Project Management Teams – final assignment

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Classes for NYU SCPS are coming closer to a close which means the final assignments are coming together.

Applying the skills learned in team management we are broken into groups of class member who once again have not previously worked together before. Each project team will then have members assume roles (ie: Project Manger, Team Member, Subject Matter Expert, Documentation Specialist, Analyst, etc.) in order to make a decision regarding a unique case study presented to the team. The only deliverable is a presentation documenting what our decision regarding our case study project is (ie: approve the project as is, modify one or more of the quadruple constraints, recommend killing the project) in the initiation phase.

My interpretation of the assignment was that we are acting as a Project Team potentially consisting of members of Pentium Consulting and its client, Fun-for-All to determine if we would move forward with the Online Shopping System project. According to the case study, the system was already contracted for and at this stage a preliminary project team consisting of members of both Pentium And Fun-for-All were reviewing the quadruple constraint. In the role of Subject Matter Expert, I assumed I probably was from the Pentium Consulting part of the project group as someone who had knowledge of building such systems in the past.

Our initiating group meeting consisted of:

1. introductions of our backgrounds
2. our understanding of the case study in cursory detail
3. our expectation of what the assignment deliverable was

From there we:

1. a cursory determination of our individual perceived strengths and weaknesses regarding the case material and assigned roles
2. participation expectations, assignment of roles, and escalation plan (what alarms to sound when)
3. a communications plan (we decided primarily to use email, instant messenger as necessary, phone for emergencies and in class as available for in person meeting)
4. an decision making plan (consensus through discussion, majority voting for disagreements, authoritative for other – PM for team related, SME for project related)
5. the documentation methodology (how to submit and edit, etc.)
6. established basic milestones between now and the assignment deadline

We then discussed the following:

1. deliverable from each individual for the next milestone
2. the specifics of the next meeting time to go over the milestone
3. a draft agenda of the meeting since we established it would include a decision

Below are the notes I generated from the case study document from our short brainstorming session, my own experience in building similar systems, some anecdotal research the team and I conducted. Embedded in the outline is also the recommendation I generated from it.

My guess is we could pretty much come to any conclusion we want in the assignment as long as we were able to come together as a team to do it. It’s designed to test that we understand the different phases of team development, how to use the decision making and conflict resolution, etc. and less about the actual creation of the project charter information.

Key Terms Used in the Document

AE Account Executive
BE / BEE Back End / Back End Development
CMS Content Management System
DB/ DBE Database / Database Expert
Dev Developer or Development
EUE End User Experience
FE / FED Front End / Front End Development
FfA Fun-for-All Company
FTP  File Transfer Protocol
GUI Graphical User Interface
IA Information Architect
OPS Online Payments System
OSS Online Shopping System
PC Pentium Consulting
PM Project Manager
PSIS Procured Systems Integration Specialist
QA / QAT Quality Assurance / Quality Assurance Testing (PC performs)
SAM Systems Administration Manager (Server Admin)
SSL Secure Socket Layer (security feature)
UAT  User Acceptance Testing (FfA performs)
UX User Experience Expert


Quadrupal Constraint

The Team Two Phase Review of the PC contract with FfA includes the following information

  • Duration of Project: 4 June through 31 Dec of a given year
  • Scope of OSS:
    • Display WebSite
    • Customer DB
    • OPS
    • Sever & Hosting
    • Documentation
    • Training
    • Budget: Unknown
      • For my analysis, I assumed “cost is not an issue” since the contract is signed that was probably pre-established within the contract
      • When appropriate, I noted reasonable cost questions but didn’t put a focus due to lack of information in the case study to make further determinations
      • Quality: Unknown
        • For my analysis, I assumed that PC would provide an industry acceptable level of Quality
        • When appropriate, I noted reasonable trade-off possibilities for Quality to Cost or Time but again didn’t put an additional emphasis on it due to lack of information in the case study


PC should retain the FfA contract for OSS and go ahead with the project as determined in the case study.

