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Planning methodologies for the delivery of current and future IT projects

Discuss about the Methodologies and Technologies for Delivery of IT Projects.

The purpose of this report is to put emphasis on the methodologies and techniques which are appropriate for the delivery of IT projects. John Banks scenario is a big project which will require proper and appropriate project management methodology in manner to make the project successful. Planning methodology for a big project can be delivered in various phases in which each phase can be interlinked or may be overlapping during any project activities (Hill, 2013). Various tools have also been proposed in this report which will help in better managing and scheduling the project including the expenditures in manner to complete the project in time. Recommended appropriate methodology according to the provided scenario will be waterfall as mentioned its principles and benefits on the explanation why it will be better than any other methodology and technique.

For the successful delivery of an IT project planning methodologies can be sub-divided in four phases which are:

Phase 1: Project Initiation; It is the mean time of the whole project when the idea of the project is defined, evaluated and authorized. The executive committee of John Banks Information Technology should be given the responsibility to review the project as Project Review Committee (PRC) and meet on a weekly basis and discuss the issues and other managerial decisions (Schwalbe, 2015). This phase may take hours or a week based on the size of the project. The major activities and actions that come under initiation phase can be listed as:

  • Governance model
  • Prioritizing Processes of project
  • Initiating remedy project request
  • Perform resource and size/scoping workshop estimates
  • Project return back to PRC for reviewing again
  • Schedule meetings quarterly
  • Project manager is assigned with new “Active” project

Phase 2: Project planning; Project initiation phase is followed by project planning and is the most import stage for a successful project management (Fleming & Koppelman, 2016). It is a process that takes lots of time and need more attention; it is not a single activity or task. It defines the activities under the project management and also explains how those activities can be accomplished. The purposes of project planning are; to define the scope of the project more clearly and to obtain sign-off on scopes of the project (Keil, Lee & Deng, 2013). Another purpose is to establishing project schedule more precisely and establishing resources based on the skill sets which are identified during the scoping and sizing the project. To plan possible acquisitions and purchase including drafting Service Legal Agreement (SLA) for the services or product involved in the project.

Techniques for the delivery of current and future IT projects

The activities that will be helpful in successful planning of the project are

  • Finalizing the Project Scope Statement that is required for the regular projects
  • Creating resource management plan
  • Creating Project Work Schedule that is required for all the projects
  • Creating communication management plan
  • Scheduling a kick-off Meeting that is required for the regular projects
  • Creating procurement plan
  • Creating other valid project documents

Phase 3: Project Execution and Control (Project Managing); The main focus of the manager of the project should be to move forward towards monitoring the work being done during the project reaches to Execution and Controlling phase (Beringer, Jonas & Kock, 2013). Managing the project plan will ensure that the activities planned for the project will be carried out in efficient and effective manner. It will ensure in making adjustments for any activity that is missed till that time in manner to keep the project according to schedule, resource staffing and other impacts (Cicmil et al., 2017).  


Following are the activities that involved during this second phase of Project Managing

  • Managing scope
  • Managing schedule
  • Managing issues
  • Managing communication
  • Managing cost
  • Managing risk
  • Managing quality
  • Managing the Systems Development Life Cycle (SDLC)
  • Completing service related documents

Phase 4: Project Closeout; It is the last stage of the project cycle and one of the important phases in the whole project execution and completion (Archibald, Fillippo & Filippo, 2012). Once the milestones and defined project tasks seem to be completed project and customers accepted the deliverables of the project, closeout comes at the completion edge. The key elements that are included in the project closeout are firstly, verification of formal integration by the Executive Committee and stakeholders. Another key point that is involved in project closeout is re-distribution of resources that include facilities, staffs, automated systems and equipments involved in the project. Another key point is documentation of the problems issues and successes of the project and ‘lessons learned’ should also be documented during this phase. Last key point is to completing, collecting and archiving the records of the project including SLA and signatures (Phillips, 2012).

Several activities that need to be cover during the phase of project closeout can be listed as:

  • Completing documents related to Service Legal Agreement (SLA)
  • Conduction of final project closure meeting
  • Archiving project documentation

Four common tools that can be used in the successful delivery of the IT projects are:

Brainstorming: It can be considered as the crucial stage of the project planning and project management process (Davies & Hughes, 2014). Brainstorming is helpful for both activities inside the project and outside the project. In brainstorming first stage is random technique and free thinking, a natural approach for many employees whose mains strengths are in processes and systems.

