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We want you to practice a business summary style – writing in a clear, structured manner, but not in paragraph form. If you feel you must write in a paragraph, then address the question at hand in bullets or tables (as appropriate) and then summarize your points in an executive summary-type paragraph. In general, you are attempting to efficiently and effectively make your arguments for a particular solution, describe the associated implementation tasks (“to dos”), identify the benefits and costs of the undertaking, and then drive your point home with additional considerations (risk management).Reading materials and fill out “homework” attachment.The thing I need to repeat is that do not use whole sentences to answer, use bullet point instead.


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Session 20: FastFit Case Study Questions
1. How might Fred employ the MIS Integrative Framework to ensure that Web site design
and functionality align with the customer intimate focus of FastFit?
add more lines as needed….
2. How does the narrative in the FastFit Web Site Case reflect the best practices of the
project management Life Cycle (PMLC)?
Post-Project Assessment
Actions by FastFit’s Project Team
3. What risks did FastFit face in launching this project and how were these risks mitigated?
If they did not address a particular risk sufficiently, what else would you do?
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Its Mitigation
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Session 20 – An Introduction to Project Management
From the MIS Integrative Framework, we know that work within all enterprises also entails the collection,
use, analysis and presentation of information. Information systems enable our business processes,
allowing us to transact, manage and innovate as need be. To these ends, the IT organization within any
business must execute projects that bring to life the information systems and supporting information
technologies that we use each day. You may not see yourself after graduation as one of these IT people
but be certain that you will find yourself on project teams throughout your career. Much of the work in
modern businesses is both team based and project oriented. It is therefore essential that you come away
from MISM 2301 with at least a rudimentary appreciation for how projects teams operate and project
management best practices. Therefore Sessions 21 and 22 will devote themselves to this topic.
The purpose of this introduction is to provide you with a simple yet comprehensive approach to project
management. We will pay special attention to two of the most common pitfalls in IT project execution,

initial project scoping
ongoing customer expectation management and project communications
The approach outlined below focuses on field tested methods and tools. For larger, IT organizations, we
recommend the establishment of an internal Project Management Office (PMO) to support the ongoing
project management process. Whatever the scope and nature of your own project management
assignments, these pages offer a series of applied examples that will prove useful in the self-assessment
of in-house IT team practices, and that may be readily adapted and repurposed based upon the particular
requirements of your business and project. Finally, at the close of this article, we have included a glossary
of project terms and a fleshed out Project Management Life Cycle (PMLC) matrix.
What is an IT Project? What is Project Management? Why bother?
In the simplest of terms, most information technology organizations within businesses provide services in
any one of three logical categories. First, IT solves customer problems in support of existing products and
services. This type of service usually involves a Help Desk or Call Center, hardware and software support
personnel, and training and documentation services. The objective of problem resolution is to address
the specific performance issues of the end user as quickly and as painlessly as possible. Second, IT
responds to service requests that call either for the extension of existing products and services to a new
employee or the modest expansion and enhancement of an established product or service to existing
employees. Here too a Help Desk or Call Center is often employed as the intake mechanism for service
request work, typically complemented by dedicated support and maintenance teams specifically assigned
to customer servicing and delivery. Neither problem resolution nor service request efforts entail large
capital outlays, major changes in platform technologies. But in most instances, they do consume a
significant amount of IT team resources to service, fix, or build upon what is already there. Generally
speaking, the line-of-business end user’s expectation is that delivery will be immediate or nearly so.
The third category of IT team activity – projects – encompasses the significant expansion of existing or
the introduction of new products and services. Unlike the aforementioned categories, projects typically
require major capital outlays, larger more-complex scopes of work, a project management infrastructure,
the involvement of external technology partner providers, and long as opposed to short or immediate
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Session 20 – An Introduction to Project Management
delivery time frames. To differentiate “projects” from maintenance and support work, most IT
organizations establish a quantifiable threshold level for the “project” designation and its associated
management overhead. For example, an IT undertaking is typically viewed as a project:

if the IT investment under discussion leads to the establishment of a new IT product or service.
if the IT investment exceeds a certain dollar amount, where the clip level for a particular “project”
will vary from enterprise to enterprise (e.g. $10,000 for some; $100,000 for others).
if the IT investment requires the participation of two or more IT operating units and/or external
partner providers for delivery (i.e. scope and complexity factors).
if the IT investment involve high levels of complexity or risk (e.g. multiple technologies, emerging
technologies, systems integration).
Bear in mind that the entire purpose of project management is effective risk mitigation so as to deliver
IT projects on time, within budget, and in keeping with customer expectations. New IT products and
services typically require broad-based participation and call for business process as well as technological
change. These efforts will benefit from the rigor of a project management process that comprehensively
pursues IT delivery requirements and process workflow adaptation. Similarly, if the parent organization
is investing a significant sum of money in an IT project, the executive team will expect a professional
approach that assures the realization of their business objectives and a reasonable return on the
investment. Furthermore, where many players, especially across business-unit silos, complex work
processes, and diverse/new information technology components are called upon to deliver the IT
solution, the challenges to successful delivery are high. Here too it only makes sense to rely on the
discipline of a systematically implemented project management methodology.
