Business Services - Best Practices for Project Management Compilation from Business Services Projects This is a work in process document. As post implementation reviews are conducted for Business Services projects and more is learned on how to effectively manage projects, this document should continue to be updated. The scope of this document is primarily geared towards the management of small technology projects and not those that are enterprise wide, although some of the same concepts do apply. ITAP will be developing a Project Office and when it is implemented, a methodology and processes will be developed. This document will need to be updated to ensure that it aligns with ITAP’s methodology and processes. Templates of several outputs of a technology project can be found at: \\1061fs03\data\BS\Common\Users\BSC\Project_Mgmt\Project_Templates\ TRIPLE CONSTRAINT The triple constraint involves making tradeoffs between scope, time and cost for a project. It is inevitable in a project life cycle that there will be changes to the scope, time or cost of the project. However where most projects fail is that when one of the areas changes and appropriate adjustments are not made to the other areas. For example, if a deadline is moved up, what actions are needed with regards to cost or scope to ensure the deadline is met without compromising the quality of the product. Business Services - Best Practices for Project Management PROJECT MANAGEMENT Successful project management requires that all knowledge areas (scope, time, cost, quality, human resource, communications, risk, procurement, project integration) be managed effectively. Some of the items that came out of the reviews are directly related to the above knowledge areas, areas of which there needs to be improvement. Core Functions Scope Management Defining and managing all the work required to successfully complete the project. Charters should be developed for each project. A formal process should be developed for change management including the estimate in cost of making the change. Scope of the project needs to be clearly defined in the project charter. To avoid scope creep, any changes to scope must be documented and a formal approval must be obtained before changing the scope of the project. Need to determine who can make decisions and differentiate based on magnitude of decision. Not every project decision should go to the Steering Committee. Time Management Estimating how long it will take to complete work, develop project schedule, and ensure completion. Project Schedule – for each project a project schedule should be defined early on. Tasks should be identified down to the task/person level. Project Created: 3/4/03 Page 2 of 6 Business Services - Best Practices for Project Management schedule templates (plans for software upgrades, software development etc…) should be developed so that project managers have a “pool” to pull from. All projects that have more than 5 resources and have duration of longer than 1 month should utilize Microsoft Project to develop a project schedule. Requirements should be done prior to development work. In areas where business changes are needed, significant time should be allotted to do this. Include entire project team in planning. This will help minimize tasks being overlooked in the plan. Break the project into small pieces. Not all functionality has to be delivered with one release. Time needed for the project by the various resources needs to be better identified. Often the time is underestimated. Cost Management Preparing and managing a budget Budget guidelines need to be established prior to project Need to determine who has the authority to make certain budget decisions A budget identifying the total cost of ownership of an application should be developed. Some costs that need to be identified and budgeted for are: Consultants – as we continue to purchase more applications. Our dependency on consultants will continue. This needs to be budgeted as a recurring cost with each upgrade. Maintenance agreements will be a recurring cost of owning purchased applications. Travel and professional development – the skills needed to support these new applications requires staff to learn new technology as well as develop partnerships with other institutions utilizing the same software. This is a recurring cost and should be budgeted for accordingly. Quality Management Ensures the project will satisfy stated or implied needs A formal customer sign-off process is needed. Created: 3/4/03 Page 3 of 6 Business Services - Best Practices for Project Management Ensure the scope statement has specific measures of success so that it is easier to determine if a project has been successful at meeting the objectives. Facilitating Functions Human Resource Management Making effective use of people. Knowledgeable resources should be identified for the project team and involved as soon as possible. If staff are unable to devote time necessary, then tasks should be prioritized. End users should be involved early in the project and updated throughout. If a project requires some special skills (i.e. knowledge of SQL etc..), staff need to have the training made available at the right time. This may be something that should be included in the project plan – training assessments of project team. Staff should be given release time for participating in projects spanning a long time or requiring significant staff effort. Clearly define staff roles and responsibilities. Communications Management Generating, collecting, disseminating, storing project information. A communication plan should be developed to outline what gets communicated to whom and who is responsible for the communication. For example, what information gets communicated to the Steering Committee? Sponsor Meetings - regular meetings should be established with sponsor to ensure they are aware of project status. Frequency should be based on project size and turnaround time. The larger the project, the more infrequent (monthly) the meetings should be. Format of agenda should be consistent. Team Meetings - regular meetings should be established with project team to ensure tasks completed, that they are aware of important deadlines etc…Agendas should be developed and minutes should be completed with action items. Point of Contacts – POCs should be identified for major groups (i.e. IT, testers, business areas etc…). Sometimes it is difficult to ensure if people read email regarding important dates etc…The POC is responsible for ensuring their area is aware of information relating to them. Created: 3/4/03 Page 4 of 6 Business Services - Best Practices for Project Management Majordomo - mail lists may also be developed so that the project team can communicate freely with each other. Risk Management Identifying, analyzing, and responding to risks Risks need to be identified prior to project. In addition, procedures on how to handle these risks if they arise need to be documented. Staff turnover will most likely occur on projects spanning a long time. A management plan needs to be devised on how new staff will be brought up to speed. Procurement Acquiring or procuring goods and services that are needed from outside the organization It may be necessary to hire outside consultants for larger projects. This may allow implementations to run smoother as the consultants can alert us to issues. Project Integration Management Overarching function that affects and is affected by all other knowledge areas. Close interaction with vendor is needed to understand changes with new versions (i.e. what current functionality won’t exist in new version) Project Plan should be developed and include: Overview of the project - description, sponsors, stakeholders, deliverables Organizational structure of the project – authority of project manager and steering committee, responsibilities and communication for the project, reporting structure of project Management and technical approaches – management objectives, project controls (status reports, how to handle changes), risk management, project staffing plan, technology methodologies Scope management plan – WBS (work break-down structure) or high level task list, key deliverables Project schedule – summary and detailed Budget – summary and detailed, assumptions Created: 3/4/03 Page 5 of 6 Business Services - Best Practices for Project Management A project should be broken down into small manageable pieces rather than implementing everything at once. Periodic reviews should occur to determine if the project should continue. Miscellaneous Testing Should be detailed – scripts should be developed for minimal testing. This doesn’t mean that other testing is not also needed. Parallel testing – when at all possible, it is best to be able to test the old version in conjunction w/ the new version. This helps identify gaps. Issue list should be maintained throughout project to ensure issues are resolved before implementation or at least be aware that those issues exist. Instances (QA/DEV/Production) – when testing, instances need to be compatible to ensure the needed functionality is transferred from one version to the next. Issues found after testing should be included in test scripts to detect in future upgrades/enhancements to the system. Training Evaluations may be needed to determine if there is additional training that is needed. Be careful in assumptions regarding knowledge level of the users. Adequate time should be allowed for training. A common theme in all feedback was that there wasn’t enough time for testing. Need to identify a “rule of thumb” for project managers to use as a guide. QA instance needs to be “frozen” when training material development starts. Created: 3/4/03 Page 6 of 6
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