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Custom IT Project Management Portfolio Essay

This project intends to develop a single location in which all published UK geospatial datasets can be found, accessed, and shared. Web services will be greatly enhanced with the development of coordinated geospatial commons. This being said, the development will have three phases. The first phase will have to do with all requirements which include the following: defining and prioritizing preliminary functions; assessing user needs; and assessing web service requirements. The second phase will have to do with the actual implementation of the coordinated geospatial commons. This second phase will entail the following: identifying a server; identifying training needs (implementation group); researching functionality and configuration; developing a configuration plan; installing and configuring hardware; installing and configuring software; and function testing. Finally, the third phase will involve recommendations and production planning. The requirements will be as follows: production recommendations; service level agreement modelling; stakeholder reporting; and a production project plan proposing.

Milestone List

  1. Preliminary definition and prioritization of functions (Date:).
  2. Approving the project charter (Date:).
  3. Launching the online survey (Date:).
  4. Drafting the project plan (Date:).
  5. Researching functionality and configuration options (Date:).
  6. Identifying the group’s training needs (Date:).
  7. Identifying a host server (Date:).
  8. Reporting on survey results (Date:).
  9. Developing a configuration plan (Date:).
  10. Installing and configuring hardware (Date:).
  11. Installing and configuring software (Date:).
  12. Comparing survey results with function list (Date:).
  13. Developing a test plan, test cases, and a traceability matrix (Date:).
  14. Implementing client functions and design work (Date:).
  15. Testing implemented functions (Date:).
  16. Revising data or service contributions (Date:).
  17. Testing commons with real data and real services (Date:).
  18. Making any required modifications in terms of functionality and/or configuration (Date:).
  19. Drafting a project plan for production (Date:).

Communication Statement

The project’s workgroup will have to be fully informed about the monthly meetings. An updated schedule should be facilitated to all members. Besides, post-meeting notes will be made readily available for all those members who express interest in receiving them. There will also be a Basecamp website to be used whenever group meetings are cancelled or not needed; all members will be informed about dates on which they will work directly on the site. All progress will be reported in a timely manner to all stakeholders. Stakeholders will have representatives assigned to the workgroup. In addition, another specific website will be established; it will include all schedule updates and periodic progress reports.

Quality and Risk Management Plan

In managing quality and risk, an attempt will be made to characterize, prioritize, and document a mitigation approach. Essentially, the objective will be to identify and, if possible, anticipate any risk that might surface on the geospatial commons (either related to function design and/or function configuration). Periodic (monthly) reports will be prepared in accordance with the progress. These reports will also allow the project manager to make any amendments that might be in order; reports will be also used for controlling and monitoring.

Quality Baseline Statement

Recognizing how important it is to maintain the highest level of quality throughout the entire project, the following provisions will be made. All written reports (including the project drafts) will be written using Microsoft Word. This software will guarantee proper spelling, grammar, and word choice; it will also guarantee excellent presentation and format.  Furthermore, the geospatial common will be developed through the implementation of the ESRI Geoportal Toolkit, which will also serve as a test bed. Given that there is currently no collective geospatial common functioning in the UK, it will not be possible to compare performance with other similar commons.

Living Next door to Alice?

The first technology that Alice might turn to is email. Email is advantageous due its relatively high communication speed (as it allows for files to be attached to the communication) regardless of distance considerations. What is more, email is advantageous because of its availability and cost effectiveness (it is possible to send all kinds of communication messages free of charge).  On the other hand, email is disadvantageous because it is vulnerable (system crashes may result in vital information being lost). It is potentially unsafe (hackers may intercept email) and emotionless, thus leading to potential interpretation problems.

