The Michigan Department of Transportation Engineers New Approach to Business Requirements Definition that Saves Taxpayers’ Money

• As part of an overall plan to improve project management, the Michigan DOT first turned to enhancing their business requirements definition process

• Chose Safety Status System (a collection of systems that would let MDOT monitor and track the process of traffic and safety projects) as test case. Project cost $1M

• MDOT engaged IAG Consulting to facilitate the business requirements definition process and develop the system design document.

• The IAG team compressed the requirements discovery into a 2 week timetable – 10 weeks from start to design

• MDOT recognized the value of this immediately. Initially, the business manager planned to open the session Monday, and then come back on Friday to see the results. However, after the first few hours, he cleared his schedule for the week and stayed with the team. This, he felt, was refining his business processes and eliminating duplicate work along the way

• The resulting design document served as a RFP and the final project cost was signed at $670,000 – 33% less than originally expected

• “In a fast-moving environment, the development job is never done. But if you have a solid foundation from the start, you’ll likely have only minor modifications down the road. We believe we will be able to hold our maintenance costs down thanks to the work we did in the up-front design process.”

“One of the reasons we chose IAG Consulting was they work with us to build internal capacity. First our people go through a training session with IAG Consulting. Then they work alongside the IAG facilitators. In the third phase our people do some of the blocks, with IAG coaching. Finally, they ‘solo’, with IAG there for support if they get stuck. As a result, we have somebody in-house who can facilitate the process and keep our documentation on track using the IAG template. I like that approach, because most consulting firms want to get into your back pocket and stay there. With IAG, the knowledge doesn’t leave with them, so we retain the value and process.”
             – Doug Couto, CIO for Michigan’s Department of Transportation

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