Monday, July 22, 2019
Systems Planning and Selection Essay Example for Free
Systems Planning and Selection Essay Planning and Selection Managing the Information Systems Project | Using Project Management Software | First Phase of the SDLC: Systems Planning and Selection | Identification and Selection Task of the Selection and Planning Phase | Initiating and Planning Task of the Selection and Planning Phase | Assessing Project Feasibility | Baseline Project Plan Report and Scope Statement Managing the Information Systems Project Management through the Systems Development Life Cycle (SDLC) Transcript Projects are planned tasks designed to meet prescribed business requirements. Projects must have a set beginning date and an agreed-upon end date and are not associated with everyday work. Project managers make sure systems development projects focus on customer expectations and needs and also ensure that the project is implemented within budget and within the time allowed. Project managers make sure the project is initiated properly, planned to ensure all tasks are completed, managed to ensure all activities are completed in an efficient manner, and the project is closed out with customer concurrence. The PM needs a wide range of skills, including leadership, management, technical, and people skills for conflict management and to maintain excellent customer relationships. Therefore, the PM must wear many hats. You have probably been in positions in the past where you had a specific set of responsibilities and you were asked to take on additional roles or responsibilities. Well, in the case of a PM, thats exactly what is expected. You must be flexible in fast-changing environments. Information System projects solve current business problems or take advantage of technical or business improvement opportunities. Our book uses Pine Valley Furniture to show how projects are initiated through problem identification. The problem is documented with a systems service request. A change management team then meets to review and approve the systems service request. Once approved, a feasibility study is conducted to review costs and benefits as well as possible alternative solutions. The PM then reviews the scope, resources needed (people, software, hardware, and money), and any risks for successful project completion. To implement a successful project, the project manager must balance many tasks and activities. Our book lists the skills and activities needed for a PM. Skills and Duties of a Project Manager ActivityDescriptionSkill LeadershipInfluencing the activities of others towards completing a common goal through the use of interpersonal skillsCommunication; liaison between management, users and technical staff; assigning tasks; tracking progress ManagementUsing resources properlyDefining and sequencing activities; communicating expectations; assigning personnel to tasks; monitoring results Customer relationsManaging what the customer expects from project deliverablesInterpreting system requirements; user training; point of contact for customers Technical problem solvingSchedule resources to solve problems in meeting project goalsInterpreting system requests and specifications, defining tasks and order of completion; designing and implementing solutions to problems Conflict ManagementManaging conflict to build consensus and keep the project on trackProblem solving; compromising; goal setting Team managementManaging team members to increase team performanceCommunicating internally and externally; team performance evaluations, conflict resolution; team building Risk and change managementRecognizing, evaluating, and managing the risks that occur during a project to reduce impact on the project schedule, cost, and requirementsEnvironment scanning; risk and opportunity identification and assessment; forecasting; resource redeployment Project management activities for the project are made up of the following: initiation, planning, execution, and proper closure. Initiation The first phase is project initiation, wherein the complexi ty, size, and scope are evaluated in order to determine procedures to follow on phases and activities. Initiation tasks include the following. StepTaskProcedure. Selecting an initial teamThese members carry out the initiation tasks. 2Building and establishing a relationship with the customerThis is to encourage and develop a good relationship between the users and the analyst. Getting the users involved early helps to ensure the success of the project. 3Developing a project initiation planThis step helps to identify the scope of the project. Tasks include establishing roles, defining the communication plan, listing deliverables and tasks, and creating timeliness. 4Establishing management and reporting proceduresThe PM designs the communication channels, reporting procedures, specific role and job assignments, how to manage changes to the plan, and budget issues. 5Developing the project charter to outline what will be done for the budget and time constraintA project charter is a short, high-level document prepared for both internal and external stakeholders in order to formally announce the establishment of the project and to briefly describe the objectives, key assumptions, and stakeholders. 6Creates the initial PM documentation and workbookOur textbook depicts the Pine Valley Furnitures workbook for the purchasing project. Keep in mind that this documentation should be in both hard copy and soft copy forms for distribution and archival. The Project Workbook Purchase Fulfillment System Example Transcript Planning Project planning takes place during phase 2 of the management process. The planning phase describes the work required to be completed during each project. Activities taking place in the short term are very detailed, but longer-term tasks are not often very detailed. We have 10 activities during this phase. They are depicted in the following table. Project Planning Describing project scope, alternatives, and feasibility Dividing the project into manageable tasks Estimating resources and creating a resource plan Developing a preliminary schedule Developing a communication plan Determining project standards and procedures Identifying and assessing risk Creating a preliminary budget Developing a project scope statement Setting a Baseline Project Plan During this phase, the team tries to get its hands around the complexity and content of the work required. The team members do this by defining the scope, identifying the list of the best alternative solutions, and assessing feasibility. A work breakdown structure is created to show the order of tasks and is a deliverable of this activity. Our book shows how a Gantt chart can be used to depict how tasks should be decomposed from high-level tasks into more detailed tasks. We can all appreciate this activity as being one that is most crucial to the success of our projects. If we dont put in the necessary planning up front, well pay for it in a number of ways later. Gnatt Chart Example of Project Tasks Transcript Resources for each project activity are estimated, and a project