For that matter, once the IT organization designs and implements a common process in keeping with its
own needs and corporate culture, these project management methods will help streamline delivery and
eliminate more costly “one-off” practices. The key to success here is the broad adoption of simple,
uniform – yet flexible, and well documented processes by IT personnel and their line-of-business partners
within the organization. Flexibility is very important because each project and each customer relationship
has its own unique dynamics. With a project where IT and internal users (often referred to as the
“customers” of IT) have lots of experience together, the management process can be more informal.
Conversely, high risk projects demand considerable rigor in the application of project management
principles. But do not confuse rigor with rigidity. The process must be pliable, refocusing work effort and
related resources as business requirements evolve and as emerging technologies transform the IT
landscape. You should bear this in mind when applying our approach.
The IT Project Management Life Cycle (PMLC) – A Brief Overview
All projects evolve through a natural “life cycle,” from inception and definition, to design and construction,
to delivery and ongoing support. The key to successful project management is to balance the need for
control against the degree of risk evidenced in the project’s scope. Go for a simple management
framework or checklist and rely on published sources to supplement your efforts and to fill in any process
gaps when confronting unusual or extremely complex projects. As a starting point, we offer the following
model (see the Appendix) for your consideration. The purpose of this PMLC framework is to assist the
project team in building an appropriately detailed plan and oversight process to successfully deliver a
given project. It identifies the various project phases in the project management life cycle, the typical
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Session 20 – An Introduction to Project Management
sorts of activities pursued during that phase, the deliverables or outcomes produced during that phase,
and the titles of participants. The glossary at the close of this introduction includes a set of role definitions.
The phases of the PMLC may be summarized as follows:
1. the commitment phase – launches the project, defines the projects goals and objectives, time line
and budget, the roles and responsibilities of both stakeholders (project governance) and project
team members, and authorizes the project to proceed.
2. the analysis phase – focuses on gather the business, function, and technical requirements of the
project and may require a return to commitment to assess goals, timelines and budgets.
3. the design phase – where the requirements are translated to “construction drawings,” i.e. more
tangible instructions on what needs to get done. Analysis may involve the building of a prototype
(model or simulation of the ultimate project solution) to provide a visual point of reference for
stakeholder review. This phase may result in changes to requirements which may in turn require
timeline and budget changes.
4. the infrastructure phase – where the project team works with IT operations to ensure that the
anticipated project deliverables can be accommodated by the existing infrastructure or that
changes are made to update the infrastructure as required. This phase may result in changes to
requirements which may in turn require timeline and budget changes.
5. the implementation (development) phase – where the project team acquires the necessary
information system software, installs it, sets it up for use by the company, and makes whatever
adjustments are required (interfaces, data transfers and the like) to make it operational within
the context of the organization’s business process(es). Note that when the business need is either
only vaguely understood or very unique, the IT organization may employ a methodology referred
to as rapid development/prototyping to come up with the model for an information systems
solution. This systems development methodology is beyond the scope of this course but is
addressed to a limited extent in the slides that accompany this narrative.
6. the certification phase – where the team tests the project deliverables to ensure that they
properly address all of the requirements developed as part of the analysis phase.
7. the launch phase – prepares the organization for use of the new IT offering. This begins well in
advance of implementation where management educates the workforce on the need for change
and the intended solution. As implementation and certification finish up, end users, end user
support (the Help Desk) and the systems team that will provide technical support for the new IT
product(s) will receive training and the new systems will be documented.
8. the release phase – typically involves piloting the new IT solution and then a parallel, phased or
plunge release.
9. the sunsetting phase – where the old system is shut down and its hardware recycled.
10. the lessons learned phase – after signoff by the project sponsor accepting the project
deliverables, the project team may reconvene with governance to discuss what went well and
what did not about the process.
11. system maintenance – the ongoing process of ensuring that the information system in question
continues to meet the needs of the organization and that it remains in compliance with laws of
the land and industry best practices in light of internal and external environment changes.
The Commitment Phase, which is often given short shrift, is dealt with in some detail in the next section
of this introduction. Note that the model calls for both the Quality Assurance (QA) and IT Customer
Services teams to get involved in the project during the Analysis Phase. QA needs this head start so as to
prepare properly for the Certification Phase and to ensure that the project plan allows enough time and
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Session 20 – An Introduction to Project Management
resources for testing. Customer Services also needs advanced involvement in upcoming project
deliverables so as to prepare for IT staff and end user documentation and training, and to ready the Help
Desk for customer support issues associated with rollout. Also note the inclusion of an Infrastructure
Phase whose primary purpose is to ensure that the IT infrastructure team can accommodate, from both
a server/storage and a network services perspective, any new systems or services that your project will
add to the existing enterprise IT complex. Furthermore, this phase is included to remind the project team
to order the hardware and software required early on. You will be amazed how often project teams
neglect to order such things as servers in advance of a project delivery. The Infrastructure Phase checklist
also reminds the team to reserve hardware and network capacity as required in advance of the need for
these resources. The slide deck for Session 21 goes into the PMLC in more detail.
