IT Project Management Basics: Planning a Project (Part 2)

Posted on: October 25th, 2016 by Julian Lombardi

 

Greetings! We left off last month with the initial steps to managing a project. This month we are going to resume where we left off and move into the planning stage. We spent enough time on introductions last month so let’s just get right into it.

 

Determine detailed requirements

By this stage you should at least have a preliminary set of requirements. From here, it is important to drill-down further and create a detailed and specific list of requirements. Now is the time to also add new requirements here that previously were forgotten or missed. This includes refining the assumptions identified, resources, schedules, costs that were outlined in the initiating phase.

Determine the project team

This is where project team members would be chosen. They will be responsible for working on the project and reporting to the project manager so choose wisely!

Creating a Work Breakdown Structure (WBS)

A WBS is a crucial element of any project. Its purpose is to break down the overall project into smaller more manageable tasks. This will help everyone on the project team and all stakeholders understand what needs to be done to reach project completion and will help break down roles and responsibilities among the project team.

Estimate Resource Requirements

Estimating what resources will be needed is helpful in determining the approximate cost of the project. This includes staff, facilities, equipment, subcontractors, and others. The outcome of this process will be used to gain resource commitment and buy-in from management.

Develop a schedule and budget

Now that there is some idea of the tasks to be done (WBS) and the resources needed (resource requirements), it is time to develop a preliminary schedule for the tasks and the project as a whole. Also, there should be enough information gathered to estimate a preliminary budget. Both of these should be compared against the original constraints outlined in the project charter (initiating phase) to reconcile a final schedule and budget.

Risk Analysis

Identify risks associated with the project, perform qualitative and quantitative risk analysis, and plan for responses to any of the outlined risks. This area should outline various types of risks, using a new application, some examples are:

  • interface too difficult for staff to use
  • may not work on computer systems
  • don’t have the server capacity required
  • security/privacy associated with new application

 

Identifying risks like the above and developing appropriate and realistic responses will help evade disaster that could off-road the entire project.

Kickoff Meeting

Hold a meeting with all key stakeholders, project team members, management to review everything accumulated. This will ensure everyone is on the same page and will hopefully gain final buy-in from all parties involved.

 

That’s all for part two of our project management tips! Hopefully you appreciate this streamlined approach compared to last month’s more in-depth look. This series should be capped off by the end of this year so stay tuned next month for part three.

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