423 M2 CASE 6
IT management has many complexities and requires skillful decisionsto avoid traps and potentially limiting decisions. Most organizationsdepend on the effective formulation of IT projects and projectlifecycles to run the organization smoothly. A project life cycleinvolves the phases representing a path that the project takes fromits beginning to the end. The project cycle has five phases namelyinitiation, planning, execution, implementation and closure.According to Barron and Barron (2011), a project manager and projectteam should carry out the work of the project with the purpose ofmeeting its objectives. The project life cycle has its challenges butwith proper management and following the phases can be successful.The various stages of project life cycles will be discussed for agreater understanding on IT organization structures.
The first phase of the life cycle is initiation or concept phase. Itkicks off the project with a statement of work describing specificproject milestones, costs, acceptance criteria and deliverables. Adocument outlining the project or product is created in an informaldocument as compared to the project charter. The document simplydescribes what will be created with clear and understandable terms ofthe work to be done. Quantitative and technical requirements are alsodefined in the performance and quality. A project manager then puts aproject team together and establishes a team charter. Establishing ateam charter facilitates familiarity and ensures that communicationand collaboration is swift throughout the project (Carr, 2009). Theproject team then develops a comprehensive work breakdown structure.WBS is the standard method of organizing tasks for a project. Itfacilitates the development of skills needed, a budget and theschedule. The initial stage is crucial as it determines how theentire cycle will go. Projects fail if they have a bad start. As aresult, proper planning in this stage is vital.
Planning phase is the second stage in life cycle and is mostcrucial. It refines project plan deliverables. In this stage, theproject solution is developed further in more details as plans tomeet the objectives are done. Identifying all the work to be done byteam members is done here. The project tasks, requirements andstrategy to produce them are planned in this phase also referred toas the scope management. An outline of project activities, roles,tasks, dependencies, and timeframes is created as a project managercoordinates the project budget through labor provision costestimates, equipments and the cost of materials. The budget controlsand monitors expenditure during project execution. After the teamidentifies the work, prepare a schedule for the project and estimatethe costs, the planning process can be termed complete, as thosethree components are the fundamentals of planning cycle. It isadvisable that the team deals with any potential threat to thesuccessful completion of the project. According to Barron &Barron (2011), risk management and prevention or reduction of threatprobability should be done in this phase. Identifying projectstakeholders and establishing a communication plan is necessary toidentify the delivery method that will be used. The planning phasemarks the completion of the project plan whereby no work is leftuncovered asserts NYS project management guidebook.
After planning comes the execution phase where the project plan isput to motion. Execution phase also referred to as the developmentphase involves physical work and is the stage where most resourcesare used. Most IT projects apply system development life cycle inthis stage. Hardware and software to carry out the project arecreated here as whatever needs to be developed for the projectsuccess is developed (Carr, 2009). Maintaining control andcommunication during execution is imperative while monitoring andmaking appropriate adjustments to suit the original plan. Projectmanagers spent most of their time here as team members carrying outtasks regularly keep reporting and progress information throughregular meetings. Ensuring that the original plan is brought outduring the execution phase is very critical to the project. Projectsponsors and key stakeholders should also be updated on the projectstatus according to the agreed format and frequency. Status reportsshould emphasize on the end in terms of schedule, quality, cost anddeliverables. On schedule, the project manager should check to ensurethat the project is completed. Quality management should be done toensure that the quality specifications of a client or stakeholder aremet. Ensuring that all expenses are accounted is another role thatthe project manager plays during this phase. Deliverables are metthrough ensuring that the issues are carefully tracked keeping theproject manager and project team updated on any problems arising.Change management should not be ignored as it entails the ability ofa project manager to change the stakeholder’s specifications shouldthe need arise. Project control takes place closely to projectexecution. At times, project control is said to be the same asproject execution as it involves change management.
The implementation phase is the actual execution of the project. Thestage puts to use the hardware or software that was configured in thedevelopment stage. Implementation phase determines the success orfailure of the project. Unforeseen events may bubble out to thesurface but the project remains what it is at this phase.
The close out phase is the final stage. It emphasizes on releasingfinal deliverables to clients. It entails handing over completeprojects to the company or business, releasing project resources orterminating contracts to suppliers as well as confirming allstakeholders about the project closure. After that, the lessonslearnt from the project are conducted to examine what went right andwrong during the project. Through this analysis, the outcomes of theproject as well as its mishaps are documented. This will be useful inavoiding similar mistakes in the future. The wisdom of experience istransferred to the project organization, which will be useful forfuture projects. Project closure involves writing a closure project,redistributing resources assigned to the project, filing anyadministrative paperwork and preparing any stepping-stones for futureprojects.
In conclusion, more emphasis is placed on the initial stages of theproject life cycle. With a well laid start off, other phases runsmoothly. However, project management requires coordination in eachphase for a successful completion of the five phases. Projectmanagement though involving IT is not always technical oriented asthe technical staff does most computational programming and hardware/software engineering. Most project managers are however skilled withtechnical knowledge. With the effort of the project team members,effective formulation of IT projects can be possible.
Barron, M., & Barron, A.(2011). The project lifecycle agile development.The Project Management Hut. Retrieved fromhttp://www.pmhut.com/the-project-life-cycle-3.
Carr. J. (2009). The project life cycle, management ofperformance, the Project Management Hut Retrieved from http://www.pmhut.com/the-project-life-cycle-2.
NYS Project Management Guidebook(n.d.), Projectmanagement lifecycle,Retrieved from http://www.its.ny.gov/pmmp/guidebook2/Origination.pdf
University of Saskatchewan, (2010).Project management – project life cycle. Information TechnologyServices. Retrieved from http://www.usask.ca/its/services/itproject_services/managing_projects/life_cycle.php