The change request process is not currently meeting HI Service stakeholder requirements particularly in relation to the timeframes for implementation of changes and the processes for requirement definition, prioritisation, communication and engagement and release management. Stakeholders of the Service are seeking an improvement in the turnaround time for assessment, development and implementation of change requests, the process for the prioritisation and delivery of enhancements. The process of setting priorities for change requests is done between NEHTA, who consult with stakeholders to establish their priorities, and DHS. Prior to the transition to Business As Usual, the stakeholder engagement process through the IAARG and tiger teams was seen as very effective. Since implementation, the end users of the system are not being engaged at the same level and this is causing significant levels of frustration. It is critical that end user representatives of the system have an opportunity to contribute to the specification, design, User Acceptance Testing and sign off of changes to ensure that they are fit for purpose and meet useability requirements.
To ensure this process works effectively between DHS and NEHTA, it is critical that an adequate level of detail is provided in the initial change request and that there is traceability between the business requirements, specifications, test use cases and functionality. Developing an agreed format and minimum content for business requirements and maintaining a traceability matrix that aligns business requirements to technical specifications, test cases and releases is a potential solution.
Stakeholders outside DHS have not been made aware of, or been involved in, incremental sign off at defined stage gates. It is important that NEHTA actively engage stakeholders in the process of developing change requests and in communicating the status of these through the development lifecycle. To be able to do this effectively it is important for NEHTA to have early notification of what is included in each release and advice on any factors that risk causing a delay in the development and release of change requests to be able to effectively manage their role in change and adoption and manage expectations.
Managing change requests to ensure both the specifications and timeframe for delivery meet the requests of the agencies involved and end users would be facilitated by:
- The re-establishment of a HI Service reference group with representatives from each of the major stakeholder groups. The role of this group should include review and feedback on new requirements, specifications and solution options to ensure that the developed solution is aligned with user business requirements. This group should also be used as a mechanism to communicate the status of change requests and any issues that may impact delivery.
- The development of a strategic roadmap and business plan for the HI Service that has input from the reference group. This should assist in setting expectations in relation to delivery timeframes and gaining consensus on priorities from affected organisations, as well as assisting to set the work program and associated budget requirements for the Service.
Recommendation 16 – Change request process
It is recommended that consideration be given to refining:
- The change request process so that the status of change requests, process of prioritisation, specification and design is more transparent to stakeholders
- The processes used to determine whether the enhancements are fit for purpose
- Governance processes to ensure directly affected stakeholders have signed off on specifications prior to development and on system testing prior to implementation.
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