A methodology provides a strategic-level plan for managing and controlling IT projects.
Methodology is a template for initiating, planning, and developing an information system. It is the product and not the process of managing the project that makes the information system different.
The ITPM recommends the following phases, deliverables, tools and knowledge areas for supporting an IT project.
The following are the phases in ITPM:
1. Phase 1: Conceptualize and Initialize
The first stage of ITPM involves defining the goals for the project. The project's goal aids in defining the project's scope and guides decisions throughout the project life cycle. It is also used at the end to determine the success of the project. Alternatives to meet the goal must be specified and cost and benefits, risk and feasibility of these alternatives are analysed. Based upon this analysis, one alternative is recommended and the goal and analysis is summarized in a deliverable called the business case. Senior management then takes the decision whether to fund the project or not based on the business case.
2. Phase 2: Develop the Project Charter and Detailed Project Plan
The project charter is a key deliverable in the second phase of ITPM. It defines how the project will be organized and how the project alternative that was recommended and approved for funding will be implemented. The project charter defines the project's objectives in terms of scope, schedule, budget, and quality standards and gives authority to a project manager to begin carrying out the processes and tasks associated with the systems development life cycle (SDLC). The project plan provides all the tactical details concerning who will carry out the project work and when. Sometimes the project charter and plan maybe combined with a business case but this is not recommended.
3. Phase 3: Execute and Control the Project
The third phase of ITPM focuses on carrying out the project plan to deliver the IT product and managing the project’s processes to achieve the goal. It is during this phase that the project team uses a particular approach and set of systems analysis and design tools for implementing the systems development life cycle (SDLC). The project manager must ensure that the environment and infrastructure to support the people includes items like – technical infrastructure for development, acquisition of people with proper skills, development method and tools, a proper work environment, a detailed risk plan, quality management plan, change management plan, testing plan, implementation plan etc.
4. Phase 4: Close Project
After the information system has been developed, tested, and installed, a formal acceptance should transfer control from the project team to the client or project sponsor. The project team must prepare a final project report and presentation to document and verify that all project deliverables have been completed as given in the project scope. This installs confidence in the project sponsor. The final cost of the project can be determined at this time. The project manager and team must follow a set of processes to formally close the project by doing such things as closing all project accounts, archiving all project documents and files, and releasing project resources.
5. Phase 5: Evaluate Project Success
The final phase of the methodology focuses on evaluating four areas. A. A final project review should be conducted by the project manager and the team assessing what went well and what could have been done better on the project. The lessons learnt should be documented and shared with others. Best practices are identified and institutionalized in the organization.
B. The second review is between the project manager and individual team members. Although this performance review maybe structured in terms of the organization's performance and merit review policies and procedures, it is important that each member of the team receive honest and useful feedback concerning his or her performance on the project.
C. An outside party must review the project manager and team based on – whether the project met its scope, whether the team delivered on its promises, whether the project manager and team followed due processes and other factors.
D. The project must be evaluated to see if the project provided value to the organization. In general, the value an IT project brings to the organization may not be clearly discernable immediately after the project is implemented. Therefore, it may be weeks or even months before that value is known.
Methodologies provide the team with a game plan for implementing the project and product life cycles. Additionally, a methodology provides common language between team, manager and sponsor. A good methodology should be flexible and adapt to the needs of the project organization over time.