Home > Articles > Software Development & Management

  • Print
  • + Share This
Like this article? We recommend

Charting the Approach

Now that you know what you need to do, it's time to get started.

Restate the Problem Set

Given the importance of the problem statement, which serves as the "anchor point" of the entire project, it's necessary for the team not only to understand it but to be able to restate it in terms that don't easily allow for multiple interpretations. This is necessary for two main reasons:

  • It's crucial that the members of the team share a common understanding of the problem they're trying to address. Restating the problem provides a vehicle through which common understanding can be accomplished. It forces team leveling through interactive discussion of each member's view of the problem.

  • Restating the problem provides a detailed view in simple, straightforward terms, allowing for easy communication and little room for misunderstanding.

Let's review the earlier problem statement:

The current infrastructure supporting our globally distributed environment is experiencing trends of sagging service levels and rapidly increasing costs, both resulting in customer satisfaction woes.

Restated, the problem set may look like this:

  • Support personnel turnover is at 100%

  • Server uptime is at 82%, 17% below agreed-to level of service

  • Network up-time is at 90%, 9% below agreed-to level of service

  • Portfolio of services are limited and undocumented

  • Service delivery is inconsistent

  • Response to new or changing requirements is not timely

  • Workstation costs have increased 28% over the last three years

  • Labor costs have increased 20% over the last two years

  • Customer satisfaction surveys reflect a 68% satisfaction level, down 21% over the past three years

You can see that there is little room for interpretation as to what the "problems" are and where to focus.

Define the Scope

As with the problem statement, it's necessary to be clear about what's in and out of scope; therefore, using the scope and the boundaries defined in the job ticket as the guide, it's necessary to provide a very descriptive scope list. When defining the scope, keep in mind any necessary time-dependent requirements. For example, a third-party contract may expire within a year, or you might have a project that will be implemented in 18 months; therefore, you need to prioritize related requirements accordingly.

Depending on these types of time-related dependencies, along with depth and breadth of the job ticket, it may be necessary to phase your deliverables. This is where management's expectations are determined, so you make sure that your scope is not so broad that it's unachievable. Conversely, avoid making it so narrow that you don't derive value from what you deliver. Remember, the whole reason for your team's existence is to deliver results, so keep the scope manageable.

Define Your Work Process - Review and Feedback Loop

When we refer to work process, we're really discussing how the team will operate internally and how it will operate with the support and decision teams. Some teams get into trouble because they don't set up review and feedback sessions early enough. Frequent review and feedback are the team's critical factors for success. Metaphorically speaking, each review and feedback session allows the team an opportunity to "right" or "steer" the ship to its final destination. Can you imagine being on a cross-country trip and waiting until you were only a mile away from your final destination before you asked for directions or consulted your map? Use the support and decision teams as part of your tool set, not as a gate or a milestone you must pass.

Gain Buy-in Early

Gaining buy-in early is simple to accomplish, and its importance cannot be stressed enough. The actual sign-off on the proposal should be a mere formality, relatively speaking, if you've gained early buy-in. The real key is to involve the support and decision teams throughout the entire lifecycle of the project.

When people think of involvement, they usually think of email. They feel that if they create a distribution list and mail their latest documents out to the world, then they have done their job of keeping everyone involved. But true involvement requires "bringing in," solicitation of feedback, and communication. It's the team's responsibility to physically "bring in" the support teams and the decision team—call meetings, review facts and findings, and most importantly, solicit feedback. Draw on the various teams' experiences and expertise; after all, they've been put in place for this reason. Find ways to incorporate feedback into the team's output. There is no better way to gain buy-in than to use someone's input in the final output.

Finally, don't be afraid to overcommunicate. We don't mean inundating people with email and voice mail, but rather scheduling regular and frequent reviews of the team's progress and outputs. This will ensure that you're on track from the support team's and decision team's perspectives and will prevent you from wasting a lot of time heading down the wrong path.

Have Fun

Some of the most fulfilling project experiences occur on small, dedicated, task force-type teams operating within a well-defined scope. Therefore, work hard, stay focused, bring in, solicit feedback, communicate, and have fun!

  • + Share This
  • 🔖 Save To Your Account

InformIT Promotional Mailings & Special Offers

I would like to receive exclusive offers and hear about products from InformIT and its family of brands. I can unsubscribe at any time.

Overview


Pearson Education, Inc., 221 River Street, Hoboken, New Jersey 07030, (Pearson) presents this site to provide information about products and services that can be purchased through this site.

This privacy notice provides an overview of our commitment to privacy and describes how we collect, protect, use and share personal information collected through this site. Please note that other Pearson websites and online products and services have their own separate privacy policies.

Collection and Use of Information


To conduct business and deliver products and services, Pearson collects and uses personal information in several ways in connection with this site, including:

Questions and Inquiries

For inquiries and questions, we collect the inquiry or question, together with name, contact details (email address, phone number and mailing address) and any other additional information voluntarily submitted to us through a Contact Us form or an email. We use this information to address the inquiry and respond to the question.

Online Store

For orders and purchases placed through our online store on this site, we collect order details, name, institution name and address (if applicable), email address, phone number, shipping and billing addresses, credit/debit card information, shipping options and any instructions. We use this information to complete transactions, fulfill orders, communicate with individuals placing orders or visiting the online store, and for related purposes.

Surveys

Pearson may offer opportunities to provide feedback or participate in surveys, including surveys evaluating Pearson products, services or sites. Participation is voluntary. Pearson collects information requested in the survey questions and uses the information to evaluate, support, maintain and improve products, services or sites, develop new products and services, conduct educational research and for other purposes specified in the survey.