  1. It is reasonable to expect that PC could complete the task
    1. Proposed timeline could reasonably be met for 31 Dec production release  (see below)
    2. Scope could reasonably be met based on initial estimates
    3. Case study doesn’t emphasize budget, assuming the contract covers the budget there are ways to adjust to it built into the analysis
    4. Quality is imperative for PC to provide to continue its 20 year consulting business alive.
    5. Appears to not pose an serious risk when addressing the Outstanding Client Questions
    6. Can produce incremental profit for PC
      1. Longer term server & hosting
      2. Maintenance and optimization of the OSS in the future
      3. Creates a stronger relationship with it’s subcontractors making better future price negociation
      4. Provides potential for further assuring quality
      5. Mitigates scope or timeline creep by guaranteeing features as part of ongoing optimization
      6. Can produce economies for FfA by taking on additional contracts with PC
        1. Shifts OSS maintenance and optimization responsibilities to technical professionals to ensure System delivers on Sales goal in first year
        2. Allows for scope and time creep problems to be avoided by flexibly moving non-essential features to maintenance side of extended contract .
        3. Reduced costs in hosting and server through packaging discounts
        4. Avoids handoff confusion

Outstanding Client Questions

Initial Scope leaves several questions unanswered which may affect human resource and technology decisions.

Where an assumption for the act of estimation is concerned a note is made:

  • Will the site maintenance be handed off in full to FfA or will there be an ongoing contract?
    • Ongoing contract allows for Iterative Dev, OSS optimization and more flexibility in the Design and Dev – generates PC incremental revenues – provides greater technology flexibility – provides less flexibility on human resources – reduces FfA upfront cost
    • Who is procuring and maintaining the OPS – PC or FfA?
      • The assumption is OPS is a specialized service of a separate contract and not an service like CMS, hosting servers, etc. offered by PC but PC has preferred vendors and experience in integration
      • PC will oversee procurement to ensure product capability, provide seamless integration and technical BE support. FfA will manage the business relationship with OPS and be responsible for ongoing costs.
      • Who is procuring and maintaining the server – PC or FfA?
        • PC has a stack of internal and cloud based servers and server contracts it can subcontract to clients wishing to engage PC for hosting in addition to development.
        • FfA will sublease server space from PC existing server contract in an ongoing basis.  Ensure a stable development environment and Seamless rollout to production – reduces FfA upfront costs – generates PC incremental revenues  – provides less flexibility on human resources
        • Who is procuring and maintaining the CMS, DB, etc.  – PC or FfA?
          • PC builds on either existing homegrown code that it licenses to clients or uses open source solutions which it optimizes as solutions for clients depending on the job.
          • FfA having no existing infrastructure will use PC code base and purchase the underlying code base as well as an ongoing maintenance contract to facilitate optimization for a time post-production launch.

Additional Client concerns

  • How knowledgeable is the FfA?  Do they have an understanding of what different technology solutions can and cannot accomplish?  Do they have reasonable expectations of costs, time and human capital?
    • Probably not very savvy if this is their first project but the scope appears to be within a reasonable expectation at face value.
    • How flexible are FfA with consulting?  Will they be willing to make tradeoffs in the finer requirements documentation to meet budget and time requirements?  How exact will deliverables how to be and how many revisions will be required in initial design, alpha and beta stages to meet expectation?  How complex is the change management and approvals process?
      • Unknown but since this appears to be their first project we should expect some pushback in order to meet expectation and produce estimates with this in mind compared to more seasoned clients.
      • How communicative are FfA?  How much will they produce in requirement detail?  How much feedback will they provide in revision requests?  How layered is their communication schema and approvals process?  How well can they meet testing and approval deadlines in the roadmap?
        • Unknown and it isn’t easy to derive what to expect from the existing information.  Assumption would be assume the average, be prepared for the worst case scenario.
        • What is the EUE Plan ?
          • EUE can be an additional cost and can potentially change the schedule, however it assures both PC quality meets FfA and that FfA end product produces the consumer sales increases expected.
          • A minimal level of EUE should be undertaken using existing PC experience with it which will be built into the timeline but which removal would probably not truncate time to market.
          • How much of the content materials will be provided?
            • We will assume that FfA have their own team of copywriters, graphic designers, etc. that will provide finished copy, photography and related images, for the site content and we will just be providing a CMS rather than us furnishing marketing materials on top of technical support.

