2 Introduction Aim Use of the Guide This presentation is prepared to support and give a general overview of the ‘How to Manage and IT Project’ Guide and should be read in conjunction with the publication.Use of the GuideThe guide covers all aspects of the management of an IT project from the initial setting up of the project through to reviewing and maintaining the project.To this end it includes a check list for you to complete when managing an IT project.The guide also includes separate case studies highlighting important aspects of IT project management.The steps any business takes during an IT project will depend on the size and nature of the project being undertaken.
3 IT project managementEffective project management is essential to co-ordinate the many organisations and activities that comprise a typical construction project.Generally acknowledged that widespread good practice exists within this field in the construction industry.Often the case that the good practice that exists is not applied to the specific case of the management of an IT project.The main challenge is that of fully involving the relevant business areas so that IT projects are not simply seen as “IT projects run by IT managers”.The guide seeks to provide guidance on:the specifics aspects of IT projects,encourage the involvement of appropriate business areas,ensure that the good practice that is applied in construction projects is applied also to IT projects.
4 What is an IT project?Key defining factor of a project is that it aims to achieve a unique outcome, unlike other types of work that are essentially repetitive processes.An IT project can therefore be any such activity that involves the use of IT and can cover for example:The development of an IT strategyThe procurement and installation of a complete business systemThe setting up of a networkThe development of a piece of softwareThe development of a company web siteThe procurement of a single piece of softwareThe movement of equipmentThe completion of an IT project would result in the hand over of the project to those who are responsible for the repetitive processes of the maintenance and support.
5 3. Carrying out the project 4. Reviewing & maintaining the project Document structure1. Setting up the project2. Managing the project3. Carrying out the project4. Reviewing & maintaining the project
6 3. Carrying out the project 4. Reviewing & maintaining the project 1. Setting up the project1. Setting up the project1.1 Establish the need for the project1.2 Produce a clear request for work1.3 Determine scope and objectives of the project1.4 Establish the project team2. Managing the project1.5 Appoint sponsor1.6 Appoint project manager1.7 Appoint user representative3. Carrying out the project1.8 Appoint IT specialist1.9 Seek professional advise4. Reviewing & maintaining the project
7 1. Setting up the project 1. Setting up the project 1.1 Establish the need for the projectAssumed that any project will form part of an overall business strategy and the project has come about because of a clear requirement of the business.Construct IT’s publications ‘An IT Self-Assessment Tool’ and ‘Measuring the Benefits of IT Innovation’ should help in establishing a clear business case for an IT project.1.2 Produce a clear request for workThis should contain a background to the request, how it relates to the business plan, what the expected outcome of the project, the timescale, time or resource constraints and a list of deliverables.1. Setting up the project1.3 Determine scope and objectives of the projectThe project should have a clearly defined scope which should define the extent of the project and a set of objectives which should clearly define what the expectations of the project are.1.4 Establish the project teamEstablish a project team leader and staff appropriate to the project.Possibly contact an IT Consultant who can assist.A typical team should consist of: A sponsor, a project manager, a representative of the business user and an IT specialist.1.5 Appoint sponsorFirst thing to do when setting up any project is to ensure you have a senior manager as a sponsor.This person will champion the project within your business, ensure the resources are available and supply any information requested by the project team.
8 1. Setting up the project 1. Setting up the project 1.6 Appoint project managerThe project manager might not be a full-time role, however the person will be required to spend as much time on the project as is required.The project manager is responsible for the development of the project plan enquiring sufficient resources are made available to the project at the relevant times.The project manager will also be expected to liase between the supplier team and the users representative and/or sponsor; produce the project plan; monitor progress and report to the sponsor; ensure resources are available at the correct time; monitor costs and report to the sponsor1.7 Appoint user representativeThe user representative should review specifications; review the solutions on offer; act as an interface between the users and the project team; test any solutions; help with any implementations.1. Setting up the project1.8 Appoint IT specialistThe IT specialist will be expected to review the technical requirements of the project; ensure the solution will not cause problems with the existing systems; advise on the technical suitability of the solutions on offer.An external IT specialist is often useful where companies lack experience or when small businesses cannot afford a full time IT professional.1.9 Seek professional adviseProfessional advice can be obtained from many sources depending upon your requirements.
9 3. Carrying out the project 4. Reviewing & maintaining the project 2. Managing the project1. Setting up the project2.1 List deliverables2.2 Set milestones and target completion dates2.3 Develop project plan2. Managing the project2.4 Set success criteria2.5 Define roles of participant2.6 Plan review stages3. Carrying out the project2.7 Allow for risk4. Reviewing & maintaining the project
10 2. Managing the project 2. Managing the project 2.1 List deliverables At the start of the project there should be a comprehensive list of deliverables.Where possible give examples.2.2 Set milestones and target completion datesThis should include milestones and any specific dates.This will aid the sequencing of the project and assist teamwork.2.3 Develop project planA project plan should be developed by the project manager and include all of the milestones broken down into the major elements of the project.Resource requirements should be clearly shown.The developed plan should be agreed with the project sponsor.2. Managing the project2.4 Set success criteriaAn important element when setting up a project is to ascertain how the success of the project will be measured.It is important that the user representative is involved in agreeing these criteria.
11 2. Managing the project 2. Managing the project 2.5 Define roles of participantsIt is important that every participant is sure of his or her role in the project.2.6 Plan review stagesIt is useful, particularly for larger projects, to plan a series of review stages.These will enable you to amend the plan if there are some unforeseen difficulties.Subsequent stages should become clearer as each phase is completed.2. Managing the project2.7 Allow for riskWhen planning the project it is important to establish the risks that may be involved and how they could be overcome.Risks often occur due to changes to the project.Review stages can control this, however users, developers and suppliers must not be allowed to change the scope of the project with the approval of the the system sponsor.
