Project Management skill is very important in information management area. Let me paint a historical (early 2000) projet lead role where I was responsible for managing the E-governance project for the state of Maharashtra, India. Let me frankly state that, we had no defined project management process in place that adheres to PMBOK guidelines. The project processes and phases were more attached to the product development process itself. My schedule of work for a typical small sized project can be broken down as follows –
Project initiation and planning: This doesn’t happen every time. Depends on the availability of projects. On an average, the company used to get 1 medium sized project a year and 2-3 small sized projects (system enhancements, system integration etc) every year. Project initiation phase involves very informal meeting between the State IT director and other officials of respective state departments to discuss about the need to create a project to solve a problem. For eg: one such project was Online attendance management system, where, goal was to integrate swipe card data into intranet wide website to display attendance information of over 7000 employees. Project initiation involved preparation of government tender calling for competency in building such a system. Since our company had already built sufficient confidence among the project sponsors, the project selection process identified our company as the supplier. I used to spent at least 4-5 hours of meetings per day (for 3 weeks) with the department heads and the other vendor who was dealing with swipe card system. I prepared the initial project proposal that contained the project scope, WBS, resource estimates, cost estimates, and initial project plan. Later, project contract was signed on acceptance of base cost estimates and resource/time schedules.
Execution: During execution phase, my role was to develop detailed system specifications such as BRD, SRS and testing plans. Once that was done, it was handed over to the team of designers and developers who will then build and test the system. During this phase, I used to spent 2-3 hours (for 1 month and half) a day on generating specs and allocating work.
Controlling and monitoring: It was my responsibility to see that the requirements are completely satisfied by the specs and that the team develops an integrated system that would meet the goal of making the attendance information transparent across the state departments’ intranet. I used to conduct weekly heads up meeting on Wednesdays to know project progress and address any team building issues. The client wanted quick turn around time and we were using prototype based development. Since our team was working directly from client’s side (State IT dept.), the whole process of user interaction and system testing was user driven, means – the user was very demanding. My rest of the day’s hours – about 4-5 hours (for 2 months) was spent on this process. This process was going on throughout the product life cycle . i.e from project initiation to project closure. The only project documents that were generated during this phase was the daily and weekly project status reports, which I need to send to company headquarters.
Project Closure: Project closure involves final user acceptance testing and user sign off on each particular feature as defined on the BRD. There is a period of 2 weeks of successful production run, after which the project sign off document is signed. My involvement during this phase was 1-2 hours per day (final 3 weeks).
A rough estimate, thus for the 2 month project phase (for the above mentioned small sized project), can be roughly broken down as –
Project Initiation and planning : 75 hrs
Execution : 105 hrs
Controlling and Monitoring : 225 hrs
Project closure : 30 hrs