IT Project managment Framework Overview

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Expand Framework Definition

  • Defines how to manage a project.
  • Classifies and organizes project management concepts and methods.
  • Guides the project manager through project management activities.
  • Contains five project management stages.
  • Each stage includes activity definitions, templates, and examples.

Framework Schematic (Text Only)

Expand Full View (Contract All)

Expand Stage 1: Conceptualize (Print View)
  • Produces a Project Proposal to create a product or service.
  • Determines the feasibility of the proposed solution.
  • Determines the project’s alignment with the organization’s mission and goals.
  • Establishes a business case to justify the project.
  • Approves the project to advance to the Initiate Stage.
  • 1. Define project mission and vision
  • 2. Establish strategic alignment
  • 3. Identify stakeholders
  • 4. Define high level business requirements
  • 5. Determine feasibility
  • 6. Develop business case
Expand Stage 2: Initiate (Print View)
  • Delivers a Project Charter.
  • Defines the preliminary project cost, scope, roles, timeline and quality.
  • Formalizes the existence of the project.
  • Approves the project to advance to the Plan Stage.
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Defining the scope of a project develops a common understanding of what is included in and excluded from the project. The scope builds upon the project concept developed in the Conceptualize Stage.

Scope is usually defined by:

  • Project Business Need
  • Project Goals
  • Product Description
  • Project Customer, Project Sponsor, Project Manager
  • Project in Scope, Out of Scope
  • Project Critical Success Factors
  • Project Assumptions
  • Project Constraints
  • Project Deliverables
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Defining requirements specifies the capabilities, features or attributes of the project’s deliverables.  Stakeholder needs, wants and wishes are analyzed to derive the requirements.  Requirements are prioritized to determine which requirements will be included and excluded from the project.
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When initiating a project you need to identify staff resources needed to complete the project. The two aspects to this task are:

  • Identify staff roles: A preliminary or high-level description of roles, responsibilities, skills, time commitments and sources of key project staff. This can be in the form of a list of titles and positions (i.e., customer contact, lead programmer, systems analyst, operations and support specialist etc.).
  • Identify planning team members: The names and titles of team members assigned to perform the planning activities in the Plan Stage.
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This activity identifies high-level targets or milestones for the project. Milestones are deliverables or major events to be achieved on a specified date. Milestones can be viewed as  ”how are we doing” thresholds indicating whether a project is on track to finish as expected.

Note: At the Initiate Stage, information is at an overview level. Milestones identified at this early stage may be further broken down and revised during the project planning stage when the project schedule is created.

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A high-level budget is a summary of the estimated costs to complete the high-level project milestones.  Generally, there are three types of costs that can be included in a high-level budget:

  • Labor costs
  • Material costs
  • Non-labor costs.
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A communications strategy defines a high-level plan for how members of the project will communicate during the course of the project.

A general communication strategy is all that is needed.  The more detailed communication plan is completed in the Plan Stage and includes the details of who, what, when, where, why and how of the communications.

A good communications strategy addresses the following:

  • The objectives of the project communications.
  • The key message of the communications.
  • The key audiences of the communications.
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A quality management strategy defines the required level of quality for the project and the approach to be used to ensure the specified standard of quality is met. A more detailed quality management plan is developed in the Plan Stage.
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An issue management strategy helps the project manager resolve issues in a timely way to prevent the impact of problems from growing or to exploit an opportunity that presents itself. An issue is a situation or concern that arises during the Execute and Control Stage of the project, was not addressed in the project plan, requires resolution, and may impede the progress of the project. When an issue cannot be resolved by the project manager and project team, it is escalated to outside help. Some issues, if not addressed, could adversely impact the success of a project.
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A change management strategy defines at a high level the factors to be used to control changes that occur after the project baseline has been established in the Plan Stage. The project baseline includes a detailed description of scope, budget, schedule, and plans for managing quality, risk, issues, and change.

The change management strategy produces a statement in the project charter that includes:

  • Anticipated change management challenges
  • Key project constraints
  • Key customer practices for managing change
  • A concise statement of change management practices
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A risk management strategy defines a high-level plan for how project risks will be managed during the course of the project. Risks are possible events that may cause deviations from the planned outcomes of a project. Deviations can be positive (opportunities) or negative. Risk management is an iterative process that begins immediately and continues throughout the life of a project.

