Keys for Successful GIS Projects

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Keys for Successful GIS Projects. Project Management for GIS Practitioners. Presented by Bruce Oswald, V.P., Public Sector Geospatial Solutions, James W. Sewall Company GITA Annual Conference March 6, 2007. Areas We’ll Cover. Common problem areas and their solutions. - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

Text of Keys for Successful GIS Projects

  • Keys for Successful GIS Projects

    Presented by Bruce Oswald, V.P., Public Sector Geospatial Solutions,James W. Sewall CompanyGITA Annual ConferenceMarch 6, 2007Project Management for GIS Practitioners

  • Areas Well CoverCommon problem areas and their solutions.Project management basics.Major concepts, tips and tricks. Specific questions on project problems that you may have.

  • 4 Common ProblemsProject is late.Project is over budget.Project doesnt fix the problem.Project dies from lack of support.

  • 4 Common ProblemsProject is late!Why?Under estimated time to complete tasks.Scope additions increased amount of work.Over budget. Need to go back for more funding.People just didnt deliver on time.

  • 4 Common ProblemsProject is late!Solutions:Be stringent, but realistic on time frames.Better scope management or change control process.If bad estimate, then next time use historical data, if possible.Establish and manage contingencies properly.Follow up with folks to insure project priorities.Pre-establish work-arounds for high risk areas.

  • 4 Common ProblemsProject is over budget!Why?Bad estimate. Scope additions increased the amount of work.Lack of competition for bids.Solutions:Use historical data, if possible.Better scope management or change control process.Manage cost contingencies properly.Re-examine your bid advertising and/or contracting methodology.

  • 4 Common ProblemsProject doesnt fix the problem!Why?Stakeholders were not properly engaged in the design process.Problem changed.Solutions:Better and more regular communication.Better scope management insure project delivers whats in the scope.Follow up with stakeholders to ensure business process hasnt changed.

  • 4 Common ProblemsProject dies from lack of support!Why?Priorities change and budgets are cut.Project becomes liability.Over budget. Need to go back for more funding.Project loses its sex appeal.Upper management forgets about it!Solutions:Look for new job or adapt project to new priorities.Manage cost contingencies properly.Continually sell the project to upper management.Chunk project down so it upper management sees regular deliverables and can appreciate its progress.

  • Project Management Basics

  • What is a Project?A project is a temporary endeavor undertaken to create a unique product, service, or result.

  • Project Life CyclePhasesInputsProject Management OutputsInitialFinalIdeaPM TeamScope StatementCharterPlanBaselineProgressDeliveryTestingHandover

  • Real Project Life CyclePhasesReal PhasesProject Management OutputsInitialFinalEpiphanyScope StatementCharterPlanBaselineProgressDeliveryTestingHandoverHoneymoonRubber Meets the RoadHerculean EffortPatch up Mistakes Before Exhaustion Hits

  • What is Project Management?Project Management is not:Buying software and creating a schedule!Completing reams of forms or other paperwork!Completing the project, but leaving stacks of bodies!Project Management Institute (PMI) definition Project management is the application of knowledge, skills, tools and techniques to project activities to meet project requirements. Workshop definitionProject management is the use of those management principles needed to assure the success of your project (i.e. PM Lite).


  • Main Players in a ProjectProject SponsorProject ManagerProject TeamProject Stakeholders

  • PMI Project Knowledge AreasIntegration ManagementScope ManagementTime ManagementCost ManagementQuality ManagementHuman Resource ManagementCommunications ManagementRisk ManagementProcurement Management

  • Todays Areas of ConcentrationProject Charter.Scope Management. Time Management.Cost Management.Upper Management Support.Risk Management a simplified approach.Contracts and their use.Leadership

  • Project Charter

  • Whats In a Project Charter?Statement of work.Description of project outcomes/ deliverables.Ballpark estimate. Statement of benefits/business need for project.Statement of how project supports the organizations strategic plan/goals.Risk points.Specific area for management signoff.

  • What Does a Project Charter Do?Formally authorizes the project.Provides the project manager with the authority to provide organizational resources to the project activities.Insures that project is consistent with the organizations goals.Ties a management sponsor/upper management to the project.

