To: Jim Barton
From: Srikant Dasoju
CC: Rebecca Calder & Jorge Huerta
Date: 28th January 2017
Subject: Project Management Approach for IT
The reason for writing this memorandum is to discuss the events that transpired in the project status review meeting after observing the situation from the viewpoint of an outsider. During the meeting, there was an exchange of words between a relatively junior employee, Rebecca Calder from the Loan Operations Systems subgroup and a senior analyst Jorge Huerta from the Customer Support Systems subgroup. The reason for the discord was regarding their views about project management approaches to be followed in IT. In the remainder of this memorandum, I would like to present my opinion regarding the issue and try to contrast the two styles of project management to help you better understand how to achieve timely project completion.
One of the main points of the discussion was regarding scope creep. Scope creep refers to the pressures of IT teams having to deliver more than what is required due to a failure to clearly establish requirements for the project in the early stages of commencement of the project. This phenomenon leads to several issues like inflated project completion costs, unnecessary complexity in tasks, and inefficient use of available resources. To provide a solution to the issue of scope creep, Jorge provided his inputs; more planning must go into the decisions that need to be taken for the project, also more discipline must be maintained while completing the various tasks of the project. In response to Jorge’s inputs, Rebecca suggested a way to avoid scope creep; that we carefully lay out the plan for the systems and think about every aspect of the system initially but then at some point start to build and implement the systems alongside. Following this approach allows users to use the systems and provide immediate and important feedback which can then be factored into the next phase of implementation.
The other important topic of discussion was regarding which project management methodology is more suitable to achieving business goals in an IT context; agile project management or traditional project management.
Agile Project Management:
· Multiple iterations allow quicker deployment of solutions
· Improve utilization of resources, by ensuring minimum wastage of resources
· Speedy detection of bugs and issues in systems due to frequent iterations
· Increased focus on communication and feedback leads to better end products
· Due to the nature of agile methodology, it may be less acceptable in larger organizations that follow traditional project management methodologies
Traditional Project Management:
· More beneficial when used in projects which are sequential and standard in nature
· Suitable for projects which have a clear set of requirements and business goals
· Review of the various stages of development are not conducted until the very end at which time they can become problematic if not entirely up to the specifications
· Making changes at later stages in the process are expensive and cause the project budget and schedule to go off track
The following section deals with my recommendations for Jim Barton. To decide which of the methodologies to use for the various projects we should know if the requirements for the project have been clearly elicited. An agile methodology suits projects where the requirements are unclear or if they are subject to change, whereas the traditional method is preferred when the requirements are more streamlined and clearly stated. Agile project management addresses risk much sooner in a project when compared to the traditional method. Depending on the amount of risk that is anticipated in projects, we can choose the more appropriate option. If a project requires a large team to handle all tasks to achieve completion, the traditional method of project management would be ideal as opposed to agile methodology. In agile methodology, smaller teams with more experienced members are better suited to run projects. All the above factors should be kept in consideration before selecting either of the methods for running projects. In some projects, the need will arise to use both the methodologies simultaneously to achieve the ultimate business goal.
The immediate next steps for Jim Barton would be to request his teams to assess the actual status of all the projects, irrespective of what status (red, green, yellow) they are in currently. Doing this will allow the teams to know where they stand and take the necessary further steps to achieve the firm’s business goals.