Toolkit for IT Project Management


DEVELOP phase of IT Project ManagementKeywords: Build, Alpha testing, test cases
The physical build of the solution takes place in this phase, either by in-house staff or by the winning vendor. The build should proceed exactly according to the functional specification, and any deviation from this design should be brought to the table at the change management committee. Furthermore, any risks that may impede all hamper the progress of development (for example the potential obsolescence of a legacy tool), or the running of the solution (example heavy CPU utilization causing slow performance) must be recorded in the risk register. It is then the task of the steering committee to assess the risks had to decide whether any mitigation steps may be necessary (for example, altering the design are providing better supporting infrastructure).
The develop phase of the project may further be subdivided into manageable sequential or parallel streams of delivery, for example, first the database design followed by the user interface and then the inference engine. Or, In the case of infrastructure projects, into various fixes (installation, connection, and configuration).
It is vital that in this phase, structured and thorough factory testing is conducted at every stage of the development. It is normally extremely time consuming for instance to develop a large piece of code and then spend hours and hours trying to track a single bug, than to develop small incremental pieces of code tested at each increment. This testing should be recorded in a testing log as well, since it is quite often the case that a bug tat an end user reports at the go-live stage, was at some point also experienced by a developer.
Since often this phase of the project is least transparent to the end users (development done by third parties will by “back office” staff) it is key to give end users regular updates of the progress of the development so that they are aware that the project is proceeding and do not lose focus on the importance of the complete delivery.
During this phase it is also required to complete the system test cases that will be used in the Deploy phase – a set of documents that list out all the functionalities to be tested, in the context of actual workflows. Since the end users may not have a clear idea of the exact system design and architecture, often it may help that the end user community draft a complete set of Business Scenarios (narrative or process flow), with clear system inputs and expected outputs. The Project manager will then map the acceptance criteria (as per the Design phase) against these. The test cases can then be detailed out from this set at a series of workshops where users and project management agree on the steps involved in every test case.