12 3. Carrying out the project 4. Reviewing & maintaining the project 1. Setting up the project3.1 Allocate resources3.2 Procure business solutions and software3.3 Procure equipment2. Managing the project3.4 Develop procurement schedule3.5 Evaluate proposals3.6 Consider data management procedures3.7 Manage changes3. Carrying out the project3.8 Issue progress report3.9 Develop test procedures3.10 Issue project documentation4. Reviewing & maintaining the project3.11 Devise training plan3.12 Implement project
13 3. Carrying out the project 3.1 Allocate resourcesOnce the project plan has been completed it is important that the correct level of resources should be allocated to the project.3.2 Procure business solutions and softwareYou will need to consider the procurement of IT if the project needs to solve business solutions. You will need:A specification of the business needs.A list of possible suppliersSelection requirement – essential, beneficial and ‘nice-to-have’3.3 Procure equipmentProcure of equipment may be a project on its own. The hardware required can be dictated by a number of factors:The requirement of the softwareAny company policy with regards to standardsThe operating systemAny existing equipment and their interface if requiredFuture expansion of the business or department3. Carrying out the project3.4 Develop procurement scheduleDraw up a list of all equipment required and agree on delivery dates.The delivery dates will indicate when an order should be placed.
14 3. Carrying out the project 3.5 Evaluate proposalsThis criteria will vary on the requirements of the project but some aspects that should be considered are:Does it meet the business requirementsIs it available within your timescaleWill it need to be modifiedHow much does it costWho else (within your business sector) is using it?Is the supplier able to support your company during both the installation and the life of your project?3.6 Consider data management proceduresIf a change of IT system is involved your data management procedures need to be careful considered in terms of:Legacy data and its transfer to the new systemData interference with other systemsData ownership and who will maintain it.Problems associated with maintaining two systems if parallel running is required.3. Carrying out the project3.7 Manage changesThe area if change management must be adhered to at all times: For example:All requests for changes to the project are made in writing.The effect of the change should be agreed with the project manager.Any financial affect should be presented to the project sponsor so that they can sign off the change.Unscheduled changes can cause problems to the project therefore changes must not be made until the above procedure has been followed.
15 3. Carrying out the project 3.8 Issue progress reportKeep everybody informed at all time be issuing regular progress reports. These reports should contain the following sections:The work completed to dateActions required during the next period of the programme.Resource requirementsA list of the work carried out during the next period.Any agreed changes to the plan.Business Impact Issues.The progress report should not be limited to the project team members but must be made available to all end users, key managers and board members.3.9 Develop test proceduresAgree who will be responsible for any testing required.Timings of testing should be established along with the data requirements.Establish the volume of data that will be used during the testing as testing within inappropriate amounts of data can give misleading results.Make testing realistic by trying to simulate the day-to-day business environment.3. Carrying out the project3.10 Issue project documentationVarious levels of documentation are required on a project.System Documentation –a description of the systemUser Guide –designed to help the user understand the system and hoe to use it.Training guide – designed to be used by the trainer when delivering training courses.The development of documentation is often overlooked at the end of a project. Do not underestimate this task – it often requires specialist skills.
16 3. Carrying out the project 3.11 Devise training planDo not underestimate the training needs of the users.Systems often fail due to lack of, or inadequate, training.Training is best carried out in phase with the implementation.The primary training phase should be ‘system and project awareness’.The next phase should be the normal use of the system.The final phase should be a refresher course, to remind staff of parts of the system which they do not use regularly.3.12 Implement projectThe next phase is implementation.The best projects can fail if the implementation is poor.Implementation needs to be planned with both users and suppliers.Everybody needs to be aware of what their role is.Any data that is used needs to be available in the correct format.If the system is being upgraded, users need to know what the upgrade contains and any changes they are likely to encounter when they first access the system.Productivity usually drops when a new or upgraded system is introduced as staff need time to adjust.If output from a new or upgraded system is critical then arrangements for additional resources should be made by ensuring the developers of the system are on hand to assist with faults or training.Large projects should be implemented with the minimum impact on end users and an allowance should be made for users to become competent at one phase before implementing another one.If the project is implemented in in multiple locations then allow for the one location to settle down before implementing the new system in another location.3. Carrying out the project
17 3. Carrying out the project 4. Reviewing & maintaining the project 2. Managing the project1. Setting up the project2. Managing the project3. Carrying out the project4.1 Review the project4.2 Consider external and internal support4. Reviewing & maintaining the project4.3 Maintain and support hardware and equipment4.4 Maintain and support software
18 4. Reviewing & maintaining the project 4. Reviewing and maintaining the project4.1 Review the projectYou should establish which aspects of the project went well, noting any reasons for success for future projects.You should investigate any areas where things did not go to plan and the reasons why.Many systems can only be reviewed when the system is fully operational.4.2 Consider external and internal supportThe support of both the software and the hardware needs to be considered, either by internal resources or by outsourcing.If the support is internal then the true costs needs to be evaluated.If the support is external then the supplier has the advantage of economy of scale compared to internal resources.Another area of consideration is whether one person has the knowledge to support multiple software packages.4. Reviewing & maintaining the project4.3 Maintain and support hardware and equipmentHardware and equipment often comes with a manufacturer’s twelve month warranty, which can usually be extended to three years at a cost.Consider peripheral components of a computer, as these will not be covered by the computer’s manufacturer but by the component’s manufacturers’ warranty.Also consider the conditions of the warranty.4.4 Maintain and support softwareSoftware can be supported by a third-party support agreement, which covers applications which are interfaced or you can purchase an upgrade to ensure that all software versions are the latest editions and are therefore compatible.It is also worth considering renting the software rather than buying it.