Project Management

Identify the main information management considerations for the project Connect Up.

Connect Up project

A large state government department sought the design and establishment of:
1.An intranet facility within and across the department to enable internal communication and reporting.
2.A secure online facility to enable communications with other departments.
3.A portal to enable access to specified areas of department functions/ information.
4.A reporting system that would enable costing to be calculated on a user pays basis for external users. This part of the system includes an extensive database of contracted organisations, including their funding arrangements with the department.

The head of the department approached Aject International to provide a submission that would include a business case for development and implementation of such a system.

Profile of the client

The government department had a newly elected Minister who was required to sign off on the proposal and on the finished product and required periodic reporting. The Minister was under intense pressure at the time to reduce the budget deficit and to report increased efficiencies. This invariably brought resistance and opposition from those who were fearful of losing their jobs.

Project higher authorities

The department was divided into three main areas with a senior executive at the head of each. The proposal had the strong support of two of the three executives. The third believed the work should be undertaken internally to protect the jobs of the existing staff in the information technology service area.

The sponsor

The sponsor for the project was a senior staff member from the section of the department managed by the dissenting senior executive.

Quality measures

Success of the project was dependent on winning over the support of departmental staff who wanted to see that it improved existing arrangements, as well as other end users of the system external to the department. They also needed to be consulted about the specifications for the new system.

Time frame

The project ran for 12 months and included the design, development and implementation of equipment and infrastructure, trialling and training of all users (no further training was to be delivered once the project was completed). The time frame was very tight and a key issue was seeking and incorporating feedback from end users at a time at which they were unfamiliar with the product.

Project scope

Since no one internally seemed to have the capacity to understand or scope the requirements for the system, specifications were left fairly open, relying on Aject to provide what it believed to be the best-fit solution to the problem: to increase efficiency across the organisation.

The project team

Aject International agreed to pull together a consortium which included three other companies as subcontractors: AJC, SPS (Software Performance Systems) and Orbit.
1.Aject provided the project manager and three of its 20 staff assisted in project administration.
2.AJC specialised in designing system architecture and troubleshooting. It had just picked up several large contracts in Asia and was experiencing a substantial demand on its resources so needed to recruit additional staff to provide the technical expertise to the project.
3.SPS was a small but vibrant company which undertook all the communication and consultation activities with stakeholders and the end users of the system throughout the project and provided training to them in the latter stages of the project.
4.Orbit specialised in data management systems and designed, installed and piloted software modifications (it used off the shelf software). It was also responsible for procuring all required hardware and software.

Project communications

Managing project communications across the team was carefully considered since team members were located in different states and each one had substantial existing business commitments. Throughout the project team members struggled with implementing the communication processes agreed in the original communications plan. Despite this the project was able to come in on time, but did require some minor modifications to the scope of the final product to accommodate changes in technology between the beginning and end of the project.

(1,000–2,500 words)

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