Contests and Drawings

Occasionally, we may sponsor a contest or drawing. Participation is optional. Pearson collects name, contact information and other information specified on the entry form for the contest or drawing to conduct the contest or drawing. Pearson may collect additional personal information from the winners of a contest or drawing in order to award the prize and for tax reporting purposes, as required by law.

Newsletters

If you have elected to receive email newsletters or promotional mailings and special offers but want to unsubscribe, simply email information@informit.com.

Service Announcements

On rare occasions it is necessary to send out a strictly service related announcement. For instance, if our service is temporarily suspended for maintenance we might send users an email. Generally, users may not opt-out of these communications, though they can deactivate their account information. However, these communications are not promotional in nature.

Customer Service

We communicate with users on a regular basis to provide requested services and in regard to issues relating to their account we reply via email or phone in accordance with the users' wishes when a user submits their information through our Contact Us form.

Other Collection and Use of Information


Application and System Logs

Pearson automatically collects log data to help ensure the delivery, availability and security of this site. Log data may include technical information about how a user or visitor connected to this site, such as browser type, type of computer/device, operating system, internet service provider and IP address. We use this information for support purposes and to monitor the health of the site, identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents and appropriately scale computing resources.

Web Analytics

Pearson may use third party web trend analytical services, including Google Analytics, to collect visitor information, such as IP addresses, browser types, referring pages, pages visited and time spent on a particular site. While these analytical services collect and report information on an anonymous basis, they may use cookies to gather web trend information. The information gathered may enable Pearson (but not the third party web trend services) to link information with application and system log data. Pearson uses this information for system administration and to identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents, appropriately scale computing resources and otherwise support and deliver this site and its services.

Cookies and Related Technologies

This site uses cookies and similar technologies to personalize content, measure traffic patterns, control security, track use and access of information on this site, and provide interest-based messages and advertising. Users can manage and block the use of cookies through their browser. Disabling or blocking certain cookies may limit the functionality of this site.

Do Not Track

This site currently does not respond to Do Not Track signals.

Security


Pearson uses appropriate physical, administrative and technical security measures to protect personal information from unauthorized access, use and disclosure.

Children


This site is not directed to children under the age of 13.

Marketing


Pearson may send or direct marketing communications to users, provided that

  • Pearson will not use personal information collected or processed as a K-12 school service provider for the purpose of directed or targeted advertising.
  • Such marketing is consistent with applicable law and Pearson's legal obligations.
  • Pearson will not knowingly direct or send marketing communications to an individual who has expressed a preference not to receive marketing.
  • Where required by applicable law, express or implied consent to marketing exists and has not been withdrawn.

Pearson may provide personal information to a third party service provider on a restricted basis to provide marketing solely on behalf of Pearson or an affiliate or customer for whom Pearson is a service provider. Marketing preferences may be changed at any time.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information


If a user's personally identifiable information changes (such as your postal address or email address), we provide a way to correct or update that user's personal data provided to us. This can be done on the Account page. If a user no longer desires our service and desires to delete his or her account, please contact us at customer-service@informit.com and we will process the deletion of a user's account.

Choice/Opt-out


Users can always make an informed choice as to whether they should proceed with certain services offered by InformIT. If you choose to remove yourself from our mailing list(s) simply visit the following page and uncheck any communication you no longer want to receive: www.informit.com/u.aspx.

Sale of Personal Information


Pearson does not rent or sell personal information in exchange for any payment of money.

While Pearson does not sell personal information, as defined in Nevada law, Nevada residents may email a request for no sale of their personal information to NevadaDesignatedRequest@pearson.com.

Supplemental Privacy Statement for California Residents


California residents should read our Supplemental privacy statement for California residents in conjunction with this Privacy Notice. The Supplemental privacy statement for California residents explains Pearson's commitment to comply with California law and applies to personal information of California residents collected in connection with this site and the Services.

Sharing and Disclosure


Pearson may disclose personal information, as follows:

  • As required by law.
  • With the consent of the individual (or their parent, if the individual is a minor)
  • In response to a subpoena, court order or legal process, to the extent permitted or required by law
  • To protect the security and safety of individuals, data, assets and systems, consistent with applicable law
  • In connection the sale, joint venture or other transfer of some or all of its company or assets, subject to the provisions of this Privacy Notice
  • To investigate or address actual or suspected fraud or other illegal activities
  • To exercise its legal rights, including enforcement of the Terms of Use for this site or another contract
  • To affiliated Pearson companies and other companies and organizations who perform work for Pearson and are obligated to protect the privacy of personal information consistent with this Privacy Notice
  • To a school, organization, company or government agency, where Pearson collects or processes the personal information in a school setting or on behalf of such organization, company or government agency.

Links


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that we are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of each and every web site that collects Personal Information. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this web site.

Requests and Contact


Please contact us about this Privacy Notice or if you have any requests or questions relating to the privacy of your personal information.

Changes to this Privacy Notice


We may revise this Privacy Notice through an updated posting. We will identify the effective date of the revision in the posting. Often, updates are made to provide greater clarity or to comply with changes in regulatory requirements. If the updates involve material changes to the collection, protection, use or disclosure of Personal Information, Pearson will provide notice of the change through a conspicuous notice on this site or other appropriate way. Continued use of the site after the effective date of a posted revision evidences acceptance. Please contact us if you have questions or concerns about the Privacy Notice or any objection to any revisions.

Last Update: November 17, 2020