A general risk management strategy is all that is needed in the Initiate Stage. The more detailed risk management plan is completed in the Plan Stage and includes the details of how to manage risk.

A good risk management strategy addresses the following:

  • Risk management objectives
  • A preliminary, high-level assessment of the general areas of risk associated with the project
  • Risk areas with low tolerances or thresholds
  • A high-level process to manage risk
  • Risk management decision makers
Under construction – Target date to be determined
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The project charter is formally accepted and approved by the project sponsor and other designated stakeholders. Formal approval acknowledges the completion, review and acceptance of all the deliverables produced during the Initiate Stage.

Signatures on the project charter document mark final approval of the charter, which is the go-forward agreement.

Expand Stage 3: Plan (Print View)
  • Delivers a Project Plan.
  • Defines the detailed project schedule and budget.
  • Includes plans for change control, communications, and management of quality, issues, risks and procurement.
  • Provides the baseline to control and manage the project.
  • Approves the project to begin work.
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The Project Kickoff Meeting formally recognizes the start of the project. The project manager uses this meeting to communicate a shared view of the project to ensure understanding of the approved project charter and to clarify next steps involved in producing the Planning Stage deliverables.
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A work breakdown structure (WBS) is a hierarchical outline of the tasks needed to deliver the project’s product or service.   It “breaks-down” the project into low-level subtask units of work that will be scheduled, executed and controlled.
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Developing a project staffing plan involves selecting and assembling a project team.  The staffing plan specifies when and how to meet the requirements for staffing the project.  The staffing plan builds on the high-level staffing needs identified in the Initiate Stage.
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A project schedule designates work to be done and specifies deadlines for completing tasks and deliverables.  The project schedule depicts:

  • Time (duration) estimates for all project tasks
  • Start and finish dates for the tasks
  • Names of staff resources assigned to complete the tasks
  • Sequence of tasks

A major component of a project schedule is a work breakdown structure (WBS).  The project schedule is constructed to reflect the work breakdown structure.

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The project budget is a detailed estimate of all the costs required to complete project tasks. It is much more detailed than the high-level budget developed in the Initiate Stage. The typical budget specifies costs for staff labor, materials procurement, ongoing operating costs and other direct costs such as travel or training.
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A communication plan facilitates effective and efficient communications with the various audiences having a major stake in the project. It describes how project communications will occur. A good communication plan generally includes the following elements:

  • Communication objectives
  • Target audiences
  • Key content for the communications
  • Communication method and frequency
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The Quality Management Plan defines the acceptable level of quality, which is typically defined by the customer, and describes how the project will ensure this level of quality in its deliverables and work processes. Quality management activities ensure that:

  • Products are built to meet agreed- upon standards and requirements
  • Work processes are performed efficiently and as documented
  • Non-conformances found are identified and appropriate corrective action is taken

Quality Management plans apply to project deliverables and project work processes. Quality control activities monitor and verify that project deliverables meet defined quality standards. Quality assurance activities monitor and verify that the processes used to manage and create the deliverables are followed and are effective.

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An issue is a major problem, opportunity, concern or situation that will impede the progress or successful completion of the project and requires immediate resolution. An issue management plan defines activities and business rules to manage and control issues that arise during the project.
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A change management plan defines activities and roles to manage and control change during the execute and control stage of the project. Change is measured against the project baseline, which is a detailed description of the project’s scope, budget, schedule, and plans to manage quality, risk, issues, and change. During the execute and control stage, changes may require one or more revised project baselines to be issued.
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During the Plan Stage, the project team identifies all significant project risks known during the planning stage and determines the likelihood, impact, and response strategy associated with each risk. Additionally, the team identifies processes and roles to control risks during the Execute and Control Stage of the project. Results are documented in the Risk Management Plan and Risk Register.
Under construction – Target date to be determined
Under construction – Target date to be determined
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A project plan is finalized when it is formally accepted and approved by the project sponsor and other designated stakeholders. Formal approval acknowledges that all the deliverables produced during the Plan Stage are complete, reviewed and accepted.