In terms of project personnel, the framework identifies the role of Project Manager (PM). The IT Project
Manager is staff to the project and coordinates all project efforts. This support person will develop and
maintain project commitment documents and plans, facilitate and coordinate project activities, carry out
business process analysis, prepare project status reports, manage project meetings, record and issue
meeting minutes, and perform many other tasks as required to ensure successful project delivery.
However, the project manager is not the “manager” of the project team (i.e. that the rest report to
him/her). Indeed, in terms of status within the company, the project manager is typically junior to the
sponsor and other line-of-business stakeholders. The PM must control the project through the consensus
of the project team and their commitment to the project (discussed below).
The PMLC employs references to various IT roles – technology specialists – internal or external to the IT
organization – who play a contributory role in the project’s delivery but who are not necessarily involved
in day-to-day project operations. For example, network services personnel may serve as partner providers
in delivering a new Web site. Working Clients are customers assigned to the project by the Executive
Sponsor (i.e. the party funding the project and who has final signoff on project approval). Working Clients
bring business process expertise to the project and also serve as operational surrogates for the Executive
Sponsor. While the participation of Working Clients is often essential to a project’s success, we
recommend against awarding even these line-of-business people Project Manager/Director status
because they all too often lack the necessary technical knowledge and the experience of managing IT
personnel and vendors.
The Commitment Process
Initial project scoping is key to the subsequent steps in any project management process. All too often
projects are pursued without a clear understanding of the associated risks and resource commitments,
leaving both working clients and the project team without an understanding of their respective roles and
responsibilities. Similarly, operating assumptions are left undocumented and the handoffs and
dependencies among players remain unclear. To avoid these and other contributors to delivery
problems, project teams should embrace a commitment process that ensures a well-informed basis for
From the outset, no project should proceed without an executive (business) sponsor and the assignment
of at least one working client. The executive sponsor’s role is to ensure the financial and political support
to see the project through. He/she owns the result and is therefore the project’s most senior advocate.
(If the project in question happens to be sponsored by IT itself, then the chief IT executive will serve as
sponsor and the IT manager who will own the system or service once it is in production will serve as the
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Session 20 – An Introduction to Project Management
working client.) The commitment document should indicate the project’s business priority and sources
of funding. As the discussion of project scoping begins, the team needs to ask: “Do we know so little
about the project at hand that we are only in a speculative phase of commitment at this time or are we
so confident in our understanding of the project’s parameters that we are prepared to make a formal
commitment to the customer and proceed?”
As a next step in framing the commitment, the project team should define the business
problem/opportunity driving the proposed investment of IT resources. It is essential that the team start
from a common base of understanding concerning the project’s rationale and purpose. To that same end,
we would walk project teams through the following value template so that everyone involved can
appreciate the benefits of a positive project outcome:
Business Improvement
Minor None
Business Value Statement (in support of the improvement)
1. Increase Revenue
2. Decrease Cost
3. Avoid Cost
4. Increase Productivity
5. Improve Time-to-Market
6. Improve Customer
7. Provide Competitive
8. Reduce Risk
9. Improve Quality
10. Other (Describe)
With a common view of the overall project vision and value in place, the time has come to detail project
deliverables, including those that are essential for customer acceptance, those that are highly desirable if
time and resources allow, those that are optional (where the project may be acceptably delivered without
these components), and those elements that are excluded from the scope of this project (but that may
appear in future, separately-funded phases of the project). Given the project’s now agreed upon
deliverables, the team should assign critical success factors for line-of-business user satisfaction based
upon the following vectors of measurement: scope, time, quality, and cost. These metrics must be defined
in terms of the particular project.
For example, if a project must be completed by a certain date (e.g. the efforts to make information
systems year 2000 compliant), “time” rises to the top of the list, meaning that if time grows short, the
enterprise will either adjust scope, sacrifice quality, or add to costs to meet the desired date. Similarly, if
the scope of a project is paramount, perhaps its delivery date will be moved out to allow the team to
complete the commitment. As with many other aspects of the commitment process framework, the
importance here is to ensure that a thoughtful discussion ensues and that issues are dealt with proactively
rather than in a time of crisis. Obviously, the discussion of critical success factors must take place with
the working client(s), creating a golden opportunity to set and manage line-of-business user expectations.
Since no major change to an IT environment is without implications, the commitment process must
identify any major impacts to other systems and services that will result from the implementation of the
envisioned project solution. For example, if a new app …
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