Development Plan

The technical staff in the organization or on the project creates the development plan. In essence, the plan presents not only what the "change" will look like but also how to develop the solution in more detail. In many environments, the development plan has two main points. The first focuses more on development methods and approaches, including testing, while the second point focuses on the broader aspects of administration and control. The development plan provides a disciplined approach to organizing and managing the IT project. A successful IT development plan would include

• Scope of the development to be undertaken

• An overview of the current system or information systems environment

• Benchmarking other processes or systems

• The proposed development environment and interfaces

• Security considerations

• Development guidelines and standards that will be used

• Development resources required on the project

• Estimated schedule for the development

• Change control

By completing the development plan early in the planning phase of the project life cycle, the project manager, with the aid of the development manager/technical lead, can become familiar with the essential steps of organizing the development effort for the project.

7. Estimate resources.

8. Establish schedules.

9. Assemble staff.

10. Set milestones.

The development plan should concentrate on information that is unique or tailored to development activities. If standard policies, guidelines, or procedures will be applied to an aspect of the project, the plan should reference the documents in which these are defined rather than restating them in detail. Writing of the plan can begin as soon as any information about the PDR and scope becomes available.

The project manager should complete the plan by the end of the initiation phase. If items in the development plan are missing for any reason, the technical lead/development manager should indicate who will supply the outstanding information and when it will be supplied. Copies of the approved development plan should be distributed to all technical team members and identified stakeholders.

Two of the most critical resources are development resources and time. The development manager is concerned with how much time will be required to complete the project and what staffing level will be necessary over the development cycle. The technical lead/development manager usually performs both staff and time estimations, and accordingly arranges a project meeting with the project manager in order to review the schedule and resource requirements. Issues of staff size and composition over the life cycle are also considered.

If the project is relatively straightforward and has a short project life cycle, many IT projects simply combine the development plan and implementation plan. The reason is that many of the resources remain the same throughout the project, making the approach easier. In such a case, a combined plan works well. However, in the event that the project is a medium or large one, it is recommended that the development plan and the implementation plan be separated, as the development phase will most likely have many changes during the design and development, which impacts the implementation.

PROJECT INFRASTRUCTURE

When planning a project, the project manager could face the possibility that the client may not have sufficient infrastructure to accommodate the entire project team for the project. In such an event, an option to lease may be the best approach. The project manager cannot assume that the client will be providing the necessary infrastructure, and he or she needs to clarify this assumption. If the infrastructure is not negotiated with the client, and no provision is made within the accepted project budget, it is more than likely that this would affect profit starting at day one.

There are normally a few scenarios that the project manager is likely to encounter. However, it is very important to remember that there are always a few options available, and the project manager should be aware of the importance and costs associated with each option. These options are

• Virtual management (international or national)

• On-site management (at the client premises)

• Off-site management (at an independent or common facility used by the contractor)

• Offshore management (project managed totally offshore in another country)

Seasoned project managers know that trying to implement a system without the necessary workstations, hardware, and commercial software could be disastrous to any project. Effective logistics support needs to be arranged and included into the overall planning phase of the project.

Many projects have failed because the logistics were not planned for or were simply overlooked. Lead times of hardware and software are vital to the project schedule, and it is not uncommon for essential items to be delivered in months instead of the estimated few days. The slippage on the project has a huge effect on the entire project, and the person accountable for preventing slippage is the project manager. Needless to say, to keep things running smoothly, the project manager needs to be sure of several things.

• The hardware has been specified correctly and been documented.

• The delivery dates are confirmed and guaranteed.

• The necessary purchase orders have been completed and submitted for approval internally.

• The orders have been processed and placed with the supplier(s).

• The supplier(s) has given the delivery schedule.

• The assembly date and the configuration setup of the ordered items are defined.

• The commissioning dates for the ordered items have been confirmed.

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