring institutions, he discovered that each had a different understanding of key sections of the document.
“They had agreed the words on the page – but there was a difference in what those words meant to them,” said Roland. “If I hadn’t used Clean Language there is a good chance this misunderstanding might not have come out until a year or more down the line, once the system had been built.
“Then one side would have been very unhappy that things weren’t going to work as they’d expected, and as they’d told their customers they would work. Either the project would have been delayed while it was sorted out – which would have been very expensive and damaged the credibility of the project – or, at worst, cancelled.
“There are lots of statistics about something which costs one Euro to fix at the requirements stage costs 600 Euros to fix once the system has been built. There’s an extrapolation of costs the further you get down the lifecycle of the project, so it’s worth getting things right at the very beginning.”
Roland said: “As a result of what came out in my workshop the sponsors recognised where they didn’t agree, and were able to make a plan to get things sorted out between them.”
*Roland Hill is a Business Analyst with IPROFS. He is very experienced in complex transactional web application projects in commercial and governmental markets. In the past, he has been a product manager for a content management system for the UK legal market, and an application and process consultant for a market-leading ERP firm.