As in all project management, instructional systems projects have three levels of structure: an underlying methodology; processes for design, development, evaluation and implementation; and standards for outputs at each phase. This posting focuses on processes which will support the ability of team members to be creative and innovative within guidelines.
Processes for each project phase
The processes for each phase of instructional systems projects support the methodology with detailed procedures, usually captured in flow charts with related forms and checklists. (See, for example, City of Chandler, AZ, pp. 5-14) These elements ensure standardization and quality, and produces related artifacts in addition to those of the deliverables themselves.
The project initiation process produces a high-level project description and documents the project’s justification, safety and security issues, organizations involved, cost and resource estimates, timeline, and list of approvals necessary. (See, for example, U.S. Department of Commerce, Section 7.)
The planning process follows initiation approval, beginning with rigorous requirements engineering and analysis. On the basis of the requirements (including constraints), planning develops a number of artifacts: the project scope; project level indicators; project management tools such as a scorecard for use with the formal project plan and project level indicators to assess the project’s risk and complexity; plans for resources, staffing, purchases, and acquisitions; detailed plans for managing risk, security, testing, training, change control (including scope creep prevention), quality, documentation of lessons learned, and approval for deliverables. (See, for example, U.S. Department of Commerce, Section 7.2.)
Development processes include, broadly, steps for project team development, resource acquisition, security, quality assurance (building quality in with incremental testing rather than repairing deliverables after large deliverable testing), resource management, and communications. (See, for example, U.S. Department of Defense, Chapter 6.)
Monitoring and controlling processes strongly effect both development efficiency and final deliverable quality. They involve quality control, change control, independent verifications and validations as needed, performance reporting, risks and issues monitoring, implementing testing at the designated development and delivery points, final security review, implementing the training plan (if any), documenting lessons learned, and approvals required for deliverables. (See, for example, U.S. Department of Defense, Chapter 8.)
Project closing processes document verifies the customer’s acceptance of final deliverables, and may include a final budget accounting and final lessons learned. (See, for example, Virginia Tech University.)
Why detailed, documented processes are important
Processes support the standardization of many elements that ensure the highest quality deliverables. Documented processes establish clients’ expectations for performance at each phase of the project, and they ensure the company’s stability through the inevitable changes – from requirements and material resources to human resources. Processes for “building quality in” at all phases through frequent quality assurance reviews and/or tests and frequent lessons-learned sessions ensure continuous process, and hence product, improvement.
What did you find useful in the posting? What more would you like to know? Please share your comments.
RESOURCES – The following resources reflect the broadly accepted standards described above and may help you identify specific process elements that will help with your own process refinement.
City of Chandler, Arizona. Project Management Methodology Guidelines. http://www.chandleraz.gov/Content/PM000PMMethodologyGDE.pdf (Accessed 1/26/2013)
PMI (Project Management Institute). PMBOK Guide and Standards®. http://www.pmi.org/PMBOK-Guide-and-Standards.aspx (Accessed 1/26/2013)
Texas Tech University. IT Project Management Practices Guide. http://www.depts.ttu.edu/infotech/pmguide.pdf (Accessed 1/26/2013)
U.S. Department of Commerce. Scalable Project Management Methodology, (http://ocio.os.doc.gov/ITPolicyandPrograms/ Project_Management/PROD01_006871): “Project Management Process Groups,” http://ocio.os.doc.gov/ITPolicyandPrograms/ Project_Management/PROD01_006871#P456_30313, and “Project Planning Process Group,” http://ocio.os.doc.gov/ITPolicyandPrograms/ Project_Management/PROD01_006871#P489_35873 (Accessed 1/26/2013)
U.S. Department of Defense. Extension to: A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide), First Edition, Version 1.0, June 2003. Defense Acquisition University Press: Fort Belvoir, Virginia. http://www.dau.mil/pubs/gdbks/DoDExtPMBOK–June%2003.pdf (Accessed 1/26/2013)
Virginia Tech University. Project Management Process Guidelines. http://www.itplanning.org.vt.edu/pm/processtable.html (Accessed 1/26/2013)