Defining Scope

The first part of this process will determine which of the suggested third level goals will be incorporated into the vision of the project. What suggestions fit within the constraints of the system? Which ideas contribute to the first and second level goals? What are the high, medium and low priority lower level goals? Just as we did previously, making a chart and comparing two goals at a time can rank these goals.

If there are a large number of people participating in the meeting, then it is quite possible that you may have a very large number of high priority third level goals. Even after comparing two goals at a time, you may find that the number of high priority goals far exceeds the limitation of budget and time. There may also be goals that did not rank very high, but may still need to be considered.

You can now start going through the goals that received the highest ratings in the two goal comparisons and start rating them based on the following:

> Will accomplishing this goal be high or low risk?

> What business processes will be affected and/or improved by this goal?

> How critical to the business is the fulfillment of this goal?

> Who will be affected by this goal and why this goal affects them?

> Will this goal reduce the amount of effort required to complete the business process?

> Why is this goal important?

For example, if a critical daily report is currently generated using an Excel spreadsheet by cutting and pasting information from one sheet to the next, a goal may be to create a Visual Basic application that allows the information to be inputted and formatted without cutting and pasting. If we analyze this goal we can see that there is a very low risk here. It will improve the accuracy and the speed to produce the critical report, the person entering the information will be the one affected by having a more efficient way of producing the report, and it will decrease the amount of effort by eliminating a repetitive task (cutting and pasting) and replacing it with an automated process.

Most of the goals will be low to medium risk. We will discuss risk evaluation in detail in the next chapter. For now, realize that risk is both in the process of building the application (not enough resources, time, technology may not yet be available, etc.) and also the risk that the measurable results may not be achieved (such as building an Internet site and getting customers through the site).

Once the third levels goals are chosen, we will have to place the goals into the cycles that we will have to go through to fulfill the vision. These brief summaries of the top ranking goals then can be reviewed by senior management to make a final choice as to what goals form a part of the vision of the project.

The number of cycles there will be depends on the size of the project and what type of project it is. The highest priority goals should be included in the first cycles. In our E-Commerce site we could have the following three scopes: build the base Internet site with minimum order functionality, build the customer suggestion and complaint portions of the web site, and build the product review portion of the web site.

In the development phase different teams can build all three of these parts of the project in three different development cycles at the same time. When they are all complete, they can be put together and implemented to become the first version of the E-Commerce site. Additional functionality will be the scope of future cycles.

In a very large corporation where the project may affect thousands of people, it will be impossible to include everyone in a consensus meeting. In this case, representatives of different groups should attend the meeting. To make sure the final document includes the input of everyone, you can place the summaries of the second consensus meetings on an intranet site. People from the entire corporation can view it and make suggestions. After a period of time, the summary of the second consensus meeting and the comments submitted through the intranet site can be given to senior management to make the final decisions.

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