Internally the organization could operate in a similar fashion to the business organization. The external stakeholders are very different. The owners and the customers are one and the same—citizens. Therefore, the government organization, by its nature, is subject to enormous amounts of political pressure. The suppliers have a similar stakeholder position, but with more regulation and barriers to entry. Many suppliers will not work with government development groups because of the onerous amounts of paperwork required and the high risks associated with completion of joint government and private-sector projects.

Competition plays an important role in this stakeholder map. Governmental agencies are tasked with creating their own competition by either "privatizing" agencies such as the U.S. Postal Service or passing laws that encourage competition in previously regulated industries, such as banking and telecommunications. A project manager in a governmental organization needs to pay special attention to pending regulation changes and efforts to build private competition to public organizations. Just as in private industry, the competition is looking to hire the best employees. Many companies look at the public sector as the "farm league" for their technical hires.

After the organization-wide and project-specific stakeholders have been mapped, the next process is to define the selection criteria for a project. The selection process evaluates individual projects or groups of projects and then chooses to implement some set of them to achieve the objectives of the organization. This practitioner's guide will not discuss how an organization sets its goals and objectives. For the domain process of project selection, it is assumed that the project manager and the project selection team understand and have available the organization's current objectives as a business or governmental organization. If these objectives do not exist, the selection process must be halted until those are defined. If a project selection team does not know the organization's goals and objectives, selecting a project is the least of the organization's worries.

Project selection must be based on sound strategy and usually involves more than one stakeholder department. An interdisciplinary team executes the selection process because enough information common to all projects and product areas is required so that sound selection decisions can be made. Risk is a major driver in the selection process because of both the development risk and the market risk. Can the product be built? And can the product be sold?

In preparing for the project selection decision, these questions must be answered:

1. What stakeholders are included in this project selection decision?

2. What is the team's familiarity with the technology of the product?

3. What is the team's familiarity with the market for this product?

4. How technically complex is the product to build?

5. How complex is the product to explain to an end-user?

6. What is the organization's experience in developing this type of product?

7. What is the estimated product development effort in dollars?

8. How is the project life cycle defined?

9. How is the product life cycle defined?

10. What is the risk in developing this product?

11. What is the risk in not developing this product?

12. Is this project a "sacred cow," suggested by executives or owners?

13. Is this project an operating necessity that must support existing organization systems?

14. Is this project a competitive necessity to keep abreast of competition?

15. Is this a product line extension to our current portfolio?

The answers to these questions become the foundation of an organization's project selection model. A typical method for this involves the project selection team reviewing the statement of need document produced in the concept exploration phase and then answering these questions. When consensus is reached that the project should move forward, a project manager and organization owner should be assigned. A preliminary software project management plan should be developed and the project development environment should be established.

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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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