Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Inputs to the IT Project Phases

Have you ever heard the term "garbage in, garbage out (GIGO)"? This is a term used to describe the results you would receive if you entered insufficient or incorrect data into a computer, for example. It also applies to your IT project.

You should ensure that all of the information you use in your project is of good quality. Any project can be detrimentally affected by the use of poorly researched information.

With thorough planning, you will be better able to determine and gather the information you will need for your IT project. By documenting this information, you will have a road map for developing an effective IT project plan.

In project management, the documents or documentable items that are produced and will be acted upon are called "inputs." These documents contain all the information your team has researched to make the project run smoothly and efficiently.

There are a number of inputs to consider for each phase of an IT project. Not all phases have the same number of inputs, but all inputs are beneficial to the success of the end product. Examples of inputs for each of the six IT project phases are listed below.

Planning phase. An example of a planning phase input is the information plan, which contains an extensive description of the company's present systems and the objective of the project.

Analysis phase. An example of an analysis phase input is the conceptual design, which describes the scope, architecture, and other aspects of the new system in detail.

Design phase. An example of a design phase input is the business process prototype, which depicts the working functions of the new system or product. It also highlights crucial or problematic areas.

Construction phase. An example of a construction phase input is the design document. The design document of the construction phase can include references or details on application flow, database design, and a workflow design.

Testing phase. An example of a testing phase input is user documentation. This documentation includes user instructions and procedures that the end users will require. It also is appropriate to test the user documentation during this phase. This will help uncover and eliminate documentation errors that could result in the delivery of inappropriate instructions to the end user.

Rollout phase. An example of a rollout phase input is the current systems description. When designing a new system, it is necessary to document any changes that must be made to the old system to accommodate the new structure. These details are included in the current systems description.
By being familiar with the inputs of each phase of an IT project, you and your team can be more confident that you have given adequate consideration to all required tasks in the development of your new system or product.

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