Jump to first page 7. Why IT plan n Is it clear what the project is supposed to deliver? n Is it clear who will be working on the project? n Do you have a breakdown of activities? n Is it clear when deliverables are due? n Do you have established communication channels? n Are you clear who the stakeholders are? n Do you have milestones and due dates for them? n Do you know what resources are available? n Do you know what to do if you run into obstacles? n Do you know what to do if you need more cooperation from functional areas? n Are you aware of project risks and their impact?
Jump to first page 7. IT project plan n In its simplest form, a project plan should clarify what the project is about and how it will be accomplished. n It helps coordination, communication, and negotiation. n Planning is often avoided, arguments include: u “It is time consuming.” u “The project is too small to warrant a plan.” u “Plans do not often get implemented.” u “ We need action not planning.”
Jump to first page 7. Characteristics n Positions the project in a broad perspective. n Must be comprehensive and inclusive of important dimensions. n Must guide execution. n Must start with the project scope that defines the project outcome. n Must guide activities that accomplish what is described in the project scope statement. n Must be treated as a living document. n Must be adhered to by all stakeholders especially the project manager and team members.
Jump to first page 7. Project planning process n Confirm Executive Approval n Understand Project Requirements n Reflect on Issues n Identify Milestones n Identify Phases n Identify Activities Within Phases n Identify Tasks within Activities
Jump to first page 7. Project planning process n Confirm Executive Approval u All sources of power and influence that could impact a project must be identified. u Executive support must be secured. n Understand Project Requirements u All requirements of the project must be identified. u Requirements must be linked to business needs.
Jump to first page 7. Project planning process n Reflect on Issues u The project manager is ultimately responsible for the fate of a project. u Issues to address include: F Strategic Items - long term viability of a project F Tactical Items - day to day operations of project F Resourcing Items - human, technology and other physical resources F Acceptance Criteria - to assess deliverables
Jump to first page 7. Project planning process n Identify Milestones u Milestones are clearly defined events that have significant importance. u A milestone should lead toward the successful completion of a project. u A milestone is typically accompanied by a deliverable, which can be defined, measured and demonstrated.
Jump to first page 7. Project planning process n Identify Phases u Project phases allow large projects to be divided into manageable pieces. F Based on prioritized list of user requirements. u Phases are constructed to implement deliverables in a priority order that serves those functions that have the highest needs F Risk to business units must be minimized in all situations.
Jump to first page 7. Project planning process n Identify Activities within Phases u Each phase should be divided into activities so that each activity produces a single deliverable. u An activity is defined by a start date and time, an end date and time, and with resources allocated to it. n Identify Tasks within Activities u You can further break down activities into the distinct tasks that are necessary to fulfill the activity.
Jump to first page 7. Project planning constraints n The constraints applicable to most projects are: u Budget u Time u Resources F Human Skills, IS hardware/software, overhead requirements.
Jump to first page 7. Project planning constraints n Budget u A Budget is generally assigned to a project during the proposal stage. u Budgetary limitations are also applied at other levels of a project, such as the design phase. u Budget amounts are sometimes shifted between phases to shift project priorities.
Jump to first page 7. Project planning constraints n Time u A project starts and ends on specific target dates. F Sometimes the start and end dates are flexible. u The project duration is usually divided into shorter times for different phases, activities and tasks. u PERT/CPM is a good estimating tool for time constraints.
Jump to first page 7. Project planning constraints n Resources u Human Skills F Required skill-set for the project. F Required skills can sometimes overlap among people. u IS Hardware/Software F It is important to plan for the availability of technology ahead of time. F It project manager must ensure that correct hardware/software combination has been selected and ordered in a timely manner.
Jump to first page 7. Project planning constraints n Resources u Various resources are applied to a project. u Some are only required at specific times while others are required for the duration of the project. u If timing is critical, resource availability must be carefully planned in response to time constraint.
Jump to first page 7. Project planning pitfalls n Every project has unique aspects that make the planning process unique and problematic. u Following a generic recipe is not possible and should be avoided. u Experience from past projects must be well understood and carefully used otherwise it may prove counter productive. n Human nature is another pitfall u People have the tendency to do the easier tasks; often without realizing it.
Jump to first page 7. Project planning pitfalls n Factors that cause projects to fail include: u Lack of good project plan u Requirements not understood by the project team u Insufficient funding u Unrealistic expectations of stakeholders u Lack of project management and leadership skills
Jump to first page 7. Project planning tools n Gantt Charts n Work Breakdown Structures (WBS) n Critical Path Method (CPM) n Program Evaluation and Review Technique (PERT) n Microsoft Project
7. Project planning and success n Acts like a road map for execution. n Used as means of primary communication with all stakeholders. n Reflects acceptance by all stakeholders. n Reflects collective efforts. n Requires broad involvement. n Identifies exceptions and contingencies. n Provides flexibility due to unpredictable nature of some events and activities.
Jump to first page 7. Project planning and success n It clarifies what needs to be done before the work starts n It makes work manageable by breaking down the project into phases n It defines the confines of each work unit in terms of time and budget n It clarifies who is responsible for a task n It gives perspective and links work units to the overall project n It links the project to organizational goals and objectives n It is a source of reference for clarifying issues n It provides a base for performance evaluation n It provides a base to monitor progress
Jump to first page 7. Project planning and success n It provides a base for measuring success n It provides a base for establishing communication channels n It helps to create realistic expectations. n It helps to generate support for the project. n It provides boundaries for triple constraints: cost, time, requirements n It provides the project manager with the opportunity to demonstrate administrative and leadership skills n It provides the project manager with the opportunity to set standards and describe expectations n It reduces uncertainty
Jump to first page 7. Challenges n While not cast in stone, a plan must provide a sense of stability, continuity, and focus. n Early adaptors rely on self-training and their expectations are often changed. n Reluctant users may know the business but are often hesitant to apply new technology in their work. n Expectation gap – between technology potential and its actual benefits. n Knowledge gap – between individuals who know the business and those who know the technology.
Jump to first page 7. Challenges n The technology may become mature in the future and be able to meet current expectations, but it is not fulfilling those expectations now. n Sometimes users are not prepared to wait; they expect the best features now. n Sometimes users develop false expectations because of over sell phenomenon by the internal developers or external vendors. n A good project plan helps form realistic expectations.
7. Discussion question n It is suggested in this chapter that an ‘action’ oriented system development approach is often concerned with short-term objectives and sometimes at the expense of long-term goals. Does this mean that action is not necessary? What is your interpretation?