Project Guidelines

You are about to embark on a technology-related project, but where do you start? Who should be involved and how will the work get done? Will you have time to meet, review, and test? These guidelines explain some key elements in managing a project successfully.

Before You Start

As a client requesting project support, you and your team are entering into a partnership with Technology Services. Consider timing and reasons for the project. Some key questions to ask:

  • What objectives will completing this project achieve?
  • Do you have time to invest in developing a solution?
  • Is now the right time?
  • How will this project benefit your department? Your constituents? The university?

Project Roles

Stakeholder - A person with an interest in the outcome of the project. Stakeholders may have functional or technical roles and may be designated as primary or secondary stakeholders. Primary stakeholders provide sign-off on functional requirement specification documents.

Sponsoring Team or Department - The future administrator and owner of the tool or component that is the outcome of the project. This entity usually owns most or all of the data involved in the work.

Project Lead - The functional project lead is the subject matter expert who is responsible for driving the project forward as a leader, being present for most or all project meetings, managing testing from the functional side, and signing off on design documents and change requests. The technical project lead is usually a developer but may be the business analyst or TS project manager.

Testing Team - This group is usually composed of key stakeholders and end users and is responsible for ensuring the end product functions correctly and meets all requirements.

Functional Team Member - This person is responsible for ensuring completion of functional tasks, including the development of project requirements with the TS Business Analyst, day-to-day operations, procedures, documentation, training, and testing. A functional team member may also be, but isn't always, a stakeholder.

TS Business Analyst - This role works with stakeholders and the functional team to define detailed project requirements through the assessment and analysis of needs.

TS Project Management Office - The PMO facilitates the management of TS projects by providing guidance on scope, work assignments, and timelines.

Project Phases

Each project is unique, but has five major phases:

Planning and Analysis

In this phase of the project, you will meet with the project manager, business analyst, or other technical experts to define your needs and the scope of the project. Depending on the outcome of this meeting, we will work with you to analyze the business processes and data involved in developing a solution. Once we understand the specifications of the project, we will build a timeline and assign roles and tasks to members of the team. During this phase, you will need to make time in your schedule for discovery meetings and analysis work.

Design

Depending on the nature of the project, this phase may involve building diagrams and models, creating mockups, and developing security plans. If data is involved, we’ll be defining it clearly.

Development

This is the phase in which we build! Even though TS will be the heavy-lifters in this phase, you will be expected to respond to questions (usually within one business day) in order to keep the project moving forward.

Testing

Prior to testing, TS will work with you to develop a complete, efficient test plan. Your team will be responsible for testing in a thorough and timely manner. It is our goal to minimize the number of times we test and retest, so careful documentation is essential.

Implementation

This phase of the project involves communication to and training for those affected by the project, as well as planning for any future maintenance needed to keep things working smoothly.

Client Responsibilities

  1. Assess need and develop scope and objectives. Consider costs and benefits, as well as possible partners and existing solutions on campus.
  2. Assign representatives to work with Technology Services. Identify your project sponsor and project lead.
  3. Partner with TS and other stakeholders to develop a project timeline with milestones and deliverables.
  4. Develop, review, and approve requirements. Define project-related policies and processes.
  5. Be available to answer questions, make decisions, and review work. You may be asked to respond on a daily or weekly basis, depending on the nature of the project.
  6. Test fully and provide clear, timely feedback.
  7. Manage training, support, and communications during the project.

TS Responsibilities

  1. Provide advice and support during needs assessment and in the development of project scope and objectives. Research technical options and possible partnerships. Define technical needs.
  2. Assign technical lead and other required TS staff roles.
  3. Work with client to develop a project timeline that includes milestones related to technical portions of the project.
  4. Design application or integration with a third party solution.
  5. Construct application or facilitate implementation and integration of third party solution.
  6. Refine application based on testing and feedback.
  7. Facilitate training, support, and communication. Implement solution in conjunction with client.