Chapter

The order you put these projects is. of course, to a large degree subjective. Here is 1.1 Examples of one example of a possible ordering. projects

1. Building the Channel Tunnel Almost everybody puts this one first. The huge scale of the task, the relative novelty of the project, all the different specialisms involved and the international nature of the project make it special.

2. Writing an operating system This is a prime example of a software development project.

3. Amending a financial system to deal with dates after 31st December 1999 This project is modifying an existing system rather than creating a new one from scratch. Many software projects have this characteristic and it does not make them any less a software project.

4. Installing a new version of a word processing package in an organization

Although no software is being produced or modified, many of the stages that are associated with software projects will be involved and the techniques of software project management would be appropriate.

5. Investigation into the reasons why a user has a problem with a computer system This will have many of the stages common to software projects, although the precise nature of the end result is uncertain at the outset. It could be that the user needs some simple remedial training. On the other hand, it could turn out to be quite a considerable software modification task.

6. (Jetting married There should be lots of arguments about this one! Some will be reluctant to give a high rating to this because of its personal nature. The degree to which this is •project-like' will depend very much upon the cultural milieu in which it takes place. Very often it requires a high degree of planning, involves lots of different people and, for most people, is a non-routine operation.

7. A research project into what makes a good human-computer interface

Compared to some of the projects above, the objectives of the research project arc more open-ended and the idea of a specific client for the end product may be less well-defined. Research projects arc in some ways special cases and the approach to their planning needs a rather different approach, which is outside the scope of this hook.

8. Producing an edition of a newspaper In some ways this has all the characteristics of a project. There arc lots of different people with lots of different specialisms w hose work needs to he coordinated in order to produce an end product under very tight time constraints. What argues against this as a typical project is that it is repeated. After a while, everyone knows what they each need to do and most of the problems that arise are familiar and the procedures to deal with them arc well-defined.

9. A second year programming assignment for a computing student This is not being done for a customer, although it could be argued that the tutor responsible for setting and assessing the assignment is, in effect, a surrogate client. Not all the stages of a normal project w ill be gone through.

1.2 Brightmouth College payroll: Stages of a project

1. Project evaluation All the costs that would be incurred by the college if it were to carry out its own payroll processing would need to be carefully examined to ensure it would be more cost effective than letting the local authority carry on providing the serv ice.

2. Planning The way that the transfer to local processing is to be carried out needs to be carefully planned with the participation of all those concerned. Some detailed planning would need to be deferred until more information was available, for example, which payroll package was to be used.

3. Requirements analysis This is finding out what the users need from the system. To a large extent it will often consist of finding out what the current system does, as it may be assumed that in general the new system is to provide the same functions as the old. The users might have additional requirements, however, or there might even be facilities that arc no longer needed.

4. Specification This involves documenting what the new system is to be able to do.

5. Design/coding As an 'off-the-shelf package is envisaged, these stages will be replaced by a package evaluation and selection activity.

6. Verification and validation Tests will need to be carried out to ensure that the selected package will actually do what is required. This task might well involve parallel running of the old and new systems and a comparison of the output from them both to check for any inconsistencies.

7, Implementation This would involve such things as installing the software, setting system parameters such as the salary scales, and setting up details of employees.

8. Maintenance/support This will include dealing with users* queries, liaising with the package supplier and taking account of new payroll requirements.

Many large organizations that are committed to computer-based information 1.3 The nature of an systems have specialists responsible for the maintenance of operating systems, operating system However, as an operating system is primarily concerned with driving the hardware it is argued that it has more in common with what we have described as embedded systems.

This project is really driven by objectives. If in-housc payroll processing turns out not to be cost effective, then the project should not try and implement such a solution. Other ways of meeting the objectives set could be considered: for example, it might be possible to contract out the processing to some organization other than the local authority at a lower cost.

1.4 Brightmouth College payroll: objectives-driven vs. product-driven

The danger here is to think only in terms of software modules. The payroll system w ill contain both technical and human elements. A breakdown into subsystems

1.5 Brightmouth College payroll: subsystems will vary tremendously according to your particular viewpoint. F:igure F.I is a diagrammatic representation of just one possible answer.

Boghtmouth College payroll System

Systems software e

Application software

Hardware

Security procedures

Offline processes

Computer operations system

Cleocal system

Figure F.I A systems map of Bright mouth College payroll. The environment of the system would contain:

• tax authorities, such as the Inland Revenue and Contributions Agency in the UK;

• banks for arrangement of payment by EDI (Electronic Data Interchange);

• trades unions (staff may have subscriptions deducted at source);

• software suppliers;

• hardware suppliers;

• other office equipment suppliers;

• a security firm if some staff are paid in cash;

• external auditors;

• college management;

• site management (who are responsible for physical accommodation);

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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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