Introduction to Step Wise project planning

This chapter describes a framework of basic steps in project planning and control upon which the following chapters build. There are many different techniques that can be used in project planning and this chapter gives an overview of the points at which these techniques can be used during project planning. Chapter 4 will illustrate how different projects need different approaches, but this framework should always apply to the planning process used.

The framework described is called the Step Wise method to help to distinguish it from other methods such as PRINCE 2. PRINCE 2 is the set of project management standards that have been published by the Central Computing and Telecommunications Agency (CCTA) for use on British government IT projects. The standards are also widely used on non-government projects in the United Kingdom. Step Wise should be compatible with PRINCE 2. It should be noted, however, that Step Wise covers only the planning stages of a project and not monitoring and control.

In order to illustrate the Step Wise approach and to show how it might have to be adapted to deal with different circumstances, two parallel examples are used.

Appendix A adds some further details about the PRINCE 2 approach. There is also some use of PRINCE 2 in the Netherlands and Australia.

Let us assume that there are two former Computing and Information Systems students who have now had several years of software development experience.

Case study examples: Brightmouth College Payroll and International Office Equipment Group Maintenance Accounts

Brigette has been working for the Management Services department of a local government authority when she sees an advertisement for the position of Information Systems Development Officer at Brightmouth College. She is attracted to the idea of being her own boss, working in a relatively small organization and helping it to set up appropriate information systems from scratch. She applies for the job and gets it. One of the first tasks that confronts her is the implementation of independent payroll processing! (This scenario has already been used as the basis of some examples in Chapter 1.)

Amanda works for International Office Equipment (IOE), which manufactures and supplies various items of high-technology office equipment. An expanding area of their work is the maintenance of IT equipment. They have now started to undertake maintenance of equipment for which they were not originally the suppliers. A computer-based batch processing system deals with invoicing on a job-by-job basis. An organization might have to call IOE out several times to deal with different bits of equipment and there is a need to be able to group the invoice details for work done into 'group accounts' for which monthly statements will be produced. Amanda has been given her first project management role, the task of implementing this extension to the invoicing system.

In Table 2.1 we outline the general approach that might be taken to planning these projects. Figure 2.1 provides an outline of the main planning activities. Steps 1 and 2, 'Identify project scope and objectives' and 'Identify project infrastructure', may be tackled in parallel in some cases. Steps 5 and 6 will have to be repeated for each activity needed to complete the project.

A major principle of project planning is to plan in outline first and then in more detail as the time to carry out an activity approaches. Hence the lists of products and activities that are the result of Step 4 will be reviewed when the tasks connected with a particular phase of a project are considered in more detail. This will be followed by a more detailed iteration of Steps 5 to 8 for the phase under consideration.

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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