Planning activities for the project
Jan 08

Planning activities for the project

Analysis

A development project is never carried out in a vacuum. At the same time, normal business operations and other development activities are carried out. Before starting to plan a project, it is good to find out what the company’s ability is to implement the planned development project.

An analysis of corporate project practices

We will begin by finding out what are the rules for project work in the company. We need to get answers to at least these questions:

  • Does the project office manage centralized development?
  • Does the company have a quality manual or other guidance for development projects?
  • What are the documentation storage rules?
  • Publicity or the need for encryption?
  • Is master data handled centrally or individually in each project?
  • Is communication to staff and outsiders instructed?
  • How does the project get the resources it needs?

Analysis of the ability to carry out successful projects

Has the company recently completed similar development projects? If so, find out how they have succeeded?

Does the company have people with solid experience in managing successful development projects? Or whether external help will be needed.

An analysis of which projects are planned to be implemented at the same time.

Find out which other projects will be running at the same time with this project. Enter the timetables for these projects to Projecttop. This way you can ensure that project schedules do not overlap.

Parallel Projects resource reservations enter into Projecttop

Find out the need for resources in other projects and enter them to Projecttop for resource reservations. This way you can make sure that the resources you need are definitely available.

Clarification and objectives of the delivery contract

Clarify at least these:

  • What exactly is bought? What activities are covered by the agreement?
  • What is the basis for payment? Hourly, fixed price, target model or something else?
  • In what kind of batch will the project be paid to the vendor. What are the bases for each payment?
  • Is the training and testing support included in the agreement or do they have to be purchased separately?
  • What kind of guarantee does the solution have? How will the production support and helpdesk be agreed?
  • Are there any agreements on how the project will be implemented?
  • What is excluded, what is not covered?

GDPR requirements for the project

The EU GDPR has various requirements with regards to the ways in which businesses should handle the processing and protection of personal information. Management will need to ensure that all resources and decision makers in the project are aware of the law related to GDPR.

To agree on the project’s practices with the vendor

Agree with the vendor that the project is implemented by using Projecttop Process. Ask for the vendor’s representatives to have user accounts to the ProjectTOP VIP Area to get access to the useful material.

Projecttop vip area - Planning

Master Data, environments and integrations -plan

Technical design should be done together with technical experts.

Architecture, Integration plan + map

If the current technical solution has not been described, it should be described. You also need a list of applications and servers that will be replaced by a new solution. In addition, the interfaces that remain are to be described.

Development – Testing – Production environments -plan

In accordance with the Projecttop Process, the technical environment solution should be as follows.

  1. Development (D)– Vendor’s environment for development and unit testing.
  2. Test (T)– Environment for system testing.
  3. Acceptance test (Q)– Environment for the Cut over practice and the user acceptance test.
  4. Production (P) – for production use.

There may be a need for other environments on a case-by-case basis. For example, for master data conversions.

Master data-plan

The accuracy of the master data is an absolute prerequisite for a viable solution. If the quality of data is not good, then the solution will not work properly. The need for master data and conversions is defined during the definition phase. However, in designing the project, there is a need to agree on methods for processing data.

Resourcing and practices

Project meeting practices

Plan a meeting practice for the project, at least for the following groups:

  1. Steering group:
    1. About once a month to ensure quick decision making. Not more often, so the group will not take over the project manager role.
  2. Project managers (Vendor & Customer)
    1. Every week, briefly
  3. The project team, core group
    1. Every week at the same time
    2. Defined content
  4. The project team, Big group and stakeholders
    1. According to the project schedule

Project reporting plan

Before you begin planning to report, read the reporting articles.

In order to run the project, you need reliable and real-time reporting. Each phase of the project should be designed so that its progress can be monitored.

The best way to start planning to report is to do it from the beginning. Below is a list of the most important reporting points:

  1. Production use support period.
  2. Go-live GO/NoGo decision.
  3. Acceptance test approval
  4. Testing and defect reporting
  5. Building / System test approval per packets
  6. Build packet approval for building. (Definition ready)
  7. Reporting for steering group.
  8. Status report for weekly project team meetings.

Project communication plan

Successful projects communicate actively and truthfully. Communication is two-way, meaning the project also listens. People need to be able to post questions and development ideas to the project through an official, systematic channel. Note that this doesn’t mean that every answer will be satisfactory or that every question is answered right away. Questions often contain answers – by listening to the questions, you often receive clues to upcoming issues and can prevent them from becoming problems.

