The George Boole Foundation





Following a review of the operation of existing national and international standards provisions GBF has concluded that in many circumstances training and systems maintenance requirements are too costly in monetary terms for many potential users.

Feedback from the Agricultural Information Systems Europe prototyping service, Real Time Audit Europe and the RTA Task Force has provided convincing justifications for the GBF to establish an open system such as an Open Quality Standards Initiative (OQSI)

2nd Phase of the DAI 2015-2020
OQSI priority topics


Project Portfolio Management
PCM input specifications
Tacit knowledge metrics
Explicit knowledge metrics
Real Time Audit
Design & Simulation
Standards

Introducing OQSI - The Open Quality Standards Initiative

GBF has reviewed existing approaches to standards and will now develop an alternative approach that is evolutionary so that the leading edge of best practice remains relevant to human and group objectives, technologies, techniques and with an adequate coherence with time scales, costs and risks.

This standards initiative will be based at our Decision Analysis Initiative (DAI) and elements will be evaluated in a practical fashion through online systems prototyping and feedback from customers and stakeholders of cloud systems.

The foundation committee for this Standardization Group will be made up of respresentatives from:
  • SEEL-Systems Engineering Economics Lab
  • RealTimeAudit.eu
  • AgroInfoSys.eu
The short term objectives of this group include reviewing and integrating customer or user needs into cloud-based systems so as to improve the design, implementation and management of processes. They will also review the activities to be developed under this standards initiative with respect to:
  • Data and information quality standards (deterministic, probablistic, informational)
  • Multi-process and multi-stage chains including value components
  • Participatory procedures for stakeholders
  • Outline the basis of operation for an open access standards system
  • Establish a basis for standards adhesion validation procedures
  • Propose a name for the open GBF standards process
  • Provide an estimate of the costs involved to establish this process
  • Provide an estimate of any costs for users of the system
DRMs
Data Reference Models

One of the challenges facing team leaders on projects that are concerned with the design and implementation of information and communications technologies to administrative functions is to maintain a clarity of objectives and methods. This is required so that the client administration has a good understanding as to the current and intended activities of the systems engineering and programmers working at the “technical level”. Administrative ICT projects have a notoriety for over-shoots and ballooning budgets and a waste of public funds.

As a first step in helping gain some control over this unfortunate state of affairs the GBF Standards & Methods Committee proposes that an interim solution is the adoption of Data Reference Models (DRM). A DRM is a framework that is prepared as a document that is used to enable information sharing with any development team and across the government agencies via a standard description and identification of common data and an exposure of the most appropriate data processing systems. The DRM describes the range of applications and solutions that can be generated from current data architectures of government agencies as well as help identify better solutions that in general aim to make overall administrative processes more:
  • Economic
  • Effective
  • Efficient
The scope of a DRM can be broad so that it can be applied within a single team or project, within a single agency, within a specific group of stakeholders or across a government administration.

The OQSI is developing a proposed single standard which is more comprehensive that that normal division of data reference models proposed by the FEA into: Performance Reference Model(PRM), Business Reference Model(BRM), Data Reference Model(DRM), Application Reference Model(ARM), Infrastructure Reference Model(IRM) and the Security Reference Model(SRM).


References: FEA-Federal Enterprise Architecture; ISO/IEC 11179
In May 2013 the working group on OQSI reported on the neccessary scope and content of OQSI in relation to project cycle management and the following is an excerpt from that report. The working period for the OQSI working group had been extended to July 2013 to detail out the Quality Standards for the elements identified in the excerpt below, including any additions to this list. In July 2013 the OSQI was adopted by the GBF as a core activity in support of the development of improved sustainable natural resources management standards and is now part of the Decision Analysis Initiative 2010-2015.

Essential Biodiversity Variables (EBVs)

Essential Biodiversity Variables are measurements required for study, reporting, and management of biodiversity change.

EBVs facilitate the harmonization of existing monitoring schemes and guide the implementation of new monitoring schemes, especially in gap areas where information on biodiversity change is still very sparse. Examples of essential variables are the allelic diversity of selected wild and domestic species, the population abundances for groups of species representative of some taxa (e.g. birds), the three-dimensional structure of habitats, and the nutrient retention rate in sensitive ecosystems. These variables can be measured or modeled globally, by combining satellite remote sensing observations with local observations obtained by citizens scientists, and local, national and regional organizations. EBVs are crucial for robust estimation of the indicators to assess progress towards the 2020 targets of the Convention on Biological Diversity. They can also provide the foundation for developing scenarios of the future of biodiversity under different policy and management options.

