Project Description

By: Board of Education

This guidebook entry is a work in progress, please login with your Iasa’s credentials and give us your valuable feedback!

Description: 

Technical Project Management is the ability to take an IT initiative from a concept through to a concrete deliverable using project form. Working in project form requires that we have clear goals, a defined scope and a definite start and end. Technical Project Management is responsible for ensuring that the IT initiative meets its goals for the given scope within the given time plan and budget.

Technical Project Management differs from Administrative Project Management in that specific knowledge about technologies and development models are required to ensure success in planning, estimation and execution of the project. In order to run a project effectively we employ both project and development models (or SDLC) to provide an organization and working processes which will help the project team effectively deliver the project. These models identify key deliverables required at the end of each project phase.

Overview: 

The Architect requires Technical Project Management skills in order to realize a transition from a current architecture to a new architecture in project form. The Architect may be required to take full responsibility for a project or work in a supporting role to an Administrative Project Manager.

IT Projects are often complex in their nature and differ from projects in other industries as we work with conceptual models and requirements which are often difficult to define. The systems we build are often part of an IT eco-system and have relations with many other systems and stakeholders. To add to this the IT branch is very fast moving. Tools, standards and not least business requirements have a high rate of change. This poses a real challenge for long term projects which need to cope with these changes during the execution of the project.

The Architect will aid the success of IT projects by using skills associate with project form. These include skills in leadership, understanding the relation of Scope, Time and Resources, managing business/technical requirements, communication skills and monitoring progress.

Proven Practices:

General Project Management Standards

General principles and practices for project management also apply for technical project management. These principles and practices are widely available from well established project management organizations such as IPMA or PMI.

Project Definition

The business stakeholders often sponsor the project and it is these stakeholders who are likely to request Technical Project Management from the Architect. It is important that before a project starts that these stakeholders define the boundaries and goals of the project, this may be defined in a Project Charter.

Communication

These skills are important for the Architect to communicate with business and technical stakeholders. These skills are use to take a concept and realize (or deliver) that concept as a working solution. A good relation needs to be maintained with the stakeholders throughout the project.

Transparency

To ensure success in project form we should promote transparency between the stakeholders and the project. Issues or problems which are identified early are often resolved early.

Balance

The challenge for the Architect when working with Technical Project Management is gaining a good balance between the long term architecture goals and the constraints imposed by a project in terms of scope, resources and time.

 

Sub Component skills:

Requirements Definition and Management

Requirements definition is the outcome of requirements discovery process. It is set of qualifying and clearly represented needs that can be translated into a solution capability. The goal of requirements definition is to translate needs into well stated expected solution objectives, capabilities and behavior. Requirements once defined and agreed have to be managed over the lifecycle of the requirement and the solution implementation. Requirements definition is represented through various modes such as tools, documented artifacts and modeling notations such as use cases.

 

Iasa Certification LevelLearning Objective
CITA – Foundation– The candidate shall be able to outline the contents of a project plan
 – The candidate shall be able to identify the roles in a project organization
CITA – Associate– The candidate shall be able to describe the contents of a project plan and explain why these are important to a project
– The candidate shall be able to describe the roles in a project organization including responsibilities
 – The candidate will have practical experience with exposure to both project plans and project organization within small projects
CITA – Specialist– The candidate shall have created a project plan and project organization in practice
– The candidate shall be able to form a project plan and organization based on the project unique requirements of the project
– The candidate will have worked directly with project planning and organization in 2-3 medium size projects
CITA – Professional– The candidate will have experience of project planning and forming organizations in a complex environment
– The candidate shall be able to formulate plans and organizations according to specific project needs
– The candidate may have worked as a mentor to other technical project managers
– The candidate will have worked directly with project planning and organization in complex projects or programs

Project Model

The project model describes the form of the project. The Architect should be able to select an appropriate project models depending on the nature of the project. The Architect should be able to address key phases thought the project model such as Initiation, Planning, Execution, Control and Delivery.

Iasa Certification LevelLearning Objective
CITA- Foundation– The candidate shall be able to outline what is a project model
– The candidate shall be able to describe why a project model is important
CITA – Associate– The candidate shall be able to describe examples of project models
– The candidate shall be able to describe the different phases in a given project model
– The candidate shall have worked in practice within a project model
CITA – Specialist– The candidate shall have worked with applying simple project models in medium size projects
– The candidate has the ability to clarify a project model for other project stakeholders
CITA – Professional– The candidate shall be able to select appropriate project models for a given project
– The candidate shall be able to justify selection of the project model
– The candidate shall have experience of using project models in complex projects or programs

 

Development Model (or SDLC) (RUP, AGILE, WATERFALL, Hybrid)
Projects are different in nature depending on many external factors, such as contracts, legal issues or internal organizations. These factors many determine which Development Model is to be used during the project, for example RUP, AGILE, WATERFALL or a Hybrid. It is the responsibility of the Architect to choose a model which best suits the nature of the project

 

Scope and Work Breakdown

The scope of the project are often determined by the requirements, both functional and non-function. The Architect may be responsible for extracting the requirements and is responsible for refining the requirements to a level which is tangible, for example with use-cases. As a pre-condition to performing an estimate on the project the Architect shall be able to detail a Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) which transforms the requirements on the projects into actual activities.

Iasa Certification LevelLearning Objective
CITA- Foundation– The candidate shall be able to describe what is meant by project scope
– The candidate shall be able to identify and read a work breakdown structure
CITA – Associate– The candidate shall be able to read and describe requirements in different forms
– The candidate shall have the ability to create simple work breakdown structures
CITA – Specialist– The candidate shall have experience in identifying and stating requirements for a given project
– The candidate shall have experience in creating substantial work breakdown structures for projects
CITA – Professional– The candidate shall have experience negotiating and gathering requirements to define scope
– The candidate shall have experience creating and managing complex work breakdown structures
– The candidate shall have the ability to organize the work breakdown structure for best productivity

 

Resource Management

The Architect shall be able to assess and procure personnel for the project with the appropriate skills to carry out the project activities efficiently. It is also the responsibility of the Architect to manage these resources through the execution of the project and provide coaching as appropriate.

Iasa Certification LevelLearning Objective
CITA- Foundation– The candidate shall be able to describe techniques for evaluating resource skills
– The candidate shall be able to describe basic principles in managing project teams
CITA – Associate– The candidate shall be able to identify and allocate skills/roles required in a given project
– The candidate shall will be able to describe techniques for effectively managing project teams
CITA – Specialist– The candidate shall have experience in effectively allocating resources to a project team
– The candidate shall have experience in managing and maintaining the required skill sets and roles within a project team
– The candidate shall have experience in daily management of people within a team
CITA – Professional– The candidate shall have experience and the ability to effectively allocating resources to over many project teams and organizations
– The candidate shall have experience in managing teams with varying skills sets and roles
– The candidate shall have experience in dealing with complex situations such as allocating resources across multiple teams and conflicting resources.

 

Time Plan and Budget

Before starting any project an estimate of budget and time plan is required at a reasonably detailed level. The Architect shall be able to use various estimation methods to assessing budget and time plan and should be able to illustrate these for stakeholders in an understandable fashion, for example using tools such as Gantt Charts.

Iasa Certification LevelLearning Objective
CITA- Foundation– The candidate can read and understand a project time plan and budget
– The candidate shall be able to describe the importance of the time plan and budget
CITA – Associate– The candidate shall be able to describe the basic techniques for estimating time plans and budgets
– The candidate shall understand the basic components in a budget/time plan such as fixed costs and man hour rates.
CITA – Specialist– The candidate shall have experience in defining a time plan and budget using simple estimation techniques
– The candidate shall be aware of risk factors when making estimations
– The candidate shall have experience tracking the time plan and budget for small-medium size projects
CITA – Professional– The candidate shall have experience in defining complex time plans and budgets using a variety of estimation techniques
– The candidate shall have experience in effectively accounting for risk in estimations
– The candidate shall have experience in applying budgets and time plans to a number of projects ranging in complexity

 

Risk Management

All projects start with risks and with regards to Technical Project Management these risks can vary in nature, probability and consequence. These risks are not only of a technical scope but relate rather to the success of the project. It is the responsibility of the Architect to identify risks and categorize them according to the nature of the risk. The Architect shall also be able to grade the risks using well known models, such as a risk matrix. The Architect should also be able to propose actions to mitigate risks or lessen their impact.

 

Tracking and Reporting

Projects can run over a long period of time and both internal and external events have an effect on the project execution. It is the responsibility of the Architect to track and report project progress to the appropriate as well as explain deviations from the project plan.

Additional Resources

 

Certifications

IPMA (http://ipma.ch/) – International Project Management Association

PMI (http://www.pmi.org/) – Project Management Institute