Creating a Basic Methodology

If you are new to methodologies, you should start with a simplistic approach for your project. The first step is to list a few key phases you think suit your type of business. In the following example, we start building a methodology. Assume you have a small project team in your company and that your aim is to avoid any lengthy documentation or additional steps that will impede project delivery. You can always start elaborating as your project starts gaining momentum. For the purpose of the example, I have randomly selected three basic phases of our methodology:

Explore. Here you need to ensure that the focus remains on completing the business requirements for the upcoming solution. This includes obtaining project information, meeting with your client, and creating a list of assumptions and a project brief or business case. You should drill down into some level of analysis and determine what the project scope is or is not.

Develop. During this key step, start creating at least the project plan, together with any technical specifications you need to build your product. This may include case diagrams and flowcharts. Additionally, during this phase, the role of the deployment plan is highlighted.

Execute. During the execution phase, the physical solution is developed and tested to the point where the solution is rolled out to the client.

With the main phases documented, we need to identify the minimum artifacts or project templates needed. Table 3.5 shows that we need at least a business case document during the "explore" phase. After you have the templates defined and in place, assess which processes you need to support this methodology. Assume that your company or project will be purchasing considerable hardware and services from different vendors. In this case, you need to ensure that you have a procurement and financial process in place to make things easier. If these basic processes are not in place, it is likely that you will be spending more time doing administrative work than managing your project.

Table 3.5: Solutions-based models

Basic Phases

Phase Description

Basic Artifacts Needed

Explore

Examine the deliverables needed, as well as resources.

Business case

Develop

Develop solution against specification.

Technical specification

Execute

Implement the solution.

Deployment plan

After the processes have been identified and established, run a simulation or demo to see that everything works

After the processes have been identified and established, run a simulation or demo to see that everything works the way that you designed it to work. Tweak the methodology by either adding or deleting pieces to the methodology. If your company or project is small, you want to be flexible and able to communicate to fellow team members in an efficient manner without any complexity. Many companies make the fatal mistake of having reams of documentation do the communicating between parties instead of face-to-face communications. But our example is fine. We have kept the methodology to a minimum set of templates and processes, and we have our project team sitting together in a comfortable and relaxing work environment.

As our team or project becomes larger, it will require additional coordination and, regrettably, slightly more documentation. In addition, depending on the technology, we want a highly dynamic project environment that can create this solution quickly (e.g., we want to create a national database that collects and interprets intelligence data from multiple government agencies).

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Project Management Made Easy

Project Management Made Easy

What you need to know about… Project Management Made Easy! Project management consists of more than just a large building project and can encompass small projects as well. No matter what the size of your project, you need to have some sort of project management. How you manage your project has everything to do with its outcome.

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