  • EBVs are sensitive to change over time
  • EBVs are focused on 'state' variables
  • EBVs are defined at a level of specificity intermediate between that of low-level (primary) observations and high-level indicators of biodiversity change
  • EBVs should be of relevance to the broader biodiversity community (incl. scientists/researchers, governments, decision/policy makers, assessment bodies, conservation professionals and conventions)
  • EBVs should be feasible in terms of monitoring (e.g. if the technology for monitoring it is unlikely to be available in the near future, the EBV isn't feasible)

Decision Analysis Perspectives

A basic requirement for sound decision analysis is to ensure that all relevant issues have been taken into account before taking a decision. OQSI’s first set of standards are specified in relation to the support of an efficient project cycle management under RTA applied to projects in the natural resources sector.

Decision Analysis Perspectives

Decision Analysis Perspective (DAPs) are a set of 9 (nine) basic analytical perspectives that cover most of the essential considerations to complete an adequate decision analysis on the selection of a project dealing with the natural resources domain. Observation on sustainability

Sustainability

Sustainability is an integral consideration in all DAPs, it must be validated in each DAP; it cannot be considered to be a separate factor, nor can it be ignored. If it is not adequately assessed in each DAP the decision analysis is invalidated.

DAPs include deterministic relationships between:
  • Biota (living natural resources) in relation to
  • Abiota (substrate natural resources environment including climate and altitude) and the translation of these relationships according to:
    • Technological choice processes to be applied (physical inputs & outputs)
    • Economics (markets, costs & margins)
    • Finance (the time dimension in economics)
    • Environmental (impacts on equilibrium of ecosystems) including:
      • Nutrient cycles
      • Energy cycles
      • Water cycles
    • Social (acceptability of proposed practice within ranges of expectations)
    • Constitutional economics (participatory questions, individual and public choice) (politics)
    • Regulatory and legal (constraints) including project constitutions, procedures and regulations (institutional)(politics) (disincentives and incentives)


Are you communicating? DRMs provide an objective basis for augmenting transparency in ICT projects involving administrative personnel as clients augmenting the project impacts on economy, effeciveness and efficiency.


Open Quality Standards for Project Cycle Management

Projects involve the use of resources by activities designed to achieve pre-defined objectives. Depending upon the objectives, projects can be very simple or highly complex. The process of identifying, designing and implementing projects, that is the Project Cycle, requires the maintenance of consistent and coherent standards across all project activities to as to improve the effectiveness of management coiordination. Below is a list of some of the elements that need to be adequately covered to set up a coherent project plan:
  • Identifying customer, stakeholder or sector needs
  • Describing and quantifying the dimensions of the needs and identification and quantification of the outputs required from actions that can address the needs
  • Identifying the required combination of distinct actions to satisfy the need
  • Identifying the methods to be applied in each activity
  • Using the description of the required sequence of activities as a basis for building an action or project plan
  • Describing the specific objective of the project and ascertain that this will have an impact that will address the needs identified
    • Defining the implementation in the form of a Critical Path of sequential and parallel activities
    • Specifying and quantifying the inputs required for each activity
    • Specifying and quantifying the outputs of each activity
    • Specifying who will undertake the activities (defining individual responsibility)
    • Quantifying the cost of inputs
    • Laying out the timing and duration of each activity
    • Quantifying the expected funding requirements
  • Specifying the timing and duration of all activities in the form of schedules including carrying out the following functions within each activity:
  • Monitoring the specifications of inputs
  • Monitoring the specifications of outputs achieved
  • Execution of work by identified individuals
  • Ensuring timely access to funds
  • Controlling how funds are to be spent
  • Monitoring timing and advance of all activities
  • Checking that the methodologies applied and resources to be used represent the best combination so as to achieve the lowest cost, timeframe and risk in order to provide the desired impact so as to satisfy needs (this can be determined through simulation of the activities including post-implementation downstream supply chain segments involving stakeholders)
  • A declaration of the expected dimensions of the impact of the project output in relation to the total need identified.
  • Describe the methodology that should be applied in assessing project impact after implementation.
  • Justifying the use resources on the project in terms of the degree to which the project will address the identified needs in terms of cost/benefit, return on investment or other acceptable basis
The result of this phase is a project proposal containing the detailed project plan.

For further information please contact: Hector McNeill or Fahro Belko