Successful projects need to be designed, developed, and delivered on time, on budget, and on scope. A project methodology needs to be followed to avoid failure. A project methodology is a critical success factor to any significant
project and is a core competency of Essent.
To ensure success Essent has developed a coherent project management methodology and software development lifecycle (SDLC) protocol called EPIC: The Essent Project Implementation Cycle. EPIC™ is a proven, disciplined approach to
software development that controls the process to assure success for current technologies and business goals. All Essent projects are guided by EPIC, a mature protocol for developing and implementing projects in well-defined stages. The
purpose of developing in stages is to achieve a high degree of control throughout the project's developmental period, prevent potential project mismanagement to which any project can fall prey, and gain the trust of the project
participants. The Essent developmental techniques, used to create successful solutions, are based upon over twenty years of experience gained from working with organizations.
Traditional approaches to software development are based on the popular Waterfall and Spiral models, which fail to meet the needs of modern business. EPIC combines the strengths of these two models -- providing the benefits of
milestone-based planning (Waterfall) and the flexibility of the iterative software development process (Spiral) – and extends it with prototyping and frequent project team meetings.
Essent Project Implementation Cycle
EPIC consists of project phases. Each phase corresponds to a set of tasks, development time, delivery date, instructions, and assignments. EPIC is organized into 7 major phases:
1.1 Assess Goals
1.2 Perform a Needs Assessment
1.3 Assess the Business Process
1.4 Define Needs
1.2 Participate in Needs Assessment
1.4 Review Needs
2.1 Generate Work Statement
2.2 Produce Agreement
2.3 Sign Agreement
2.4 Form Project Team
2.5 Generate Project Timelines
2.6 Meet for Project Kickoff
2.1 Review Work Statement
2.2 Receive Agreement
2.5 Approve Project Timeline
3.1 Schedule Business Analysis
3.2 Analyze the Business Process Workflow
3.3 Perform Gap/Fit Analysis
3.4 Deliver Business Process Definitions (BPD)
3.2 Map the Business Process Workflow
3.3 Participate in Gap/Fit Analysis
3.4 Receive Business Process Definitions (BPD)
4.1 Design System based on Functional Specifications and Configuration
4.2 Deliver Design Documentation
4.3 Receive Design Documentation Approval
4.1 Define Functional Specifications and Configuration
4.2 Receive Design Configuration
4.3 Approve Design Documentation
5.1 Complete the Work Statement
5.2 Perform Development Review
5.2 Perform Development Review
6.1 Deliver Release Candidate of Project
6.2 Review Usability Testing
6.3 Perform Quality Assurance Alpha Testing
6.4 Review Functionality and Automation Results
6.5 Move Release Candidate to Production
6.1 Receive Beta Version of Project
6.2 Perform Usability Testing
6.3 Perform Quality Assurance Beta Testing
6.4 Validate Functionality and Automation Results
6.5 Sign-Off on Release Candidate
7.1 Resolve Issues
7.2 Deliver Updates
7.1 Document Issues
7.2 Communicate Issues
The Assessment phase is the period before entering into a formal agreement. Essent demonstrates technology solutions and gains an understanding of the customer’s goals, needs, and business processes. From a top-level perspective, Essent and the customer explore the suitability of Essent solutions for the customer’s needs before deciding whether to move forward into a project.
The Agreement phase is the formal process of moving forward into a project. Essent generates a work statement, the customer reviews it, and Essent and the customer sign it. Next, Essent and the customer each form a project team. The Agreement phase concludes with a Project Kickoff that outlines the project ahead.
The Analysis phase consists of regular periodic Business Analysis sessions. In the sessions, an Essent Business Analyst and the customer define and document the customer’s business processes. The Analyst and customer also determine which processes can be automated by Essent technology (fits), and which cannot be automated without further development (gaps). To conclude the Analysis, Essent delivers Business Process Definitions (BPDs). The BPDs document each step of the customer’s business processes as well as how the processes can be carried out with Essent technology.
The Design phase involves configuring Essent technology for the customer’s needs. Essent solutions can be configured to fit most of the needs of most businesses. The Design phase consists of defining which configurations best tailor Essent solutions to the business processes documented in the Business Process Definitions. In projects in which development is required or requested, the Design phase will also define the development work to be performed.
The Development phase, if necessary, includes defining and performing development that is either required or requested by the customer. Development may resolve gaps that were identified in Analysis, or it may add new features and functionality requested by the customer.
The Delivery phase is the formal process of handing over the project elements – the technology solutions – as defined in the Agreement phase. Essent delivers a Beta version of the project, and the customer performs usability testing. Essent and the customer next perform quality assurance testing, review functionality and automation, and ultimately move the project into the production environment ("Go Live”).
The Support phase is the ongoing maintenance of the technology solution after Delivery. While Support Plans can vary, the Support phase consists of the customer documenting and reporting issues and Essent resolving the issues. In addition, Essent periodically delivers software updates that include new features and functionality and enhance usability.
Essent is the leading provider of fully-integrated business management software solutions and services for process-intensive industries and the largest trading network for the promotional products industry. The Essent family of fully-integrated products and services combines best practices, business processes, software automation, and network communications to deliver unparalleled, unified business management solutions. Since 1980, Essent has offered the systems, service, software, and support critical to success in today's highly-competitive marketplace.