Project Planning

Once the organization approves the Project Charter, project planning formally commences. The IT project manager works with team members and coordinates with stakeholders to thoroughly plan the project. Planning involves developing an approach to manage project scope, cost, schedule, quality, communications, risk, human resources and staffing, procurement, stakeholder engagement. Planning begins in this phase but occurs throughout the project. The project manager’s task is to anticipate changes in scope, schedule, budget, and resources and then to control these changes in a manner that enables the project to be delivered on time, within budget, and at an acceptable level of quality and customer satisfaction (Heldman and Heldman, 2010).

Product Life Cycles

Planning occurs not only for the project management life cycle, but also for the product life cycle. A life cycle is the series of stages through which a system passes (Walden et al., 2015). While the project management life cycle includes the Initiation/Pre-Project Setup, Planning, Execution and Delivery, Change Control and Communications, and Closure domains, the product life cycle for IT products include phases such as Requirements Analysis, Design, Implementation, and Testing. The project management life cycle includes management and control activities for meeting schedule, performance, and cost requirements. The product life cycle includes stages for manufacturing articles (software and systems) for customers. The product life cycle is executed within the project management life cycle.

Information technologies are developed using a systems development life cycle. Life cycles for product development in use in industry include the Waterfall, Iterative, Incremental, and Agile models. Table 7-1 provides a description of these models.

Table 7-1 Product Development Life Cycles

Model

Description

Waterfall

Uses well-defined, linear stages for systems development that include requirements analysis, design and detailed design, code and implementation, integration, and testing (Schwalbe, 2000)

Iterative/Spiral

A refinement of the Waterfall model in which software is developed using an Iterative or Spiral approach instead of a linear approach, including determining objectives, alternatives, constraints; evaluating alternatives;

identifying and resolving risks; systems development, verification, and planning for the next phase (Vohra and Singh, 2013)

Incremental

Progressive development of operational software, with each release providing added capabilities (Schwalbe, 2000)

Agile

An iterative and change-driven software development approach that combines the activities of analysis, design, implementation, and testing, delivering small, progressive releases throughout the software development process (Vohra and Singh, 2013)

IT project leaders need to be well versed in the systems development model their projects use to develop IT products and deliver IT solutions. Failure to properly implement a systems development model can have grave consequences. In the US, the massive Office of Personnel Management (OPM) security breach in the spring of 2015 provides a fitting example. Hackers stole the personal security data of over 21.5 million government employees, costing the OPM $133 million to protect the victims from identity theft (Fingas, 2015).

After investigating, the Inspector General (IG) suggested that the agency should follow industry best practices for systems development. The OPM rejected the IG’s suggestion, proclaiming that the agency followed the OPM Systems Development Life Cycle. The IG was neither convinced nor impressed. “The practices are applicable to any organization, private or public sector, involved in project management activities,” the IG said. “At any rate, based on documentation we have reviewed, we have determined that OPM is not in compliance with either best practices or its own policy” (Ogrysko, 2015).

 
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