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Practical Project Initiation: A Handbook with Tools

Book Description

Zero in on key project-initiation tasks—and build a solid foundation for successful software development. In this concise guide, critically-acclaimed author Karl E. Wiegers fills a void in project management literature by focusing on the activities that are essential—but often overlooked—for launching any project. Drawing on his extensive experience, Karl shares lessons learned, proven practices, and tools for getting your project off to the right start—and steering it to ultimate success.



Lay a foundation for project success—discover how to:

  • Effectively charter a project

  • Define meaningful criteria for project success and product releases

  • Negotiate achievable commitments for project teams and stakeholders

  • Identify and document potential barriers to success—and manage project risks

  • Apply the Wideband Delphi method for more accurate estimation

  • Measure project performance and avoid common metrics traps

  • Systematically apply lessons learned to future projects

    Companion Web site includes:

  • Worksheets from inside the book

  • Project document templates

  • Resources for project initiation and process improvement

  • Table of Contents

    1. Practical Project Initiation: A Handbook with Tools
      1. SPECIAL OFFER: Upgrade this ebook with O’Reilly
      2. Praise for Practical Project Initiation: A Handbook with Tools
      3. Preface
        1. Acknowledgments
      4. I. Project Management Fundamentals
        1. 1. A Project Management Primer
          1. Set Your Priorities
          2. Analyze Your Skills Gaps
          3. Define "Quality"
          4. Recognize Progress
          5. Learn from the Past
          6. Set Improvement Goals
          7. Start Slowly
          8. Practice Activities
        2. 2. Project Management Good Practices
          1. Laying the Foundation
            1. Practice #1: Define Project Success Criteria
            2. Practice #2: Identify Project Drivers, Constraints, and Degrees of Freedom
            3. Practice #3: Define Product Release Criteria
            4. Practice #4: Negotiate Achievable Commitments
          2. Planning the Project
            1. Practice #5: Write a Plan
            2. Practice #6: Decompose Tasks to Inch-Pebble Granularity
            3. Practice #7: Develop Planning Worksheets for Common Large Tasks
            4. Practice #8: Plan to Do Rework After a Quality Control Activity
            5. Practice #9: Manage Project Risks
            6. Practice #10: Plan Time for Process Improvement
            7. Practice #11: Respect the Learning Curve
          3. Estimating the Work
            1. Practice #12: Estimate Based on Effort, not Calendar Time
            2. Practice #13: Don’t Over-Schedule Multitasking People
            3. Practice #14: Build Training Time into the Schedule
            4. Practice #15: Record Estimates and How You Derived Them
            5. Practice #16: Use Estimation Tools
            6. Practice #17: Plan Contingency Buffers
          4. Tracking Your Progress
            1. Practice #18: Record Actuals and Estimates
            2. Practice #19: Count Tasks as Complete Only When They’re 100 Percent Complete
            3. Practice #20: Track Project Status Openly and Honestly
          5. Learning for the Future
            1. Practice #21: Conduct Project Retrospectives
          6. Practice Activities
        3. 3. Just Too Much to Do
          1. Background
          2. Constructing the Model
          3. Using the Model
          4. Practice Activities
      5. II. Preparing for Success
        1. 4. Success Criteria Breed Success
          1. Step 1: Define Business Objectives
          2. Step 2: Identify Stakeholders and Their Interests
          3. Step 3: Identify Project Constraints
          4. Step 4: Derive Project Success Criteria
          5. Practice Activities
        2. 5. Are We There Yet?
          1. How Do You Know When You’re Done?
          2. Possible Release Criteria
            1. Defects
            2. Testing
            3. Quality Attributes
            4. Functionality
            5. Configuration Management
            6. Support
          3. Precise Release Criteria with Planguage
          4. Marketplace Expectations
          5. Making the Call
          6. Practice Activities
        3. 6. Know Your Enemy: Introduction to Risk Management
          1. What Is Risk?
          2. Why Manage Risks Formally?
          3. Typical Software Risks
            1. Dependencies
            2. Requirements Issues
            3. Management Issues
            4. Lack of Knowledge
            5. Outsourcing
