Project Management

Project Management Services

Take the stress out of delivering your business intelligence project by making sure you’re using the right systems in the right place.

Project Methodologies – Agile or Waterfall?

‘Agile’ and ‘Scrum’ project management techniques are all the rage these days, promising to achieve faster results for projects with constantly changing business requirements, by reducing project bureaucracy, meetings and documentation. These Agile approaches work well in highly experienced project teams, where all members implicitly understand how to deal with issues and risks in an informal way. They don’t work as well with a less experienced team, where the structure of the Waterfall approach (eg PRINCE) helps to provide clear guidance on best practices at each stage of the project life cycle.

So what approach should you use for BI projects? Business requirements tend to be quite high-level at the outset, and evolve during the course of the project.

Services Project Management Waterfall

This suits an Agile approach. However, a BI project is normally a business-led initiative, and as a result the core team is more used to business-as-usual activities rather than running projects.

BI and Business Performance Management Project Management

The ideal approach to managing BI projects is to blend the best elements of both management approaches as follows:

Waterfall Approach – overall governance Agile Approach –solution design
  • Fix the roadmap at the beginning – where do we want to end up?
  • Agree a Project Charter with clearly defined roles and responsibilities
  • Establish a regular, formal, report to the Steering Committee
  • Media articles
  • Use prototyping and multiple feedback cycles to let the solution design evolve
  • Timebox each iteration cycle, rather than agreeing an exact scope upfront
  • Conduct daily scrum meetings to assess how the design has evolved
  • 80% is good enough – know when to stop iterating, and start using, the solution
Waterfall Approach – overall governance
  • Fix the roadmap at the beginning – where do we want to end up?
  • Agree a Project Charter with clearly defined roles and responsibilities
  • Establish a regular, formal, report to the Steering Committee
  • Media articles
Agile Approach –solution design
  • Use prototyping and multiple feedback cycles to let the solution design evolve
  • Timebox each iteration cycle, rather than agreeing an exact scope upfront
  • Conduct daily scrum meetings to assess how the design has evolved
  • 80% is good enough – know when to stop iterating, and start using, the solution

The Practical Solution Framework (PSF) from Cornerstone

Delivering a business performance management or Business Intelligence solution in a large organisation involves many complimentary disciplines, including finance/accounting, technical architecture, software implementation, project management and communications.

Cornerstone has developed the Practical Solution Framework (PSF) for business performance management implementations, designed to provide:

  • A structured methodology to map your current processes, identify challenges & key business requirements
  • Recommendations to help you structure your delivery program effectively
  • Engagement for all stakeholders in the early stages of the project life cycle
  • A targeted and rapid deployment roadmap

The outcome of the PSF is to create a comprehensive solution program that shows defined links between the following:

  • Your Key Business Requirements
  • Your Data & Technology Challenges
  • Recommendations of Approach
  • Overall Performance Management Strategy

The PSF divides the performance management project into six defined stages, namely:

Project Stage Description Deliverables
Prepare Establishing the project charter and initial fact-finding Project Charter
Analyse A deeper dive into key areas, such as current processes and source systems Current State Analysis Document
Design High-level process and model design, and a roadmap for delivery High-Level Design Document
Build Build and testing of technical components, detailed ‘to-be’ process mapping Process & System Specifications
Deploy System and Acceptance testing, change management and training Operations & Training Manuals
Operate Post-implementation review, partnering for long-term success Post-Implementation Review, Ongoing ‘Health-Check’ Reports

The PSF also identifies five Work Streams as follows:

Work Stream Description Ideal Contacts
Communications & People Management Project & Stakeholder Management Project Sponsor
Scoping & Functionality Process & Model Design Finance & Business Managers, Business Analysts
Hardware & Infrastructure Technology Gap Analysis IT Management
Source Systems & Data Systems Architecture Design Finance Systems Owners
User Adoption Training Needs Analysis, Practical Rollout Planning Finance & Business Managers

Where do I start?

If this sounds like a project approach that appeals to you, you may be interested in some of our ‘self-help’ guides. These are particularly aimed at Finance professionals and accountants who are contemplating their first major technology project: