All activities pertaining to the project are documented in the Project Plan and progress against the plans is monitored and reviewed continuously. Wherever necessary, it is shared with the client also.
Effective project communication is dependent on technologies used for project communication, protocols setup for communication between clients and project teams, and how action items based on various meetings are followed through. These are documented and shared with client stakeholders and project teams at Ideation to ensure consistency in communication. A compiled list of contact details of project teams and management for business and non-business hours is shared with clients.
Project-specific project management sites help Project Managers share project plans, documents, status reports, standards, and guidelines with clients using tools such as Microsoft Project Central Server / Team Foundation Server. The project sites are set up in the Project Initiation phase and used through Project Execution.
In some projects, clients provide project team access to their Issue Management system to track issues raised or review comments. Minutes of calls and meetings with clients are tracked and Customer Requirement documents are version-controlled on a Configuration server or a client's proprietary configuration-system. Also, Ideation has setup for automatic Build Control using Cruise-Control like technologies and a project dashboard to provide an online access to all project related stuff.
The structure of the Project Team and their Roles & Responsibilities are also defined in the PMP. Typically the organization structure of the project will have the following roles:
- Project Manager
- Project Architect / Designer
- Onsite Coordinator
- QA Facilitator
- Configuration Controller
- Team Leader
- Team Member
- Technical Writer
Depending on the project size, some of these roles may be either combined or sub-divided. The Project Manager should designate a deputy, who might be the Configuration Controller, the Quality Controller, a Project Leader or any other senior member of the project team. Figure below shows a generic project team structure.
Ideation uses a number of version control repositories, depending upon client requirements. All artifacts of development, code, documentation, test artifacts, installer scripts are always mandated to be in version control. We have experience in SVN (Subversion), CVS, Clear Case and VSS on different projects/platforms.
An elaborate Configuration Management Plan (CMP) is prepared on a standard template right in the beginning of the project. This CMP defines the tool to be used, the access rights and Check-in and Check-out rights, roles & responsibilities of the Configuration controller and Configuration Librarian, structure of the library, etc.
The QA group reviews and ensures that it has adequate controls defined to secure the code, before the Configuration Management Plan is approved. Compliance to the Configuration Management Plan is verified by the QA team during periodic audit of the projects. Specific Configuration audits are also conducted, wherever required.
The Project Manager continuously monitors the progress of various activities in the project against the plans. A weekly status review is also done with the project team. An objective analysis of data collected in the project during the week is also conducted and suitable 'Corrective and Preventive Actions' are initiated in order to achieve the project goals. A comprehensive status report is prepared that includes progress against plans, metrics performance, risks and issues and submitted to the Management.
Weekly status reports are sent to the client on progress of the transition, highlighting accomplished tasks, issues requiring client's action and plans for the subsequent week. Wherever required, the status report is also prepared and shared as per the client's template at mutually agreed internals.
Risks are identified at the start of the project and ways to mitigate the risks are worked out. These details are captured in the Risk Management Plan. These risks are reviewed periodically and their status updated in the revised Risk Management Plan. Any new risk identified is also documented along with its mitigation.
One of the Risk Mitigation policies used by Ideation to tackle the serious problem of attrition is to use shadow resources for every project. These resources are investments and not billed to clients. Shadow resources help in the ramping-up process as and when required or replace the resources due to unforeseen risks such as illness or a personal commitment.
Risks in projects are discussed in Monthly Review meetings, and shared with all Project Managers. The proactive approach helps Project Managers mitigate risks early in a project life cycle. Project Managers also discuss risks with clients proactively during project reviews. In addition, the issues are also logged in the Issue Log and discussed with the client for resolution
Ideation believes that pro-active involvement to identify problems and find effective solutions is a critical component of efficient project control and management. The entire project related issues or problems should be documented, monitored and resolved in a consistent and timely manner. However, as a last resort, when an issue remains unresolved it must be escalated to senior management.
Our approach is that any issue must be dealt with at the lowest possible level. All unresolved issues are raised during project reviews and reported in the project status report along with the following:
- Actions needed to resolve / by whom
- Impacts on the deadlines
- Modified time frames / completion dates, if needed
- Snow balling effect on other items or activities (both positive and negative)