The Advanced IT Modules


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These modules add topics that can significantly improve the success of Information Technology projects. For example, your early project estimates had better be very good, because most project teams are (unfortunately) held to them, even if they were only “best guesses.”

Your delivery strategy is very important, because there are so many options: Buy or Build? Agile or conventional? Incremental delivery, or wait four years for implementation? What are the advantages and disadvantages of each? And, about IT project Risk: These projects often have far greater risk that others in your enterprise, and require more sophisticated methods to manage that risk.

Lastly, decent Requirements drive success; poor requirements result in failure—-despite your best efforts. And far too many project teams, as well as their managers and stakeholders, barely understand what good requirements look like. Of course, you know, which is why you bring this module in-house, to help illuminate your stakeholders.

The Advanced Information Technology Modules

Module Name
Duration
A. Early IT Project Estimating
.5 – 1 day
B. IT Project Strategies (Staged, Tiered, Web, Iterative)
.5 day
C. Managing IT Project Risk: Do You KnowRisk?
.5 – 1 day
D. Improving Requirements Definition
.5 – 1 day

  
A. Early IT Project Estimating

Overview: Your estimates aren’t wrong, your actuals are! This module is an overview of the estimating methods that improve early estimate certainty in Information Technology projects: High-Low Consensus, Statistical Methods, the COCOMO II model, and different early Application Point (scope measurement) Estimating approaches. It also stresses the communication and documentation of estimate assumptions.

Learning Objectives; after this module, participants will be able to …

  • Identify the most useful early project estimating methods, and the appropriate timing for each.
  • Describe and use multiple early project estimating methods, identifying the strengths and prerequisites for each.
  • Apply Application Point estimating methods to size early project scope, from Portfolio Planning through post-Requirements measurement.
  • Explain the use of parametric estimating methods such as COCOMO II and the type of information needed to use them.
  • Explain statistical estimating methods, and the information needed to apply them effectively.
  • Discuss why early estimating depends on automated support; identify the additional prerequisites to good estimates.

Audience: Those who are (or should be) involved in early project estimates, including Sponsors, Resource Managers, Project Office Staff, Project Managers, Customers, Team Leaders and key Team Members. Note that this module is an extract and overview of the topics covered in more depth, with in-creased “hands-on” application, in our 2-day Software Cost Estimating session.

B. IT Project Strategies

Overview: Classic Waterfall; Staged Development; Tiered or Web-based Applications; RAD Life Cycles; Agile Methods, including Extreme Programming, Scrum and Model-Driven Development. These cryptic, acronym’d, abbreviated methods, processes and approaches impact the way you manage a project. And judging from the press reports, we aren’t doing a very good job of it!

This module compares and contrasts traditional project management approaches and the new strategies needed to effectively manage today’s project. At the same time, it clearly points out that if you have not mastered basic project management skills, you should do so before you run into these methods.

Learning Objectives; after this module, participants will be able to …

  • Discuss the challenges of today’s latest IT strategies, and their impacts on projects.
  • Describe a selection of architecture strategies, and the risks and critical success factors of each.
  • Identify a selection of IT delivery strategies, and the risks and critical success factors of each.
  • Select and adapt an appropriate Life Cycle as a part of a responsive delivery strategy.
  • Discuss the linkage of business and project strategies, and the impact on strategy selection.
  • Summarize the critical success factors that are key to a selected IT strategy.

Audience: Those who are either working on projects that require different strategies than used before, or who should be considering alternative approaches for delivering your Enterprise’s needed scope.

C. Managing IT Project Risk

Overview: Today’s projects have more risk than ever before. Sometimes that risk results in a late project or over-budget project; other times it manifests itself in a perceived lack of quality in the project results. Still other times it results in total project failure. This module describes a process of risk evaluation and management that identifies the greatest project risks.

It covers assigning responsibilities for manage them, actions to avoid them, and contingency plans for the rest, accounting for them in the schedule. The module benefits from the use  of our unique risk management tool, KnowRisk®. The difference between the half-day and full-day version of this module is the amount of time spent on the risks of participants’ own current projects. As a prerequisite, all participants bring a list of the risks of a current project, and they use the material to assess and remedy those risks.

Learning Objectives; after this module, participants will be able to …

  • Understand the nature of project Risk; describe the purpose, benefits, timing and key roles and responsibilities in Risk Management.
  • Use brainstorming and Risk assessment checklists to identify areas of highest Risk, by individual Risk element.
  • Evaluate the impact of individual Risks realized, and the probability that the Risk will be realized. List the top Risks.
  • Quantify the cost impact of the top Risks if realized; summarize cumulative project cost of all significant Risks.
  • Brainstorm with the project team to identify Responses for highest-impact Risks. Assign responsibility for each Response. Reflect the Risk Responses in the project plan.
  • Track Risk Responses, and evaluate their effectiveness in mitigating Risks realized.
  • Apply the KnowRisk® checklist, sample Responses, evaluation grid and strategy identification processes to reduce Risk.
  • Improve Enterprise Risk Management by evaluating the process, risks realized (and those not) and responses at major milestones, and updating your risk knowledgebase.

Audience: Those who are (or should be) involved in assessing and managing risk in today’s project, including Sponsors, Resource Managers, Project Office Staff, Project Managers, Customers, Team Leaders and Team Members.

D. Improving Requirements Definition

Overview: Business and system requirements are the foundation upon which all systems are constructed. They are the key connection points between the business personnel who will use the system and the people who will develop the system. Unfortunately, these two groups often speak different languages and think in different ways. The requirements are most often written or verbalized and require interpretation and assumptions on the part of the developer. It is these very interpretations and assumptions that eventually lead to a system that “is not quite what the business expected.”

This module covers all the topics in a full day, or the participants’ top-priority topics in the half-day format. It gives you a proven set of techniques, methods and tricks to help you write more clear, less ambiguous, complete and useful requirements. The techniques apply whether you are from the business or from the development side. The techniques help you to know what you know, know what you don’t know, and reveal what you didn’t know you didn’t know.

Learning Objectives; after this module, participants will be able to …

  • Describe the problems with language as a requirement definition technique, and apply a process that produces optimum natural language requirements.
  • Ask the ten critical questions, and then improve understanding by writing clear, unambiguous requirements sentences; and then categorizing the sentences into five types of requirements.
  • List visible requirements definition techniques, including Use Cases, Prototyping, Process Models and Data Models.
  • Identify methods that accelerate requirements definition and the benefits of doing so.
  • Describe the use of PASS (Project Audit Support Service) to evaluate and improve requirements definition.

Audience: This module is ideal for Information Technology professionals and their customers, attending together, and using their in-process Requirements for a current project as their case study focus. Also benefiting is anyone who develops or uses business requirements in an IT project, plus Managers of those who do so.

Prerequisite: Participants bring requirements from a current project. We use the content, plus our unique Project Audit Support Service checklist to evaluate the effectiveness of your requirements.