The second technology that Alice might turn to is Internet chatting. Internet chatting is advantageous primarily due to its economy. It is possible to engage in long conversations while maintaining minimum expenses.  A second advantage is multitasking, since team members can communicate with their peers, while at the same time working on their individual tasks. Multitasking also results in enhanced time management. On the other hand, Internet chatting is disadvantageous because there are natural communication barriers associated with its use. Internet chatting makes it difficult for individuals to interpret the meaning behind other people’s words. Apart from that, Internet chatting is potentially dangerous, since there is always a threat of hackers and information theft.

A third technology that Alice might turn to is video conferencing.  First, video conferencing is advantageous because it allows for rapid communication (whether individual or group communication). It also allows for visual aids to be shared with team members and gives a possibility of immediate interaction (through the usage of virtual whiteboards, for example). And it is economical. Disadvantages associated with video conferencing include S the slow Internet connection that may hinder visual communication and security hazards (hackers).

Team Working

During my first workshop session, I learned that in order for a team to be effective, it is necessary that all of its members are on the same page. In other words, there must be convergence in terms of the project’s objectives, deliverables, and processes (that will be pursued in achieving the aforementioned objectives). All team members must be committed in full, and they must be able to communicate effectively with one another. I believe that out of the 16 personality types, the one that would best respond to group working is that of the caregiver. The caregiver personality is primarily characterized by outstanding human-relations skills. Caregivers are overly sensitive; they are externally focused and are driven by the feelings and concerns of others. This kind of empathy is essential for a team to achieve its goals efficiently and effectively. Also, caregivers are effective in leading discussions and managing people issues. Here again, it can be seen that caregivers are quite useful in teamwork. I found that effective communication is difficult, especially when team members come from different places and have different opinions about a given matter. Teamwork is all about mutual understanding; it is about consensus and about everyone working in the same direction (towards a common goal). Based on this, it becomes clear that people who are people-oriented, effective leaders, and communicators will always be preferred in this type of work. 

Deliverable Set Two

System Failure

After having read the London Ambulance case study, the first thing that becomes clear is that there were numerous problems associated with the attempted automated centralization of the ambulance service. First, it becomes clear that the system was poorly designed, especially in terms of user interface. Second, the change was done too rapidly; it was too traumatic, and the result was the system’s complete destabilization (and subsequent collapse). Third, the change was made without consulting with the different stakeholders, i.e. users and clients.  Fourth, it can be seen that there was a poor fit between the system and the organisation’s structure. Fifth, the training program for employees was poorly conceived (and poorly implemented as well). Sixth, there was no trust, or confidence, from the staff. Seventh, the botched implementation of the system led to the staff frustration, which in turn made things worse.

Having identified these seven (major) problems with the London ambulance automated (and centralized) system, it is possible to discuss how these problems could have been avoided. First, the problem of the poorly designed user interfaces could have been avoided by executing monitoring and control activities. There was no adequate testing of the system. There was no backup system set in place either. This problem could have easily been avoided if the system’s development and implementation had been carefully planned and controlled. Second, the problem generated by the aggressive and speedy change could have been easily avoided by planning. The change should have been phased, thus allowing time for the various stakeholders to adapt to it. Besides, gradual phasing from one system to another would have allowed identifying design issues (or any other issues) expediently. Apart from allowing stakeholders to adapt to the system’s centralization and automation, they should have been consulted in order to find the best way of approaching the transition (and implementing it). This lack of consultation also generated the fifth problem; there was no way of ensuring a good fit between the system and the organizational structure because no attention was paid to the actual structure that was already set in place. Finally, confidence and trust could have been fostered and, hence, frustration could have been avoided by consulting employees and making sure that they were properly trained. Here again, it becomes clear that there was no planning or control. Allowing long times to transpire between training and actual implementation clearly shows poor planning and poor organization.

