Project Characteristic Categories

A brief description of the characteristics of requirements, project team, user community, and project type and risk follow.Tables 4-1 through 4;4 provide a set of matrices for use in steps 1-5 of the life cycle model selection process described in the preceding section.

Requirements

The requirements category (Table 4-1) consists of questions related to things that have been requested by the user for the project. They are sometimes termed as functions or features of the system that will be provided by the project.

Table 4-1. Selecting a Life Cycle Model

Based on C

haracteristics of Requirements

Requirements

Waterfall

V-Shaped

Prototype

Spiral

RAD

Incremental

Are the requirements easily defined and/or well known?

Yes

Yes

No

No

Yes

No

Requirements

Waterfall

V-Shaped

Prototype

Spiral

RAD

Incremental

Can the requirements be defined early in the cycle?

Yes

Yes

No

No

Yes

Yes

Will the requirements change often in the cycle?

No

No

Yes

Yes

No

No

Is there a need to demonstrate the require-ments to achieve definition?

No

No

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

Is a proof of concept required to demonstrate capability?

No

No

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

Do the require-ments indicate a complex system?

No

No

Yes

Yes

No

Yes

Is early functionality a requirement?

No

No

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Project Team

Whenever possible, it is best to select the people for the project team before selecting the life cycle model. The characteristics of this team (Table 4-2) are important in the selection process because thev are responsible for the successful completion of the cvcle, and thev can assist in the selection process.

Table 4-2. Selecting a Life Cyc

e Model Based on Characteristics of the

Projec

Team

Project Team

Waterfall

V-Shaped

Prototype

Spiral

RAD

Incremental

Are the majority of team mem-bers new to the problem do-main for the project?

No

No

Yes

Yes

No

No

Are the majority of team mem-bers new to the technology domain for the project?

Yes

Yes

No

Yes

No

Yes

Are the majority of team mem-bers new to the tools to be used on the project?

Yes

Yes

No

Yes

No

No

Are the team members sub-ject to reassign-ment during the life cycle?

No

No

Yes

Yes

No

Yes

Project Team

Waterfall

V-Shaped

Prototype

Spiral

RAD

Incremental

Is there training available for the project team, if required?

No

Yes

No

No

Yes

Yes

Is the team more comfortable with structure than flexibility?

Yes

Yes

No

No

No

Yes

Will the project manager closely track the team's progress?

Yes

Yes

No

Yes

No

Yes

Is ease of resource allocation important?

Yes

Yes

No

No

Yes

Yes

Does the team accept peer reviews and inspections, management/customer reviews, and milestones?

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

The early project phases can provide a good understanding of the user community (Table 4-3) and the expected relationship with the project team for the duration of the project. This understanding will assist you in selecting the appropriate model because some models are dependent on high user involvement and understanding of the project.

Project Type and Risk

Finally, examine the type of project and the risk (Table 4-4) that has been identified to this point in the planning phase. Some models are designed to accommodate high-risk management, while others are not. The selection of a model that accommodates risk management does not mean that you do not have to create an action plan to minimize the risk identified. The model simply provides a framework within which this action plan can be discussed and executed.

Table 4-3. Selecting a Life Cycle Model Based on Characteristics of the User Community

User Community

Waterfall

V-Shaped

Prototype

Spiral

RAD

Incremental

Will the availability of the user representatives be restricted or limited during the life cycle?

Yes

Yes

No

Yes

No

Yes

Are the user representatives new to the system definition?

No

No

Yes

Yes

No

Yes

Are the user representatives experts in the problem domain?

No

No

Yes

No

Yes

Yes

Do the users want to be involved in all phases of the life cycle?

No

No

Yes

No

Yes

No

Does the customer want to track project progress?

No

No

Yes

Yes

No

No

Table 4-4. Selecting a Life Cycle

Model Based on Characteristics o

Project Type and Risk

Project Type and Risk

Waterfall

V-Shaped

Prototype

Spiral

RAD

Incremental

Does the project identify a new product direction for the organization?

No

No

Yes

Yes

No

Yes

Is the project a system inte-gration project?

No

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Is the project an enhancement to an existing system?

No

Yes

No

No

Yes

Yes

Is the funding for the project expected to be stable through-out the life cycle?

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

Yes

No

Is the product expected to have a long life in the organization?

Yes

Yes

No

Yes

No

Yes

Is high reliability a must?

No

Yes

No

Yes

No

Yes

Is the system expected to be modified, perhaps in ways not antici-pated, post-deployment?

No

No

Yes

Yes

No

Yes

Is the schedule constrained?

No

No

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Are the module interfaces clean?

Yes

Yes

No

No

No

Yes

Are reusable components available?

No

No

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

Are resources (time, money, tools, people) scarce?

No

No

Yes

Yes

No

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* previous

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