Stages Planning Initial Data Collection Situation Evaluation Solution Definition Implementation of Solution Conclusion
Planning It is important to be clear on the project objectives at the outset and to produce an outline plan for the achievement of the objectives as soon as possible, to provide a framework for the other activities listed below and to act as a starting point for the planning process throughout the project.
Initial Data Collection Initial data collection, regardless of the topic, is an activity addressed to the acquisition of understanding: of the environment in which the project is to be undertaken; of the tools that may or will be used; of the problems likely to be encountered; of the initial feasibility of the objective(s) set for the project.
Situation Evaluation An evaluation of the situation is acquired by analysing the initial data collected and should lead to a better definition of the problem and provide the project with a clearer sense of direction. It will focus attention on the detailed data collection requirements
Solution Definition Depending on the type of project the solution may be defined in terms of a requirements specification (for a feasibility study); of a systems specification (for a systems development project); of an evaluation structure (for a study of a software package or packages).
Implementation of Solution Implementing the solution will range from the development of the requirements specification and the completion of the feasibility study to the specifying, writing, testing, installing and documenting the specified system through to the carrying through and writing up of the package evaluation or comparative study.
Conclusion An assessment towards the end of the project (and prior to the final drafting of the project report) should result in two conclusions (or sets of conclusions), one on the product ie. what the project achieved against the objective(s) set at the start of the project, and a second on the process ie. how the outcome of the project was achieved with an indication of the lessons to be learned from success or failure (as measured by achievement against objectives).
(The balance in terms of time and importance of the activities outlined above is a matter for discussion between student and supervisor. However, the project report needs to provide evidence of the attention paid to all six sets of activities.)