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. Kuilding 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. (»citing 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-1 ike' 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 are more open-ended and the idea of a specific client for the end product may be less well-defined. Research projects are in some ways special cases and the approach to their planning needs a rather different approach, which is outside the scope of this book.
8. Producing an edition of a newspaper In some ways this has all the characteristics of a project. There are lots of different people with lots of different specialisms whose work needs to be 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, every one knows what they each need to do and most of the problems that arise are familiar and the procedures to deal with them are 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 will 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 service.
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 are no longer needed.
4. Specification to do.
This involves documenting what the new system is to be able
5. Design/coding As an 'off-the-shelf package is envisaged, these stages w ill be replaced by a package evaluation and selection activ ity.
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 driv ing 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-house 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 will contain both technical and human elements. A breakdown into subsy stems
1.5 Brightmouth College payroll: subsystems will vary tremendously according to your particular viewpoint, l-'igure F.I is a diagrammatic representation of just one possible answ er.
Boghtmouth College payroll System
Off line processes
Computer operations system
Results processing; dispatch
Figure F. I A systems map of H right mouth College pity rol I. The environment of the system w ould 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 dcductcd 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);
starting requirements for the next year.
1.6 A day in the life of a project manager
Representing the section:
• when communicating with the personnel manager about replacement staff;
• when explaining about the delay to user». Controlling, innovating, directing:
• deciding what needs to be done to make good the progress that will be lost through temporarily losing a member of staff.
• deciding which member of staff is to do what:
• discussion with personnel about the requirement for temporary staff;
• planning starting for the next year.
Note: the same activity can involve many different roles.
The original objective might have been formulated as: 'To carry out payroll 1.7 Brightmouth processing at less cost while maintaining the current scope and quality of college payroll:
services'. objectives, goals
In order to achieve this, sub-objectives or goals w ill usually have been and measures of identified, for example: effectiveness
• to transfer payroll processing to the college by 1st April;
• to implement in the new system those facilities that exist in the current system less those identified in the initial report as not being required;
• to carry out the implementation of the payroll processing capability within the financial constraints identified in the initial report.
It should be noted that the objectives listed above do not explicitly mention such things as putting into place ongoing arrangements to deal with hardware and software maintenance, security arrangements and so on. By discussing and trying to agree objectives w ith the various people involved the true requirements of the project can be clarified.
Measures of effectiveness for the sub-objectives listed above might inc lude the following:
• Dale of implementation Was the new system being used operationally by the agreed date?
• Facilities In parallel runs, were all the outputs produced by the old system and still required also produced by the new system?
• Costs How did the actual costs incurred compare with the budgeted costs?
1.8 Brightmouth college payroll: stakeholders
Most of the external entities identified in Exercise 1.5 would also be stakeholders in the project. Major stakeholders would include:
• the finance department;
• the personnel department, who would need to supply most of the employee details needed:
• heads of departments, who would need to submit details of hours worked for part-time staff;
• staff, who would naturally be concerned that they are paid correctly;
• site management: the new arrangements may mean that the office layout has to be rearranged physically;
• software and hardware vendors.
One group of stakeholders that might not be readily identified at first is the local government authority and its staff. It might seem strange to list the people who used to do the job. but w ho arc no longer required. The project manager's job w ill be made a lot easier if their cooperation and help can be obtained. The project manager would do well to sound (Hit tactfully how the local authority staff feel about losing this work. It could be that they are pleased to be shot of the workload and hassle involved! Arrangements that take into account existing local authority staff might be possible. For example, if the college needs to recruit new staff to deal with payroll, it might smooth things to give the job to a member of the local authority staff w ho already deals with this area.
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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.