Posts Tagged ‘software methodology’

Project Methodology

Monday, July 20th, 2009

I am a danger if there is a whiteboard in the room.  I can’t help myself.  Maybe it is just that I think in patterns and design.  One of my regular attacks on the whiteboard is to explain to people how a Project Management Methodology fits with a Software Development Methodology, or an Infrastructure Development Methodology.  I have found people generally confused about where one ends and the other begins.  To me, it is very simple,  Look at the diagram below.

Project Management Framework

We start with a project management framework.  It covers such things as risk assessments, defining roles and responsibilities, setting scope, our procurement policy etc.  We can plug in any sort of project to this framework.  A Project Management Methodology tells us we should define roles and responsibilities.  If it is an application Development methodology, the roles will be different to a an Infrastructure Rollout.  They will also be different to a Construction project.

The common denominator is that we need to identify and define roles and responsibilities.  That is what a Project Management Methodology covers.  It doesn’t tell us what those roles and responsibilites are.  The bit that plugs in (Applications Development Methodology, or Package Selection Methodology) tells us that.

While some risks will be common, HOW to do a risk assessment is the focus of a Project Management Methodology.  WHAT are the risks to look for is in the plug in part.  For example what risks are common in Applications Development?  What are the common risks in Package Selection or Infrastructure?

A pure Project Management Methodology should be applicable across any sort of project – IT, Construction, Engineering, Business etc.  If you look at PMBOK, it tells you the activities that should take place in any project.  It does not talk about specific industries.  If you can get people to understand this concept, it will make it much easier to build a process for your organisation.  First construct the Project Management layer, then plug in various types of project underneath.

A white paper we published some years ago expands on the subject.  Click here for more information.

Software Package Selection Process discount extended

Thursday, April 23rd, 2009

We have extended the 20% discount on our new product Software Package Selection Process or SP2 to the end of May.  This means if you buy before then, you will save A$900 on the purchase price.  To find out more click here.

Press Release – Software Package Selection Process launch

Thursday, April 2nd, 2009

For anyone who is interested, we have just put out a press release for the launch of SP2.  SP2 is our new product that will enable an organisation to select a software package quickly, at less cost, and with less risk.  It is a web based methodology that can be tailored for each company to meet your own requirements.  Included are templates, reference documents and links to white papers that will assist.

You can read the press release at PR Web

Phase Zero

Friday, March 20th, 2009

A less known project management term is Phase Zero. I have heard it off and on over a decade or more but most people are not clear what it is all about. In fact it turned up in an early draft of the new international project management standard – ISO 21500. Phase Zero is the phase you carry out before the project starts. It is work to establish if the project is ready to start.

The goal is to understand the following:

  • Does everyone have the same picture of what the project is all about.  The same view of the business problem it is trying to address and the expected outcome.
  • Do we have everying we need in place to start the project?  In particular, do we have the resources we need, available to start when we need them.
  • Who are the key stakeholders, and what is their view of their role in the project.  For example do we have two or more people who believe they should be the Sponsor.
  • Are the expectations of the project realistic?
  • Are there any areas of conflict or inconsistency that need to be resolved prior to the project starting?  For example differences in the view of what is in or out of scope.

As you can see this is not a feasibility phase.  We are not looking at financial justification.  This is a project manager trying to fix the obvious problems that will cause pain down the track.  Many failed projects failed for reasons that in retrospect, were visible on day one.  Until the conflicts and inconsistencies are resolved, the project should not start.

As an example, I did three Phase Zeros last year for a company.  They resulted in one of the projects being cancelled, one deferred for a year, and one proceeding after almost a month of negotiation around the scope and availability of resources.

Many years ago I did a Phase Zero and ended up in front of the board explaining what they needed to do to successfully replace an ERP system.  They had no idea until we started identifying the business resource requirements, and how long they would be taken out of their day to day roles.  We did propose alternatives but the board decided they could not allocate the resource effort at that point.  It was deferred and five years passed before they reconsidered it in a different economic environment.

As part of our Software Package Selection Process (SP2) we have made available the Phase Zero section of the methodology.  It has all the instructions, templates and references to enable you to carry out a Phase Zero for any project.  Before you start your next project, take the time to do a Phase Zero.  You will be surprised at what it uncovers.

New Package Software System Methodology

Wednesday, March 18th, 2009

Today, Project Perfect released our new system methodology tool SP2 or Software Package Selection Process (SPSP or SP2 ).  It is a selection tool for a software package selection.  SP2 starts out from the idea, and works through feasibility, requirements, selection, configuration and implementation.  It ends with the project closure.

The system methodology is a web site that will guide you through the selection of a software package.   The web site consists of 12 phases and each phase has a number of activity.  The activities are supported by templates and reference sources.

To give you an idea of how comprehensive the package selection framework is, there are:

  • 12 phases
  • 164 activities within those phases each with it’s own web page listing purpose, inputs, steps, deliverables, instructions, templates and more information.
  • 121 Templates
  • 31 Reference Documents including extensive guides for things like risk management, benefit identification, testing etc.
  • Numerous references to Project Perfect White Papers on topics that are relevant to that part of the project.

It has been a massive development over a year in the making.  It has drawn on the experiences of many project managers and project management resources to put together. Aside from actually purchasing the material to use within your own organisation, you can actually tailor it to suit your own requirements and processes.

By using SP2 you will select and implement the right software package.  Not only that, you can do it faster, cheaper and with less risk.

To find out more click here