policyIQ for IT and Management of Software Development Projects

What a great session! This is way more than I like to include in a typical blog post, but there’s a lot of great information to share! In case you begin to peter out part-way through, here’s a sneak peek at what’s included in this post:

  • We are sincerely grateful…
  • Equinox Fund Management’s use of policyIQ
  • Key steps of Software Development Project Management
  • Links to presentation slides and recording
  • List of tips/recommendations
  • Discussion highlights: policyIQ and SharePoint, Images, and Tables

Sincere thanks to guest presenter, Karen Kronauge, for giving us a personalized tour through the policyIQ site of Equinox Fund Management, LLC. In this month’s CPE training event, we were able to see that they are making use of policyIQ for a wide range of purposes. The in-depth look at the use of policyIQ for management of software development projects was very informative and thought provoking!

If you were not able to join us, we have a number of resources to bring you up to speed:

  • We have supporting materials captured in our Help guide. Within this online policyIQ user manual you can take a closer look at Template properties and fields, see a sample Folder structure and explore ideas for helpful Reports.
  • We recorded the session which you can now access on our Training Page. We encourage you to share this recording link with your colleagues (especially those in IT or project management roles) that were not able to join us live.
  • Of course, you can simply read on for a summary of the day’s highlights…

The IT Team at Equinox is using policyIQ for a variety of purposes including:

  • IT Policies and Procedures
  • Software licenses
  • Detailed Work Instructions*
  • Legacy System Documentation

*Session attendees expressed strong interest in learning more about the use of policyIQ for detailed work instructions—look for more information on this topic from the policyIQ team!

Focusing on policyIQ for management of software development projects…

Does your organization have a System Development Life Cycle Policy?**

From birth to death, the SDLC policy helps organizations manage and maintain their systems. Use this policy to help with decisions regarding how to

  • Determine when you have a software need
  • Determine if you should buy or build (procure a product or build your own)
  • Implement a recently purchased system
  • Maintain your application
  • Communicate about a system
  • Retire or dispose of a system

**Don’t really know where to begin or you don’t have the time or staff to develop this critical first step? Let us know–we can help you to round up the resources and the content.

Process steps for management of software development projects:

  • Establish SDLC Policy
  • Determine Methodology
    • How much do you rely on or require documentation?
    • How flexible do you want your development to be?
    • Do you have detailed guidance and feedback from end-users?
  • Based on SDLC Policy and Methodology, determine level of documentation and pace of project management
  • Execute Development tasks (capturing documentation in policyIQ)
    • Design
    • Specifications
    • Development Tasks (project documentation)
    • Testing
    • Issue Tracking and Resolution
    • User Documentation
    • Roll-out
    • Maintenance

Following the process discussion, Karen provided us with a guided tour through the Equinox policyIQ site. Impressive and inspiring—the policyIQ team even walked away with some new ideas! You can access the presentation slides in the related Help page and go on Karen’s tour via the recording found on our training page.

There were some great tips shared during the session:

  • Karen demonstrated how Equinox “begins with the end in mind”. Their development, design and specification documentation is often recycled and adapted for later use in user documentation or later development projects.
  • Equinox also demonstrated how they work smarter not harder by making pages accessible in multiple places.  Enjoy greater version control and avoid having uncontrolled copies floating around.
  • A best practice noted in the session was the use of “Static Text” fields to add definitions and instructions to Page Templates. Rather than relying on users to read supporting glossaries or procedures, you can build the guidance directly in the Template!
  • We would be leaving out a biggie if we didn’t also write about our shameless promotion of Snagit for image capture, creation and editing. Seriously, everyone needs to own a copy!

Other discussions from our session that I was tempted to put in their own blog post…but didn’t:

How is policyIQ different from SharePoint?

Like SharePoint, policyIQ is a web-based application that provides a centralized platform for organizing and sharing information. Both allow users to create pages, lists, libraries and the like. Both platforms are intended to be user-friendly for users familiar with Microsoft applications.

It is possible to add a great deal of additional functionality to a SharePoint site (or multiple sites) with the appropriate technical talent to acquire hardware, set up architecture, build and configure functionality, then establish and successfully deploy a governance strategy.

Most policyIQ implementations are administered by non-technical personnel—the application is designed to be highly configurable without requiring IT resources to configure or roll-out to various areas of an organization. Also, policyIQ has an extensive list of features (alerts, standard and ad-hoc reporting, survey/form management, collaborative workflow, multi-layer security, etc.) incorporated “out of the box”.

Licenses for policyIQ also include expert configuration guidance, training, person-to-person support, all software upgrades, hosting, support, maintenance, back-ups and many other features and services.  If you are not yet familiar with the capabilities of policyIQ, you might appreciate a stroll through the Solutions, screenshots, customer success stories and other information that can be found on the website (www.policyIQ.com).

The old cliché: A picture’s worth a thousand words…

The Equinox implementation certainly brought the benefit of using images to communicate complex information to the forefront of the conversation. They have incorporated images in design, specification, and maintenance documentation, as well as in, of course, their user documentation.

Nothing beats an image to help visualize and mock-up the requirements of a development project, a product configuration, the hand-offs of a process or appropriate mapping of relationships.

If you’re interested in better utilizing images to communicate to your audience, take a look at our related policyIQ Help page for step-by-step instructions.

Insert a Table or ten!

Karen shared, frankly, that without broad Table capabilities, Equinox would not have been able to use policyIQ. They are charting a great deal of information, including each development task and its status within policyIQ’s tables.

If you have ever-evolving information that you are tracking in tables, use the Insert Table feature within policyIQ rather than building a table outside of policyIQ and pasting it into the field. Karen urged the audience to explore the Table capabilities tucked within the editor of policyIQ’s Rich Text Fields or contact the policyIQ Support team, if you have questions.

Anyone still there?

Oh…hi, Mom.

Thank you for reading all the way to the end. There were so many things that I thought were important–I just couldn’t stop! I hope that you found something of value or at least enjoyed the read while you ate your club sandwich.

This entry was posted in Solutions by Stephenie Buehrle. Bookmark the permalink.

About Stephenie Buehrle

Stephenie is the “solutions” expert on the policyIQ team. With RGP since 2004, she designs and develops solutions that capitalize on the best practices of the hundreds of companies that she has touched, while tailoring each configuration to meet the unique needs of each client. Before joining RGP and the policyIQ team, Stephenie enjoyed working as an independent consultant in the non-profit sector. Stephenie also previously performed analyst services for a major brewer ranging from roles in biological and chemical services to analytical roles in business process improvement and innovation. Stephenie quips that she still doesn’t know what she wants to be when she grows up, but hopes to spend her days helping others (companies, individuals, and communities) to realize their full potential.

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