  • Cementing the Business Need to the Project

  • Constantly Re-Align the Project and Business ProcessIdentify the business process that the project is being used for.Meet with stakeholders involved in that business process regularly.As project moves forward, check to determine: Any changes that may have occurred in that process and how they will effect the project.Any changes that may have occurred in the project and whether the project can still meet the needs of the business process its being designed for.

  • Business ProcessTip Never forget that this is the reason for the project. Never let the project team or the stakeholders forget either.

  • Three Legs of a ProjectScopeTimeCost

  • Scope Management

  • Whats in a Project Scope?Describes what needs to be accomplished by the project.Includes project objectives.Might include project acceptance criteria.Project constraints, major milestones, deliverablesOrder of magnitude cost statement.Risks, assumptions, etc.

  • HighLowTimeCost of ChangesInfluence of StakeholdersWhy Its Important to Properly Manage the Project ScopeCost

  • Scope ManagementBe Strong, but flexible.Decide up front what you can or cannot change.If necessary, allow some changes early it will show your flexibility. Alert the team and the stakeholders that changes will have impacts and let them know up front what they are (cost/time). Tip - Watch out for changes late in the projecttheyre killers.

  • Rigidity vs. FlexibilityRigidity is easy, but not effective.If you agree to every change, youre not managing the project.Tip Determine up front where you can be flexible & where you cant!

  • Schedule Management

  • Schedule ManagementValue of scheduling it solidifies the plan, its another road-map.Critical path, float, resource balancing, etc.Flexibility is a must; dont record history use it to anticipate work-arounds.Its just a tool stupid!

  • How to Start Making a Schedule! DeliverablesMajor TasksWork Breakdown StructureResponsibility MatrixGant ChartCPMResource Allocation/Balancing

  • Deliverables/MilestonesStart backwards and go forwards.End product.Steps to get there.Products or pieces that may come out of those steps.Develop RFPAdvertiseBidAwardPerform WorkTestAccept

  • Work Breakdown Structure

  • Responsibility MatrixIdentifies parties responsible for major task areas.Works well when dealing with multiple entities.Might be as simple as listing resources working on project.

  • Gant Chart

  • Gant Chart

  • CPM

  • Redesigning the ScheduleOnce the preliminary project schedule is developed. Look at the pattern of deliverables. If need be, redesign the project work flow to have, at least, monthly deliverables. With technology projects, people need to see tangible results. Tip If necessary, redesign the project workflow to insure regular deliverables.

  • Schedule Management How to Update It!Dont just record history.Make it easy for everyone or it wont get done.Issue updates on a regular basis and date the update.When you issue an update let people know about deliverables achieved, upcoming milestones, and things to watch out for. Make it a value add for them. Otherwise, it wont be read.

  • Schedule Management How to Use It!Develop work-arounds for anticipated problems.Anticipate critical areas coming up.Remind resources of upcoming needs.Use it to check to make sure your earlier assumptions are still valid. (Are deliveries of equipment still on time, etc.?)

    Tip Remember Its about thethe project not the schedule.

  • - Schedule Management How to Use It!Change Control use it to show the real impacts of changes on delivery dates, etc.Dont try to impress the boss with your details. Use them for flash. Stick to the big picture.Your success will be in completing the project on time not in recording history. Tip When presenting the schedule, use the simplest approach/diagram possible.

  • Cost Management

  • What is Cost Management?Cost estimating.Developing an approximation of the costs of the resources needed to complete the project activities.Cost budgeting.Aggregating the estimated costs of the individual activities to establish a cost baseline.Cost control.Influencing factors that create cost variances and controlling changes to the project budget.

  • Cost ManagementDeveloping an estimate.Historical data from similar projects?Start with your deliverables, WBS and schedule.Easiest for me to put numbers against the WBS and roll it up to the milestones or the deliverables.Look at contingencies Initially 30+%Final phase 5-10%Guard these with your life!

  • Cost ManagementDeveloping a budget.Envelopes Please!

    Contingencies design, market factors, general unknowns, etc. Equipment

  • Cost ManagementMostly about managing contingencies properly.Change controlYou need a process that includes some documentation that describes the work and its impact and identifies who can approve it.Its not just the cost of the work, but the potential of lost time and resources.Tip Cost Control is mostly about managing contingencies properly and learning when to say no!