Identifying the Risks

In my opinion, risk management encompasses the identification, evaluation, prioritization, monitoring, and control of all potential risks so as to guarantee a minimum damage and a maximum opportunity (which translates to profit/revenue). This being said, I believe that all kinds of risks should be closely monitored. However, personal risks and production system risks are those that need the closest monitoring. First of all, personal risks are important because they affect the individual and, therefore, his/her ability to perform up to expectation. For the most part, projects will succeed only if those in charge of them are efficient and effective; this is why monitoring personal risks becomes so important. Secondly, production system risks are very important because they signify risk in the overall production process and production system. In other words, these types of risks affect the project’s outcome directly as they ultimately determine the way in which the project is produced. Once plans have been made and signed off on, it becomes very important to guarantee that production will proceed without complication. For example, an ageing production system, or an out-dated software system, may be a cause for problem.

A Good Suggestion?

I would say that this is a good suggestion, since the cyclomatic-complexity metric quantifies a source code complexity, which is positively correlated with coding errors. In other words, this metric is useful because it helps identify those subroutines that are too complex and are, therefore, more likely to have defects.

Estimation using FPA

a)  Use function point analysis (FPA), as discussed in the lecture to calculate the unadjusted function points (FP) for the project, making the following assumptions.The use cases are of high complexity and should be given a weighting of 7.The classes are of medium complexity and should be given a weighting of 11.

Known Information

Fu = 20

Fc = 12

Wu = 7

Wc = 11

Problem Solution

FP = (Fu x Wu) + (Fc x Wu)

FP = (20 x 7) + (12 x 11)

FP = 140 + 132

FP = 272

b) Next use your answer to part (a) to calculate the adjusted function points FP adjusted. Assume that values have been assigned to the 14 complexity factors described in the lecture and from these values, ΣFj has been calculated as 45. From FP adjusted you should then work out how many lines of Java code will be required. When calculating FP adjusted make sure you follow the correct order of operations.

Known Information

FP = 272

ΣFj = 45

LF = 38 (assumed)

Solution

AFP = FP x (0.65 + 0.01 x 45)

AFP = 272 x (0.065 + 0.45)

AFP = 272 x 1.1

AFP = 299.2

SLOC = AFP X 38

SLOC = 299.2 X 38

SLOC = 11,370

c) Use COCOMO to calculate the required effort E, assuming the project is classed as semi-detached. Show your working.

Solution

299.2 x 60 = 17.952 (KLOC)

E = 3 (17.952) 1.12

E = (53.856) 1.12

E ≈ 86.9

D = cEd

D = 2.5 x (86.9) 0.35

D = (217.25) 0.35

D ≈ 6.6

d) Would 25 person-months be an adequate amount of effort for testing, integration and debugging? Justify your conclusion on the basis of your answer to part (c) above and the figures given under Work breakdown and scheduling from the example given in the lecture. Don’t forget we have assumed requirements analysis is already complete, so it is excluded from the value you found for E. Scheduling from the example given in the lecture. Don’t forget we have assumed requirements analysis is already complete, so it is excluded from the value you found for E.

Solution

Percentage analysis requirement ranges between 10% and 25%. The value was chosen to be 10%. Furthermore, the testing, debugging, and integration percentage ranged between 30% and 40%. The value was chosen to be 30%. Based on this, it only naturally follows that the 25 person-months would not be adequate for an effort of testing, integration, and debugging.

Explanation: 

Since the Effort (E) was calculated to be 86.9, and since the percentage analysis requirement was chosen to be 10%, that means that 8.69 would have to be subtracted from the original Effort value: 86.9 – 8.69 = 78.21. This value would have to be multiplied by the testing, debugging, and integration percentage, which was chosen to be 30%. Therefore, the Effort of testing, debugging, and integration would be the following: 78.21 x 0.3 ≈ 23.5. This value is lower than the 25 person-months required.

e)  Suppose you were developing a quality plan for the project. What standards and controls would you expect to apply to the activities of testing, integration and debugging?

Solution

First, upon considering the quality plan’s Revision Quality factors, I would expect to apply the following controls: Maintainability; Flexibility; Testability. Second, upon considering the quality plan’s Operational Quality, I would expect to apply the following controls: Correctness, Reliability, and Efficiency. Finally, in terms of standards that would be used throughout the quality plan, I would expect to use only the ISO 9000 standard.

