Next up was a desired enhancement and guess what, it was about Agent Management. In the United States, the rules for becoming an insurance agent are at a state level, so that means different rules in different states. Some of these rules had to with an Insurance Company sponsoring Agents, the proper way of registering, and if you did it incorrectly, large fines would result because the insurance boards took a dim view of people selling insurance who were not legally registered and sponsored to do so.
It’s a really complicated part of the business which (surprise, surprise) our vendor had not put in their system, but they sure would if we gave them requirements, and paid for the development work. Here we have another good thing this management had done, and that was assign the most knowledgeable business people to the project full-time to make sure the system did the right things. That is rare and to be applauded; unfortunately (!), management thought these people could write the requirements to send to the vendor, and that was a disaster. A document had been written, sent to the vendor and they sent it back saying it was unusable. So, a walk-through by selected team members was scheduled, and as an Analyst who had done Requirements before, I got invited.
The meeting was intended to change the document to make it usable, but it was just pages and pages of rambling text, so after some period of time I had to pipe up and say we needed to produce a real Requirements document, and I knew how to do it.
So, I am assigned an Agency SME and an Underwriter, the latter being the person who knew the rules, because underwriters checked these rules when a new agent submitted their first application.
The Agency guy was great; he was the one I had worked with before that liked my Data Models. However, the underwriter was the person who had written the original document, and was understandably not happy that her hard work had been rejected, and so she became my User From Hell. I scheduled a week in a meeting room to do the Requirements, but she fought me tooth and nail and it took four weeks. I did functional decomposition, a data model and rules, and she didn’t want to know that this could work. It was painful, and like all things you would rather forget, the specifics and severity of the pain have faded, but I do now that when we were done and the result was reviewed successfully internally and the vendor loved it, then that underwriter switched around to be the biggest supporter of what we had done… I felt good!