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Project Initiation Handbook - Process Impact - project initiation steps

Project Initiation Handbook - Process Impact-project initiation steps

Laying the Foundation for
Project Success
Karl E. Wiegers
Process Impact
11491 SE 119th Drive
Clackamas, OR 97015-8778
phone: 503-698-9620 fax: 503-698-9680
Copyright ? 2005 Karl E. Wiegers. All rights reserved.
Introduction 1
Chapter 1. Define Project Success Criteria 3
Step 1. Define Business Objectives 4
Step 2. Identify Stakeholders and Their Interests 5
Step 3. Identify Project Constraints 7
Step 4. Derive Project Success Criteria 9
Cross-References 11
Practice Activities 11
Chapter 2. Define Product Vision and Project Scope 17
The Product Vision 17
The Project Scope 20
Context Diagram 21
Use-Case Diagram 22
Feature Levels 23
Cross-References 24
Practice Activities 25
Chapter 3. Define Product Release Criteria 31
How Do You Know When You're Done? 31
Possible Release Criteria 32
Precise Release Criteria with Planguage 37
Marketplace Expectations 37
Making the Call 39
Cross-References 40
Practice Activities 40
Chapter 4. Negotiate Achievable Commitments 43
Making Project Commitments 43
Negotiating Commitments 44
Documenting Commitments 45
Modifying Commitments 46
Your Personal Commitment Ethic 47
Cross-References 48
Practice Activities 48
Chapter 5. Study Previous Lessons Learned 51
Best Practices 51
Lessons Learned 53
Cross-References 55
Practice Activities 55
Chapter 6. Conduct Project Retrospectives 59
Retrospective Defined 59
The Retrospective Process 60
Retrospective Success Factors 64
Action Planning 65
Cross-References 66
Practice Activities 66
References 69
Acknowledgments 71
Copyright ? 2005 Karl E. Wiegers. All rights reserved.
Introduction 1
Every software project manager knows of certain steps to take at the beginning of a project.
You develop a business case, specify the product requirements, obtain funding and management
sponsorship, assign a project manager, assemble the team, acquire other resources, and develop esti-
mates and a project plan. I'm so confident that you know about these essentials from your project
management training or previous experience that I'm not going to address them here.
However, several other activities are also vital to getting a software development project off
to a good start. Unfortunately, project managers sometimes gloss over these steps. Perhaps they ha-
ven't had enough experience to realize how important these steps are, or maybe they don't feel they
can spend the time during the frenzy of project launch. But seasoned managers know that paying at-
tention to these critical activities can separate success from failure. These practices clarify project
expectations and priorities, let stakeholders agree on what "done" means, and ensure continual im-
provement by learning from previous projects.
This handbook describes many actions that lay the foundation for a successful project. It
doesn't attempt to cover every aspect of project initiation, instead focusing on these less-obvious ac-
tivities. Both experienced and novice project managers will find these practices valuable. The focus
is on software projects following any lifecycle or methodology (including agile), but the practices
apply just as well to many nonsoftware projects. The handbook contains six chapters, each of which
addresses a specific set of related practices for a key activity area:
1. Define Project Success Criteria
2. Define Product Vision and Project Scope
3. Define Product Release Criteria
4. Negotiate Achievable Commitments
5. Study Previous Lessons Learned
6. Conduct Project Retrospectives
Each chapter begins with a short scenario, describing an actual experience I have had. Each
story illustrates a problem that can arise if a project manager neglects that chapter's principles and
practices. The chapter then presents a tutorial that will let you put the chapter's topics into action.
Common traps to avoid are identified with an icon of a mousetrap in the margin. True stories from
real projects are flagged with a newspaper icon in the margin. Cross-references are provided to re-
lated chapters and to the relevant sections of the Project Management Institute's Body of Knowledge
(PMBOK), the Software Engineering Institute's Capability Maturity Model for Software (or just
CMM), and the CMM Integration (CMMI). Each chapter includes several practice activities.
Worksheets are included so you can apply the practices to your own project immediately.
In my view, there is really no such thing as project management. What we call "project man-
agement" is a composite of managing many other project elements: people, communication, com-
mitments, resources, requirements, change, risks, opportunities, expectations, technology, suppliers,
and conflicts. Nearly every project includes aspects of all these activities and the successful project
manager must keep an eye on them all. Use this handbook to help you start your next project on a
solid foundation.
CMM, CMMI and Capability Maturity Model are registered in the US Patent & Trademark Office by Carnegie
Mellon University.
Copyright ? 2005 Karl E. Wiegers. All rights reserved.

What steps are taken to initiate a project? These initial steps are time sensitive and would take months, needing to be done before the project ... The city's total budget for the project is $1 million. If the project doesn't start on time, it could be delayed until 2023.