Deliverable Set Three

Scheduling

Resource balancing, or levelling, has to do with examining unbalances in resource usage and/or allocation. Ultimately, the objective of resource balancing is for resources to be efficiently used without any conflict. This being said, it is important to consider network scheduling, which are beneficial as they allow managers to achieve goals while not going over time and resource constraints. This kind of scheduling helps minimize uncertainty by eliciting interdependencies and associated problems within the network. However, this may be a disadvantageous technique due to its increased demands of labour and time. In terms of how network scheduling may contribute to resource balancing, it should be said that a network analysis may give an insight as to any changes that may be required in activity times and/or resource allocation for such activities. A second type of scheduling technique comprises charts (including the Milestone Chart). This technique is advantageous because it allows for a clear visualization of what the project entails and how much time is given to each task. However, its level of detail may be disadvantageous, especially in large projects, due to the complexity of the chart itself. In terms of resource balancing, however, it might be now necessarily useful, since it does not offer a dynamic analysis.

A Tricky Choice

From a cost and timescale point of view, I would definitely develop the system as five independent sub-projects, regardless of whether or not the utilities would be duplicated. This compartmentalization would allow for an increased containment, particularly if system requirements were to change. Having one system would mean that all five subsystems would be delayed; this would mean more time and higher costs. Furthermore, working with separate subsystems would allow for a better scope and a better reach; each subsystem would be more efficient. Time and cost considerations are important because they directly affect efficiency. Increased efficiency will mean lesser time and lesser costs; this is why it is better to go with five separate subsystems as opposed to one major system.

Post Project Review

The UK’s geospatial community has access to multiple shared geospatial data sets (each available through different download sites). However, there is no one-web location where all datasets are readily available. This project intends to develop a single location in which all published UK geospatial datasets can be found, accessed, and shared. Web services will be greatly enhanced with the development of a coordinated geospatial common. Through the establishment of such a site, it will be possible to eliminate the need for disparate data download sites. Centralization will allow multiple institutions to let go of the responsibility of maintaining their geospatial datasets on a web service (as well as of the need of keeping them periodically updated and upgraded). Also, through the establishment of the proposed shared commons service, it would be possible to greatly advance the ability of sharing web services (by providing a unique space where data can be uploaded, updated, and upgraded) and to facilitate reliability and validity assessment of the aforementioned data sets. Ultimately, this is a project that was undertaken in order to create a one stop location for a wide array of business and GIS users in the UK (and beyond) and the possibility of finding and sharing useful geospatial resources. This, in turn, will result in the promotion of a greater sharing of geospatial data, services, and applications.

As far as the project’s deliverables are involved, it is necessary to start by pointing out that, before any work is carried out, a preliminary definition of all functions to be included in the common is required. In helping to assess these functions as well as the configurations for each of them, an online survey was prepared and sent to a sample of potential users. The team was also trained, and afterwards, hardware and software were respectively installed. Once the prototype common was finished, functions and configurations were matched against the survey’s results. Finally, testing was run on the common so as to make any modifications that might have been needed. These deliverables were chosen because it was necessary to make sure that risk was averted, quality ensured, and that the end users received a service that they actually needed and would find efficient and easy to use.

Finally, there were no real difficulties while developing the project, since all resources and material information were readily available. However, it is important to point out that throughout the project’s development, it was possible to learn more about the importance of teamwork and organized management planning. Also, it is important to note that the project’s baseline was in fact achieved. It is possible not only to draft a formal project plan, but also to implement the required software (and hardware) in the development of a shared, collaborative common geospatial application for the UK. Fortunately, there were no time delays throughout the project. All deliverables were completed within their assigned time frames. All in all, it was possible to learn that data centralization may potentiate the ability of sharing web services as well as facilitate the reliability and validity assessment of data sets.

Custom IT Project Management Portfolio Essay

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