Signatures on the project plan document indicate final approval. This sign-off marks the plan as the go-forward agreement and can be viewed as a project management milestone.

Expand Stage 4: Execute & Control (Print View)
  • Creates and delivers the end product or service.
  • Executes the tasks in the schedule.
  • Relies heavily on the plans from the Plan Stage to control the project.
  • Expends most of the project resources.
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This Kickoff Meeting brings team members together to review the Project Plan and to discuss the management methods to be used in the Execute and Control Stage.
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This activity controls what is and what is not included in the project based on the scope and requirements defined in the Project Charter.

When the deliverables change during the course of the project the current budget and deadlines are adjusted to reflect the additional work. The new estimated cost, effort and duration become the approved baseline for the project.

Managing changes to project scope and requirements is guided by the change management process in the Change Management Plan.

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This activity ensures the project is effectively staffed and  the project team is motivated to do the assigned work.  Role management activities include:

  • Building and managing (leading) the entire team
  • Developing team member skills to enhance performance
  • Adjusting staff to meet changing situations
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Managing the project schedule is an ongoing activity to make sure the project is meeting deadlines and providing deliverables on time.

The project schedule is used to monitor progress and keep the project on track. When significant variances occur, the schedule is updated and appropriate actions are taken.

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Managing the project budget is an ongoing activity that answers the question: “Are we spending what we expected to spend based on how the project is proceeding?” The goal is to keep costs within the budget estimates. This requires monitoring all costs associated with the project and taking corrective actions when variances occur.

During the Planning Stage an agreed-upon baseline budget is created for the project. The project manager uses this baseline to track expenditures and measure the performance of the project.

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Managing communications makes sure that everyone involved and interested in the project is kept informed.

Information is made available to appropriate audiences at the appropriate time as defined in the Communication Plan developed in the Planning Stage.

Key Project communications include:

  • Project Team progress reports to the project manager describing project accomplishments and revised estimates of work to be completed.
  • Project Status Reports to the project sponsor and other relevant audiences to measure the health and progress of the project against the project plan.
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Controlling quality ensure that project deliverables and processes comply with quality standards. Quality control and assurance activities work to eliminate the causes of unsatisfactory results.

The project manager implements the quality control and quality assurance activities outlined in the Quality Management Plan.

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The issue manager implements the issue management process outlined in the Issue Management Plan.
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The project manager implements the change management process outlined in the Change Management Plan.
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The project manager implements the risk management process outlined in the Risk Management Plan. The project manager monitors the risk plans to ensure the plans are being executed successfully. New risks are assessed on a regular basis and incorporated into the plan.
Under construction – Target date to be determined
Under construction – Target date to be determined
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This activity formally acknowledges that all deliverables from the Execute and Control Stage are completed, accepted, and approved by the project sponsor and the project customers. It acknowledges the successful hand-off of the product or service to the customer.

Formal acceptance and approval signifies that the project is essentially over and is ready for the Close Stage.

Expand Stage 5: Close (Print View)
  • Concludes all project activities.
  • Administratively closes the project.
  • Turns the delivered product or service over to a support group.
  • Assesses project outcomes and team performance.
  • Documents best practices and lessons learned.
  • Celebrates project success.
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All documents necessary for a product or service transition are complete and available by the Close stage. This step confirms that support organizations have accepted the documentation and have been notified of the transition timeframe.
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To conduct the post project review, you:

  • Measure how closely the project meets customer needs
  • Identify what worked well and what needs improvement
  • Document patterns and trends
  • Articulate methods for improvement
  • Formulate/share Lessons Learned and Best Practices from feedback
  • Ensure material is archived for easy access by managers of future projects
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Administrative closeout officially closes the project. The project manager completes required administrative tasks, cleans up and archives project material, and provides performance reviews and updated skills inventory for the project team.
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Project closeout is finalized when the project is formally approved by the project sponsor and other designated stakeholders. Formal approval acknowledges that all the deliverables produced and activities performed during the Close Stage are complete, reviewed, and accepted.

Formal project closeout approval signifies the project is done.

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This activity acknowledges the work and contributions of the team to the project. Following the completion and wrap-up of the project, a social event held during or after work hours is an effective method of thanking and recognizing team effort. Special recognition for extraordinary individual effort may be appropriate.