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Enhanced Standards Development Process Brings Higher Quality Standards to Market Twice as Fast

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In the second half of 2009, SWIFT Standards completed a thorough review and redesign of its development process for new financial messages. The results of this significant overhaul, closely aligned with the ISO 20022 process, include a faster time to market by more than 60%, and higher quality standards due to rigorous pilot group testing and validation.

The creation of these pilot groups (PG) to capture and validate requirements has been key in achieving these striking results. A PG is a core testing group with members from those organisations that will become the initial adopters of a message set.

Pilot group participants commit to participating in the collection of message standard requirements, and the validation thereof. This serves to further develop and refine the quality of the target standard, thereby reducing the need for future maintenance. Most importantly, the pilots also commit to actually using the completed messages.

By having a core group build and review the detailed message requirements, documents and schemas, as well as pilot the messages before the first version is submitted to ISO, months of analysis and large group discussions are reduced and result in a faster time to market.

This efficiency gain is further strengthened by quality enhancements that result from the early identification of the pilots’ business case and implementation timeline. To be able to actively use the message set, the pilots ensure the requirements to which the message should adhere are carefully scoped and precisely defined, including only the necessary elements so as to keep the messages user-friendly, easy to implement and more likely to be adopted by other users.

SWIFT Standards now also provides pilots with an online tool to experiment with draft messages and validate them. Simple drafts, very early on in the development process, are shared, corrected and updated via an iterative process with a quick turnaround that helps to further reduce the overall development time of new message sets.

This new standards development process allows the SWIFT Standards team to focus its efforts on developing better and simpler standards for rapid market adoption, using fewer resources and improved validation methods.

Having successfully piloted and refined a previous version of this process, SWIFT Standards is now ready to use the new process for all new message development.

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