          4. Risk Management Components
            1. Risk Assessment
            2. Risk Avoidance
            3. Risk Control
          5. Documenting Risks
          6. Risk Tracking
          7. Risk Management Can Be Your Friend
          8. Learning from the Past
          9. Practice Activities
        4. 7. Chartering a Course for Success
          1. Why Charter?
          2. What a Charter Is Not
          3. What Goes in the Charter?
            1. Project Description
            2. Business Objectives and Success Criteria
            3. Stakeholders
            4. Vision
            5. Scope
            6. Assumptions and Dependencies
            7. Constraints
            8. Milestones
            9. Business Risks
            10. Resources
          4. Approving the Charter
          5. Using the Charter
          6. Practice Activities
        5. 8. Lessons Learned from Tool Adoption
          1. General Lessons for Tool Adoption
          2. Lessons from CASE Tool Adoption
          3. Fitting Tools into Your Culture
          4. Practice Activities
      6. III. Living with Reality
        1. 9. Negotiating Achievable Commitments
          1. Making Project Commitments
          2. Negotiating Commitments
            1. Separate the People from the Problem
            2. Focus on Interests, Not Positions
            3. Invent Options for Mutual Gain
            4. Insist on Using Objective Criteria
          3. Documenting Commitments
          4. Modifying Commitments
          5. Your Personal Commitment Ethic
          6. Practice Activities
        2. 10. Saving for a Rainy Day
          1. Selling the Skeptics
          2. Send in the Reserves
          3. How Big Is Your Buffer?
          4. Critical Chain Project Management
          5. Practice Activities
        3. 11. Stop Promising Miracles
          1. Wideband Delphi
          2. Planning
          3. Kickoff Meeting
          4. Individual Preparation
          5. Estimation Meeting
          6. Assemble Tasks
          7. Review Results
          8. Completing the Estimation
          9. Wideband Delphi Evaluated
          10. Practice Activities
      7. IV. Measuring What Happens
        1. 12. A Software Metrics Primer
          1. Why Measure Software
          2. What to Measure
          3. Creating a Measurement Culture
          4. Make It a Habit
          5. Tips for Metrics Success
            1. Start Small
            2. Explain Why
            3. Share the Data
            4. Define Data Items and Procedures
            5. Understand Trends
          6. Practice Activities
        2. 13. Metrics Traps to Avoid
          1. Trap #1: Lack of Management Commitment
            1. Symptoms
            2. Solutions
          2. Trap #2: Measuring Too Much, Too Soon
            1. Symptoms
            2. Solutions
          3. Trap #3: Measuring Too Little, Too Late
            1. Symptoms
            2. Solutions
          4. Trap #4: Measuring the Wrong Things
            1. Symptoms
            2. Solutions
          5. Trap #5: Imprecise Metrics Definitions
            1. Symptoms
            2. Solutions
          6. Trap #6: Using Metrics Data to Evaluate Individuals
            1. Symptoms
            2. Solutions
          7. Trap #7: Using Metrics to Motivate, Rather Than to Understand
            1. Symptoms
            2. Solutions
          8. Trap #8: Collecting Data That Isn’t Used
            1. Symptoms
            2. Solutions
          9. Trap #9: Lack of Communication and Training
            1. Symptoms
            2. Solutions
          10. Trap #10: Misinterpreting Metrics Data
            1. Symptoms
            2. Solutions
          11. Practice Activities
      8. V. Learning Continuously
        1. 14. Learning from Experience
          1. Best Practices
          2. Worst Practices
          3. Lessons Learned
          4. Practice Activities
        2. 15. Looking Back, Looking Ahead
          1. Retrospective Defined
          2. The Retrospective Process
            1. Planning
            2. Kickoff
            3. Information Gathering
            4. Issue Prioritization
            5. Issue Analysis
            6. Results Reporting
          3. Retrospective Success Factors
            1. Define Your Objectives
            2. Use a Skilled and Impartial Facilitator
            3. Engage the Right Participants
            4. Prepare the Participants
            5. Focus on the Facts
            6. Protect Privacy
            7. Identify the Action Plan Owner
          4. Action Planning
          5. Practice Activities
      9. References
      10. A. About the Author
      11. Index
      12. About the Author
      13. SPECIAL OFFER: Upgrade this ebook with O’Reilly