Critical Path Analysis Flow Diagrams: It is a method of identifying interdependent and related events and activities in a project by using a tool within Critical Path Analysis called as PERT (Program/Programme/Project Evaluation/and Review Techniques) (Leach, 2014). Following is an example of critical path analysis which can help in explaining this topic more clearly.

Recommend the Selection of a Particular Methodology and Technique

Figure: 1 (created by author)        

Gantt Charts:  it can be considered as a best technique model for budgeting and scheduling the project and for communicating and presenting planning of the project which helps in gaining efficient and effective success for delivery of an IT project (Nicholas & Steyn, 2017). Ganttt Charts are most useful and flexible of all management tools but they usually do not show the inter-dependence and importance of those activities which are moving on parallel during the project. One of the drawbacks in Ganttt Chart is that they do not show the importance of any activity which is relied on the completion of another activity as that can be known by using Critical Path Analysis so implementing both the tools in a project management will help in successful and efficient completion of the project.

Based on the scenario Waterfall system development methodology will be most appropriate for the delivery of this IT project.

Waterfall:

Figure 2: waterfall model (created by author)

Waterfall is a linear framework methodology whose principles are: firstly, division of project into sequential phases, in which some overlaps and splash backs are acceptable. Second principle is that it emphases on time scheduling, planning, target dates, implementations and budgets of the entire system at once (Despa 2014). Third principle is to maintain tight control over the whole project cycle by using extensive written documentation. This can also be achieved by formal reviewing and approval/signoff by the management and users of information technology management at each ending phase of the activity or before starting new activity. The situation in the scenario is most appropriate for choosing this methodology for the delivery of the IT project. Waterfall is an ideal methodology for supporting the team which is less experienced or a team who have fluctuate composition. By applying this methodology progress of the system development can be measurable and it is also beneficial in conserving resources.

Conclusion

Based on the above report it can be concluded that Information Technology projects like John Banks’ case need proper planning with appropriate tools and techniques which can properly estimate all the objectives of this project. Above report emphases on the phases that can be implemented in the project during execution of the project for its efficient and effective completion at the estimated time. Waterfall technique has been proposed as the better approach because projects like John Banks are big projects with large investment and it can only be delivered efficiently by the approaches proposed in this report. Better tool would be Gantt Chart for this project even having some drawbacks it will focus on the completion of project on time and will focus on every hidden activities and resources involved in the project

References:

Archibald, R. D., Di Filippo, I., & Di Filippo, D. (2012). The six-phase comprehensive project life cycle model including the project incubation/feasibility phase and the post-project evaluation phase. PM World Journal, 1(5), 1-40.

Beringer, C., Jonas, D., & Kock, A. (2013). Behavior of internal stakeholders in project portfolio management and its impact on success. International Journal of Project Management, 31(6), 830-846.

Cicmil, S., Cooke-Davies, T., Crawford, L., & Richardson, K. (2017, April). Exploring the complexity of projects: Implications of complexity theory for project management practice. Project Management Institute.

Davies, M. B., & Hughes, N. (2014). Doing a successful research project: Using qualitative or quantitative methods. Palgrave Macmillan.

DESPA, M. L. (2014). Comparative study on software development methodologies. Database Systems Journal, 5(3).

Fleming, Q. W., & Koppelman, J. M. (2016, December). Earned value project management. Project Management Institute.

Hill, G. M. (2013). The complete project management office handbook. CRC Press.

Keil, M., Lee, H. K., & Deng, T. (2013). Understanding the most critical skills for managing IT projects: A Delphi study of IT project managers. Information & Management, 50(7), 398-414.

Leach, L. P. (2014). Critical chain project management. Artech House.

Nicholas, J. M., & Steyn, H. (2017). Project management for engineering, business and technology. Taylor & Francis.

Phillips, R. (2012). A Case Study on Injecting Mobile Technology to Improve Business Processes Between the Scheduling Team and Operational Staff(Doctoral dissertation, University of Leeds, School of Computing Studies).

Schwalbe, K. (2015). Information technology project management. Cengage Learning.

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