mardi 21 mars 2006

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Protocol for project definition and tracking

Draft by AMR & DH

1. Introduction

This document is focused on formalising all the processes involved in projects related to cooperation using new technologies of information and communication. The goal is to provide a basic and straighforward guide in detailing project planning, control tools and overall methodologies based on experiences gained in past similar works.

2. Objectives

The objectives of present document can be summarized as follows :

  1. Provide a robust framework for effective project deployment
  2. Reduce possible risks by using a systematic methodology
  3. Aid all parties involved in knowing their roles within the project
  4. Establish all essential documentation that should be generated during project’s life
  5. Describe main processes involved along with the basic needed information
  6. Avoid ambiguity in terminology used
  7. Fix responsability limits
  8. Ensure objective achievements
  9. Provide all needed information to ensure project viability

3. Principles

These are recommendations for effective project completion :

  1. Make all participants get fully involved with the project (motivation)
  2. Apply systematic methodologies for problem solving
  3. Define phases and activities very clearly
  4. Establish and follow rules for development and documentation
  5. Justify every piece relevance for the project (and relate them to project objectives)
  6. DO project revision
  7. "Divide and conquer" : avoid too complex tasks or definitions to allow clear micro-objectives (according to people capabilities)
  8. Design flexible systems that can evolve with time (Identify future needs and study how they can be forseen by the project)
  9. Define alternatives for critical milestones

4. Methodology

This chapter aims to be a "pattern" for project definition. Next, we describe each point to be detailed.

4.1 Project main objectives

The most important information is to know "where" we want to move, the direction that should be kept along the whole process and the "rationale" of the project itself. Clear definition of main objectives must be done at the very first stage, and them must be retained in mind during the rest of the project definition.

Here, a numbered list of objectives must be written, avoiding too long descriptions and keeping the text clear. If an objective is too complex, then it should be splitted into several ones.

Usually, there are three main objectives :

  1. Technology transfer
  2. Knowledge sharing
  3. Technical support group setup

4.3 Project scope

The scope of the project defines the exact framework where the project will be deployed, specifying the limits of it. Here, the following information must be detailed :

  1. Place
  2. Main dates
  3. Overview of participants (not very in depth)
  4. Project LIMITS (what is not EXPLICITLY included in the project)

4.4 Project participants

Organizations involved are detailed with responsibles (names) at each level, giving a detailed description of the role assumed by each participant with contact details.

4.5 Available resources

Detail each resource available and needed by the project :

  1. Human resources (people, capabilities, contact details, institution)
  2. Equipment
  3. Software :
    • Package + version
    • Way of shifting :
      • CD or
      • Source repository or
      • Remote address (URL) or
      • Installed images
  4. Spaces : classrooms, meeting rooms, conference halls... specifying :
    • location,
    • contact person,
    • number of places
  5. Lodgement
  6. Others : cars, office material, etc.

Any additional constraint (e.g. availability) must be also specified.

4.6 Expected documentation

  1. Concept paper : project definition
  2. Formal agreements between parts, specifying project scope and responsabilities
  3. Tracking papers :
    • Course attendance of participants
    • Report on level of training reached (possible evaluation ?)
    • Questionary to collect suggestions for improvements in the training course
  4. Participation certificates : for course students and collaborators, signed by targeted government and project coordinator
  5. Inventory of equipment :
    • Global inventory : all machines along with responsible for maintenance
    • Detailed device features : for every equipment (server, client, printer, switch...)
    • Detailed local network configuration : for maintenance purposes (architecture, equipment involved, administration responsible, owner, etc.). It has to point also to a diary of operations in the maintenance of the network by its administrator

4.7 Main phases

Phases can be classified within following main categories :

  • Project definition (elaboration of concept paper)
  • Plan proposals
  • Misions
  • Revisions

For each phase, we have to specify :

  1. Description
  2. Roles
  3. Duration
  4. Milestones
  5. Subtasks (and the same information for each subtask)

4.8 Control tasks

- Objectives (variables to be controlled)
- Reports

4.9 Project planification

- Task + milestones + resources involved

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