Awqaf Skyline

Ministry of Awqaf & Islamic Affairs

Delivers more value to end users by building home-grown applications using Application Lifecycle Management.

Industry

Government Administration

Country of Origin

Kuwait

In Business Since

+

Employees

+

Mosques

Ministry of Awqaf & Islamic Affairs

Background

Ministry’s Work Values
  • Moderation
  • Leadership
  • Partnership
  • Staff Development
  • Innovation
  • Organizational Work
Futuristic Vision of the Ministry

This is a governmental authority that contributes to the development of society in accordance with Islamic understanding, reality and realization.

Main Lines of Business

From the vision and values that govern work in the Ministry, we can notice that the programs and activities of the Ministry's projects are completed according to the range in fields of work that constitute moving towards this integrated vision.

  1. The Science of Qur'an and Sunna, as well as the affairs of culture and intellect.
  2. The Mosques
  3. Al-Ifta "Legal Advice" and Legitimate Researches
  4. Media Services
  5. Local and International Communication
  6. Organizational Work
Supporting Offerings

Here it should be stressed that these previous lines of business represent only the major lines of work activities in the Ministry, which should be the focus of the strategy. This of course means there are a number of supported lines to strengthen the main lines and the following lines are considered to be the most important. These supported fields have a great importance in achieving the strategy and in its success or failure.

  1. Administrative Support
  2. Financial Support
  3. Informational Support

Business Needs & Challenges

Tasked with spreading the word of Islam to the rest of the World, the Ministry of Awqaf & Islamic Affairs tried to find commercial off-the-shelf software (COTS) to help run its business units. In many occasions, the Ministry failed to find such solutions and opted to build software in-house. Identifying that the Development Team possessed the knowledge and skills on Delphi/MySQL, the Ministry opted to use this platform for the development of its line-of-business applications. As the business requirements grew, the team grew accordingly.

While this strategy paid its dividends in terms of functionality and relevance to the business, it came with a price tag. The Ministry was suffering from classic Application Lifecycle Management issues:

  • In order to achieve consistency, every project had one team member only. This presented a few problems. When the team member goes on leave, or leaves the organization progress on the project is halted indefinitely.
  • The chosen platform was not keeping up with advancements in technology. In fact, the manufacturer was acquired by another organization and the future direction of the platform was not clear.
  • Project Managers had no insight into the progress of any project. Whenever a project faced a blocking challenge, a Project Manager was usually called-in late in the game. Upper Management was the last to know in case of issues.
  • In the absence of an Application Lifecycle Management culture, there was no proper handover between the various stages of the lifecycle. Gaps in requirement gathering meant that the software would not meet the business requirements. Absence of handover between development and testing impacted the quality of the software, which suffered from an enormous number of bugs. Improper handover between development and operations led to software that functions well in development, but fails to work on production environments.

Characteristics of a viable solution

A viable solution needs to establish a culture of Application Lifecycle Management in the Ministry, as well as address the abovementioned challenges. Characteristics of the solution should include at minimum:

  • Assess the skills of the Development Team members to identify the roles that they can fulfill.
  • Suggest roles and responsibilities to the Ministry's Management to select proper individuals.
  • Identify the most suitable Application Lifecycle Management methodology and develop a custom process for use at the Ministry.
  • Implement an Application Lifecycle Management platform and the accompanying tools at the Ministry.
  • Help migrate the platform to the new platform.
  • Train the Development Team Members on the new platform.
  • Integrate ALM processes and data with the Enterprise Project Management platform to provide project insights.

Solution

The Ministry of Awqaf & Islamic Affairs teamed with Sharper Software to provide an Application Lifecycle Management culture, tools and methodology. Using Sharper Software's Application Lifecycle Management Services and several SharperSkills Training offerings, the Ministry migrated off the current platform, adopted the Microsoft Development Platform and achieved improved results.

Development Team Skills Assessment

Sharper Software met with the members of the Development Team and performed one-to-one interviews to arrive at the current skills of the team. Sharper Software delivered a report to the Ministry's Management, showing the gaps in the required skill-set and the suggested assignment of roles and responsibilities. This approach helped beat the one-resource-per-project challenge mentioned above.

ALM Process

With the assistance of the Ministry's Project Management team, Sharper Software identified that the ALM Process that mostly meets the needs of the Ministry is Agile. However, modifications need to be made on the Agile process that is out-of-the-box in order to meet the requirements. Sharper Software developed a custom ALM process for use by the Ministry and trained the Project Management Team on customizing the process later. This approach helped raise the team's participation and adaptation ratios.

The Microsoft ALM Platform

Sharper Software installed and configured Team Foundation Server on a server platform, as well as Visual Studio on every development team member's computer. Development Team member computers were configured to connect to and use Team Foundation Server. Furthermore, Sharper Software upgraded TFS from 2010 to 2013. This provided the Development Team members with the latest and coolest tools necessary to perform their jobs with high productivity.

Integration with Enterprise Project Management

Sharper Software worked with the vendor responsible for the implementation of Enterprise Project Management to integrate TFS with EPM. A Project Manager can create a project in EPM, assign high-level Tasks to the Development Team and alert the Team Leaders about the new project. Team Leaders can now take the high-level task, work with the rest of the team to refine the tasks into further details, identify which tasks should be synchronized back with EPM and then the rest of the ALM Process continues. This ensures that Project Managers and upper Management have insights into the projects, can intervene whenever necessary and can reassign tasks in case of resource reallocation.

SharperSkills® Training

The Development Team attended several SharperSkills® Hands-On Training Sessions. Namely, the Ministry resources attended:

  1. SharperSkills® C# Training in order to improve their development skills and move from the older platform.
  2. SharperSkills® SQL Training to understand the features, capabilities and potential use of SQL Server as the Data Platform at the Ministry.
  3. SharperSkills® TFS Training to learn how to use TFS as the Application Lifecycle Management platform.

Benefits

Shorter Wait Times

Your customers, patients and/or employees will spend less time waiting for you to process their data.

Data Accuracy

Information is guaranteed to be correct and authoritative, as it's provided by the Public Authority for Civil Information.

Data Consistency

Data is consistent across your systems. If a centralized Master Data is used, it is possible to feed it via this solution.