resource plan is created as one of the deliverables from this task. The plan identifies which person will complete each task. When making task assignments for each person, the project manager should review the experience level of the person and the complexity of the work to be completed. The constructive cost model (COCOMO) is a method used by project managers to assist in estimating project resources. It can be fairly complex, since several different parameters can be used from prior projects at different levels of complexity. You can find more details on this method in the text. You are encouraged to visit that section of the text in Chapter 3 because COCOMO is one of the most widely used methods today. The initial schedule shows resource availability and timeline information. The schedule shows time estimates for each task in the work breakdown structure. Network diagrams and Gantt charts depict the schedule of the project. Our book depicts a Network diagram, sometimes called a program evaluation review technique, or PERT chart A Network Diagram Transcript Execution The third phase of our process is project execution and is depicted in the steps below. Project Execution Executing the Baseline Project Plan Monitoring project progress against the Baseline Project Plan Managing changes to the Baseline Project Plan Maintaining the project workbook Communicating the project status Here is a brief description of each of the activities: StepTaskProcedure Execution of the BPPThis initiates project activity execution, assigning resources, training any new members of the project team, making sure that the project stays on schedule, and keeping quality in the project deliverables. 2Monitoring progress against the BPPThis is where the PM needs to adjust resources, tasks, and/or the budget. Network diagrams and Gantt charts are very helpful tools describing what needs adjusting. 3Managing changes to the BPPThis task concerns tracking and managing change requests. The PM must find a way to keep the project on schedule. As a last resort, the Baseline Project Plan may need to be revised. This usually affects the budget or timeline. 4Maintaining the project workbookThe project workbook must be updated so that the current status can be quickly viewed. Communicating the project statusThis means that the status must be communicated to all stakeholders and team members. Proper Closure The project ends during the project close down phase. A project can be completed successfully, ended in failure because the customers requirements and expectations were not met, or canceled due to cost or time overruns. See the steps to the project close down phase below. Project Closedown Closing down the project Conducting post project review Closing the customer contact The following is a brief description of each of the activities when a project terminates. StepTaskProcedure 1Closing down the projectDuring the close down phase, a PM may advise each team member on handling any negative personnel issues. The project manager will also notify all stakeholders that all work and documentation are completed, review financial data, and reward the accomplishments of the members of the team. 2Performing post project reviewsWhen conducting post project reviews, the objective is to obtain feedback that can be used to improve future projects for the company by documenting strengths and weaknesses of the processes used and how well the requirements were met. 3Closing the project contract with the customersThis step is done in order to ensure all requirements and contractual terms were met. An important task is completing all required documentation. Project managers have different methods for project plan documentation. Network diagrams and Gantt charts are two such tools. Gantt charts show when tasks begin or end; Network diagrams depict the sequencing of activities. Network diagrams are used for controlling resources and showing the critical path. Network diagrams (or PERT) are used more often than Gantt charts for technology projects because Network diagrams depict how completion times vary for various tasks. PERT is a technique that uses a pessimistic, optimistic, and realistic time to calculate the planned time for a particular task. The critical path is the least amount of time to complete a project. Slack time is defined as the amount of time that a task can be postponed without delaying the project. Using Project Management Software Although this course does not teach the use of software programs used by project managers to aid in the management and tracking of their development projects, I thought we should introduce one of the most widely used, Microsoft Project. Its used in small and large companies. There are programs that are inexpensive, although you may not get much technical support. They can be downloaded for use in many cases free of charge but are usually limited in functionality. At the other end of the spectrum, there are products that can be used extensively throughout large enterprises with powerful components and vast functionality. Of course, you can expect to pay a hefty fee to use them. In Chapter 3, our text lists Microsoft Project and a few others and provides brief descriptions. In order to use Microsoft Project, youll need to perform the following activities at a minimum. Establish a project starting or ending date. Enter tasks and assign task relationships. Select a scheduling method to review project reports. Dont let this scare you off. The online help function can walk you through it. There are tutorials available on the Web to get you started as well. Obviously, the Microsoft website is a good starting point. First Phase of the SDLC: Systems Planning and Selection The first phase of the traditional development life cycle involves determining which projects should be developed and implemented. This phase also ensures that all approved projects are prioritized. The project team will also start the initial planning process by defining the project scope. A system analyst will take vague user requirements and create well-defined requirements. Our book identifies the tasks needed to be completed for this phase. First Phase of the Systems Development Life Cycle Transcript Identification and Selection Task of the Selection and Planning Phase Project Identification and Selection steps include the following. Identify projects for possible development. Prioritize projects. Approve projects. Potential projects can originate from three key sources as depicted below. Three Key Sources for Information System Projects Transcript Potential projects must be reviewed to ensure that only the most important projects are developed. Depending on the organization and type of project, a review by either upper managers, business departments, the information technology management staff, or a select cross-functional steering team takes place. Stakeholders have different ideas about which projects need to be developed. Thats why its a good idea to have a cross-functional team not affected by company politics. Our book discusses what is important to each of the major stakeholders.