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Project Classification

"Project classification is a particularly powerful technique for forecasting the problems a project is likely to encounter. Certain project attributes result in a predisposition toward specific problems. By organizing the attributes into a couple of cagtegories that can define projects, you can begin to shorten the list of potential problems into the most likely causes, and then focus your attention on getting the most pertinent details."
"the cost of dealing (measured in time, costs, people, or some combination of these) with any of these attributes increases with their absolute value. Uncertainty also goes up the further out you go. As shown in the graph below, this is one reason why 'mega' type projects, which have a high value in most of these attributes, require extensive project management or they are likely to fail."
"Being in the top quadrant is not a bad thing. A long project duration is not a bad thing either. Both situations just require special handling. The following list describes some of the commonly used dimensions, which are then explained in more detail in the sections that follow. Most of these do not have simple 'yes' or 'no' answers and, in fact, will fall somewhere in a continuum, requiring the rescue manager to gauge just how extensive the impact will truly be."
  • Project duration  The length of the project initiative expressed in some units of time. This refers to the elapsed time from start to finish. This can be confused with project work effort, which is a measure of the actual time devoted to the project, and may be shorter than the elapsed time. The project work estimate can be expressed as the total estimated hours of labor  budgeted for the project.
  • Cost/budget  As discussed previously, this is a combination of human resources, infrastructure, environment, tools, and software costs. Human resources are usually a large or the largest component in this equation. The cost of human resources can be calculated as estimated labor in hours multiplied by the dollar cost per hour. The sum of the labor budget plus material costs is the project budget at completion (BAC). The BAC is the sum of all budgets allocated to a project and is synonymous with the term Performance Measurement Baseline (PMB).
  • Complexity  Refers to the level of difficulty of the project expressed in terms of the business users, technology requirements, and processes.
  • Degree of clarity and depth  Refers to the unambiguous interpretation of the project objectives, and whether additional work or assumptions need to be made to let the technical team do its work.
  • Implementation required  Refers to whether a project initiative requires a solution to be implemented into a production environment.
  • Degree of unproven technology  Refers to previous successful implementations of the technology architecture being used on the project. Integrating different technology components is always an intense effort.
  • Type of industry  The precision and complexity of the business requirements can vary by industry. This is also true of the amount of testing that is required and the willingness to be flexible in the types of variances that are acceptable to the executive sponsors.
  • Degree of business impact  Refers to the magnitude of changes that the solution will pose for the business conducted by the organization.
  • Degree of user involvement  Refers to gthe level of involvement in defining the requirements of the application by the people who are going to be using it.
  • Type of client  Refers to the level of maturity of the client in terms of understanding their own requirements and project management processes.
  • User training requirements  The level of new information, skills, and tools the business users require to do their jobs at the completion of the project.
  • Previous experience  Whether the people involved in the project have prior experience on similar types of projects.
  • Resource sharing  This refers to whether resources from the project will be shared between other groups in the organization.
  • Team personalities  Describes the collective personalities of the project team, as a combination or rollup of the individual ones.
"The following subsections examine what the different values for these project attributes mean. By classifying a project into each of these attributes, a project rescue manager can pull together a new project strategy."
The above is an excerpt from a book written by Sanjiv Purba and Joseph Zucchero, published by McGraw-Hill/Osborne, 2100 Powell Street, 10th Floor, Emeryville, California 94608 U.S.A. Sanjiv has over 20 years of experience managing large projects and many years engaged in rescuing ailing projects.