When you communicate actively and truthfully, negative rumors cannot spoil the atmosphere but, of course, the tone should always be positive. It tells us that the project’s performance is so effective that all the difficulties are resolved.

Internal communication within the project is built into the Projecttop process but communicating with other parties should be planned on a case-by-case basis.

Project Organization and Resource plan

Project resource planning is a continuous task. The general guidance is as follows:

  • Now -> 3 weeks: Personal worklists activities to be decided. Deadlines set and communicated. Monitor the completion of the activities.
  • 1 month before: Calendar reservations sent to resources. Ensure that the resources are reserved for the project.
  • 1 -> 3 month: A detailed plan for scheduling, activities, and resource needs. Risk analysis updated.
  • 4 month -> Schedule resources and activities planned on the upper level.

Success requires that the right resources are available at the right time. If, for example, the workshops lack the critical resource, the time for all the attendants is wasted. If this happens often, it will delay the entire project.

The resources needed in several companies must be ordered from the business. The easiest way to do this is to make resource reservations in the Gantt-view and then extract the Resource-view.

Holiday Calendar

The project must know when the resources are unavailable.

Make absentee resource reservations to Projecttop. This is how you see the effects of absences in the Resources-view.

Communicate resource reservations

The people involved in the project should know about resource reservations and that information must come from project manager or supervisor. Not via email or rumor.

If a person does not want to participate in a project, it is often sensible to replace them with another person. You need motivated people on the journey.

Make reservations for calendars

You may wonder why this activity is at this point?
It is important that the project provides a fast start. Therefore, calendar reservations for the events should be made as soon as they are known.

Testing, Defect and change management plan

Plan change management

Read the article about change management and the instructions to work accordingly.

Plan defect process

Read the article about defect management and the instructions to work accordingly.

Plan Open issue management

Read the article about open issue management and the instructions to work accordingly.

Test plan

Read the articles about system test and acceptance test and the instructions to work accordingly.

Training

Training plan

Read the articles about training in project and the instructions to work accordingly.

Training for specification

For the definition to be effective, the developers need to understand how new software works. They must be trained in basic software functions and logic.

If you neglect to do this training, the number of requests for change will increase considerably. For the definition to be effective, the developers need to understand how new software works. They must be trained in basic software functions and logic.

Definition and Building

Definition using use cases

Read the article about definition process and use case template and the instructions to work accordingly.

Create a Use Case list

Create a list of the needed use cases.

The use case is a business process that is easily accessible. The following items are characterized by the use case:

– It has a clear start and an end.
– The process can include several organizational functions.
– It is a limited entity.
– The description is made from a business standpoint.
– The vendor describes the solution that meets business needs.

Plan the use case process from definition to system testing

Read the article about definition process and the instructions to work accordingly.

Plan build packets

Open Gantt view
Create build packages for Gant as phases.
Add or import the listed use cases to Projecttop as activities.
Drag use cases under the right package
Add resources for each use case for definition. Estimate workload per person.

Kick-off + Communication

When your plan is ready enough, start implementing the project. This is done by organizing a kick-off meeting. Invite the project team and the other necessary representatives.

Here is an example of an agenda:

Welcome and Presentation of People

  • Project Managers are proud to present project teams.

Why do we have a project?

  • Why is the project being started?
  • What benefits is the project going to bring to the business?
  • Which things are out of the scope?

Project timetable and steps from the end to the beginning.

  • Planned deployment schedule
  • When will end users be trained? It is good to add to this that training has been invested in.
  • Acceptance testing: When and who to test? Emphasize that the role of business is big.
  • Schedule of building and system testing
  • Definition by use cases: When and who to test? Emphasize that the role of business is big.

Presentation of vendor and Solution

  • Description of the vendor company
  • A positive presentation of the selected software. Focus on benefits rather than features

Project phasing in general

  •  Reviewing the project plan
  •  Description of project phasing. Now at a more precise level, what’s happening at all levels. Weighting for the next 3 months.
  • What are the following tasks? When will the calendar calls be sent?
  • How do people know what to do?

Change Management and Open Issues

  • Go through the change management process. Emphasize why it is important to work in accordance with an agreed process.

Qestions and answers

Ending the event

  • Check out the following activities.
  • End with a few happy words.

Jyrki Autio

CEO of Projecttop He’s often hired to save projects that are far behind schedule, are going over budget, or aren’t meeting quality standards. He also commonly trains people in specialist and consulting companies that sell project management or software development services.