Teleflora manages a proprietary network to process flower orders from all channels, such as teleflora.com, directly from shops, or through partnerships with major companies. The network is used to route orders to the nearest member florist for processing and delivery. During a holiday period, such as Mother’s Day, Teleflora will process millions of flower orders.
Teleflora’s Business Analyst group is responsible for capturing new IT requirements around the group. It was using a requirements management tool to help structure the workload. However, as Lisa Mills, Business Analyst with Teleflora, explains, this was not without its challenges: “As our workload and the number of projects we were tracking increased, we ran into difficulties with our solution at the time. The structure meant that if multiple people worked on the same project, it was too easy to accidentally override each other’s changes. This became a real issue, and, although I liked working with it, and wasn’t totally convinced we should change, I felt we needed a different solution which would enable more effective team collaboration.”
In 2009, the requirement to deliver a new web-based application for Teleflora customers prompted development of an in-house product management system to effectively track product availability for the flower shops and product coding in the electronic directory. This was a major project which would require multiple development teams to work together and Teleflora needed a robust requirements management solution to support this.
Micro Focus Caliber offered the capabilities Teleflora was looking for. It provides the traceability within requirements and, crucially, its sophisticated source control supports collaboration between different stakeholders within a project. Soon, all requirements content was ported to Caliber which is now used on a day-to-day basis, as Mills explains: “We use Caliber to capture the requirements for any new projects and to create product documentation. We have 60-80 use case scenarios and so you can imagine the volume of requirements which accompanies these. I can see a huge difference in the way we input our information into Caliber. Within Caliber we can logically group all the requirements for particular functions, so that we can organize, relate, and prioritize requirements. As a result, the outcome is much more organized.”
Caliber Author automatically tracks versions, history, and relationship impacts in the background as business needs change and requirements evolve. For an organization like Teleflora with a rich history, this is key. Mills describe it as follows: “We’re like the history keepers of Teleflora and Caliber is a big part of that. Whenever a question comes up, I use the version history to check exactly what happened when, and for what reason. When people move, it’s invaluable having that information at our fingertips.”
When new people come on board with Caliber the feedback is generally very positive. Its ease of use and the potential to reuse requirements across different use cases, is quick to win new users over.
Team members now collaborate effectively using Caliber. They can manage requirement changes and ensure that updates have appropriate approvals so that there is always a single version of the truth. Baselines are used so that it’s easy to see what requirements have been added, deleted, changed, or moved over the course of a particular project. Traceability is key.
Mills comments: “We deliver a better product by using Caliber to fully manage our requirements. We are more agile and can respond faster to new business requirements. I love the fact that we can change a requirement once, and if it is traced to five different use cases, Caliber will automatically apply the change everywhere, and amend the documentation. It is a real productivity gain for us as we would have needed to make that same change five times, and hope that we changed it in the same way every time.”
She concludes: “The support we’ve received from Micro Focus has been superb and very proactive. I know the importance of a satisfied customer and appreciate the excellent Micro Focus customer service all the more.”