Human Resources Requirements

Based on initial Scope requirement: Minimum of 10; maximum estimate of 18 PC employees involved OSS project to be on time and within budget while producing PC-level quality.

Dependencies in staffing will include:

  • Final requirements document (complexity of request details when scope points are fleshed out)
  • Revisions, scope change requests, etc.
  • Actual budget available and disbursement thereof to HR
  • Production schedule (overlaps vacations, holidays, etc.)
  • Possibility of ongoing maintenance concerns
  • Available of non-dedicated and “if necessary” (tagged with “*”) staff
  • Mitigation padding
    • Redesigns & optimizations
    • Technical problems (ie OPS integration with contracted third-party)
    • UAT and QA identified issues

Requested resources:

AE Client specialist, primary liaison between PC & FfA, Facilitate communications (Requirements Communications, UAT, approvals, etc.), Assist in FfA product training dedicated for projectmay be needed post-project
PM Leads the PC team, acts as liaison between AE/FfA staff and PC Dev unit, daily planning and execution, deadline mgt. etc dedicated for project
Training Manager * Lead FfA training & support, assist AE if necessary
only for product handoff
Lead UX User Experience Expert oversees all Design & acts as Front End Development Lead, oversees FE designers & developers dedicated for projectmay be needed post-project
FE Designer * UX design, wireframes, GUI Mockups, Image Creation, etc. if necessary
only for design stage
FED(s *) HTML5, CSS3, Java,  etc. capable  developer(s), Infrastructure facilitation working with BEE, assist in CMS integration one dedicated
multiple if and as necessary
Lead IA Database logic and structure, CMS integration and Infrastructure lead, oversees DBE and BEE, assist in OPS integration dedicated for projectmay be needed post-project
DBE * mySQL (or related) Database Engineer if n necessary
only during engineering
BEE(s *) Back End Engineers: Assist PIS, IA, SAM in infrastructure facilitation working with FED and systems integrations one dedicated
multiple if and as necessary
PSIS Payment Specialist: assist in procurement, integrates external OPS to site infrastructure with BEE and SAM for SSL dedicated for projectmay be needed post-project
SAM Server Administrator: Set up & maintain server environments, manage security & stability of infrastructure environments, supports PSIS, BEE and FED dedicated for projectmay be needed post-project
QA Lead Quality Assurance Testing Manager outside of development team dedicated but only for second half of project
QA Support * Support analysts for QA lead to facilitate testing if necessary
only during final testing
Technical Writer Creates Documentation for FfA: training manuals, handover specs, etc. dedicated but only for second half of project


Basic Assumed Technical Resources

Server Space Requirements – would be either outsourced by or leased through PC by FfA.  PC would be responsible for providing a budget savvy solution for:

  • Local storage (for documentation and FTP access)
  • Website Staging Environment for development and testing
  • Website Production Environment with fall-back redundancies and partitioned with multiple layers
    • Standard external use
    • SSL for User Log In, OPS integration, etc
    • Firewalled for internal-only access
    • FfA terminal integration Server (could be PC or FfA cost)

Program Requirements:

  • Documentation Management Systems (with change tracking) probably all supplied by PC as part of consulting package:
    • Code Repository
    • Image Libraries
    • Technical Specifications Library
    • Project Communications and Client Documents Library
    • Approvals & Deliverables Repository
    • Project Management System supplied by PC as part of consulting package
    • OSS components (built or modified by PC as part of consulting package)
      • Remote Access Credentials Management System
      • mySQL DB and BEE resources
      • CMS
      • FE Design & Dev technical resources all supplied by PC as part of consulting package
      • OPS required integrations requirements – as procured by PC for FfA
      • Communications Management System(s) (with change tracking) as agreed upon by both PC & FfA.  Special systems are probably out of scope costs for FfA to bear.
        • Communication tools
        • Documentation tools

Other needs

  • User terminals – out of scope cost FfA would need to supply their own employee terminals to be tied into the server configurations for order fulfillment, Customer Relationship Management, Customer Support, etc. related to the OSS
  • Local Network – Out of scope cost FfA probably needs to supply its own server and support for it’s terminal network, PC only supplies the tie in and training for the local IT.

Proposed Timeline

Within the existing scope, it could be feasible to create core bocks of tasks, release milestones and approval processes into the following:


Date Range

Task Owner



Client Requirements Gathering & Documentation AE + FfA


Clarification Refinement & Requirements Final Documentation and Approval Process AE, PM, IA, UX, QA & PSIS + FfA
OPS procurement PSIS + FfA
Server config general setup SAM



DB schema & BE infrastructure framing IA, DBE, BEE
Flowchart, Wireframe, GUI and UX image mock ups UX, FE Design
OPS onboarding PSIS, SAM, IA + FfA
Server setup revisions, SSL integration SAM, BEE, PSIS


FE & BE draft deliverables


Draft Clarification, Revision, Refinement & Approval Process AE, PM + FfA
EUE-1 Testing AE + FfA
OPS requirements revisions PSIS



Engineering Alpha Tasks & Testing IA, DBE, BEE
Development Alpha Tasks & Testing UX, FE Design, FED
OPS Alpha Integration Tasks & Testing PSIS


Alpha Release


EUE-2 Testing AE + FfA
Results clarification & refinement approvals AE, PM + FfA
Ongoing Alpha development PC


Engineering Alpha-2Tasks & Testing IA, BEE
Development Alpha-2 Tasks & Testing UX, FED
FfA terminal server Config SAM, BEE
OPS Configuration Revisions PSIS, BEE


Alpha Re-Release


UAT-2 AE + FfA
Results clarification & refinement approvals AE, PM + FfA
Ongoing development Alpha-to-Beta PC


Engineering Alpha-to-Beta Tasks & Testing IA, BEE
Development Alpha-to-Beta Tasks & Testing UX, FED
OPS Stress Test PSIS, QA



Beta OSS Release

11/1 – 11/15

EUE-3 Testing AE + FfA
Results clarification & refinement approvals AE, PM + FfA
Ongoing development Beta-to-Production PC
User Documentation Drafting Tech Writer


Engineering Beta-to-Production Tasks & Testing IA, BEE
Development Beta-to-Production Tasks & Testing UX, FED
OPS-to-Production Tasks PSIS, BEE
FfA terminal server congif on Production SAM
Staging-to-Production migration IA, UX, PSIS, SAM
User Documentation Editing Tech Writer



In-Production OSS Private Release
User Documentation Delivery


Results clarification & refinement approvals AE, PM + FfA
Ongoing debugging and optimization PC
Documentation Revisions AE, Tech Writer


Training AE, Training Mgr + FfA
Ongoing debugging and optimization PC


OSS Live in Production
FfA terminals synced for Production use


The next step in the project now is for my fellow team members to review my notes and determine on their own if they agree with my recommendation. They will include in their response their own research and assumptions and any concerns they might have. We will meet during the week, compare our notes, debate some of the open issues and come to a consensus on how to proceed. At that point we will re-assign tasks and work on our individual parts of the presentation according to our initial milestone estimates.


About thedoormouse

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One Response to Project Management Teams – final assignment

  1. Pingback: Project Management Teams – project revisions | doormouse's declarations & personal musings

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