Meta Data Repository Project Plan: The Feasibility Phase
By David Marco
The key to your company’s prosperity is how well you gather, retain and disseminate knowledge. To this end the meta data repository is the key gathering, retaining, and disseminating knowledge. This column is the second installment in a walk through of the key tasks in each of the five fundamental phases of a project plan to build a meta data repository: Orientation, Feasibility, Design, Construction, and Rollout. This month we will zoom in on the Feasibility phase (see Table 1).
Table 1: Feasibility Phase Tasks
With the orientation phase completed, your company is ready to move into the feasibility phase. The purpose of the feasibility phase is to ascertain if it is cost beneficial for the company to build a meta data repository. There are two key deliverables that occur during the feasibility phase: the project scope document and the high-level project plan.
Create Project Scope Document
The project scope document is the first, and possibly the most important, deliverable in the meta data repository project. Unfortunately, it is also the deliverable that many companies fail to produce. The project scope document should define the specific business and technical drivers for implementing the meta data repository. It serves as the project’s compass and drives all subsequent project development work, thereby eliminating the phenomenon of “project creep”. Project creep is a very common cause of project failure; it occurs when the end-user requirements increase or change significantly during the design and development phases. Remember the three “S” of development: Staff, Scope, and Schedule. If you change one, you have to change them all, if you don’t then the quality of the project will suffer.
Figure 1: Project Quality Triangle
Creating a project scope document typically requires between three and four weeks. If your company sign-off policy calls for multiple signatures and/or there are strong political pressures among the decision makers, then it may take as much as seven weeks to complete this deliverable. On the other hand, if the company is essentially a dictatorship and requires only a single, high-level signature, the entire project scope document process can be completed in as little as one or two weeks.
Perform High-Level Planning and Estimating
The High-Level Project Plan is the second key deliverable of the feasibility phase. This plan defines the cost of the initial release of the meta data repository project and is vital for cost justifying the design and development phases of the project. Once the project plan is approved by the project champion the project manager of the meta data repository will have to obtain the resources to staff the plan. It is best when the internal staff of the corporation can fulfill these resources requirements. If the IT department does not have enough resources to meet the demands of the project plan then the project manager has one of three options. First, hire additional IT staff, which could elongate the project timelines. Second, lengthen the project timelines so that the available staff can meet its requirements. Third, the project manager can hire a consulting vendor to partner with on the project.
Tune in next month, as I will be walking through the Design phase.