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IT Project Portfolio: High Level Scoping 3

July 13, 2008


This is the first stage in which technology is introduced to demonstrate the opportunity. The mockups are a low risk approach to visually presenting the options. These mockups are not complete solutions and are not intended to be production ready.

This stage is often used to introduce new concepts. Consider the “7 times 7 different ways” theory, which states that to have people understand a new idea will take seven presentations using seven different approaches. In IT today, one of our many challenges is educating our user community on the realm of the possible. Today e-mail is pervasive and you don’t have to explain its concepts. However, at one time we spent a great deal of time explaining e-mail as a generic idea. Some of the new challenges are Instant Messaging, document management, and Web portals. To be blunt, most users do not know what they do not know. In older, mature groups they need to a have common point of reference for new ideas. The mockup allows the IT department to show different approaches of tackling the opportunity as they understand the business needs and drivers.

The mockup can be a slide show presentation, skeleton application that demonstrates workflow, or vendor product demonstrations. This bidirectional dialogue between business sponsors and the IT team is invaluable for nailing down the scope and buy-in of the business unit. Most business units like to be involved in this stage and find this part of the process rewarding, so let them play in the sandbox, but make sure you let them know when recess is over. The goal is to get their input in a non-technical environment where they can see and touch elements of the opportunity.

Though mockups, the business unit also gets to see tangible proof that the IT team understood the previous steps and the business problem that generated the opportunity. Changes to the solution, scope and design are accomplished easily here and should be encouraged. Some IT professionals have a hard time with this step, because they want to deliver a more workable mockup. Be careful of this desire – it will waste valuable time and resources. The users are going to make changes, so get used to it, but do not forget to document the change requests. Welcome to the iterative world.

Stage 3 Deliverables

  • Documented customer profiles.

  • Documented use cases.

  • Mockups.

  • Input into the solution outline.

Stage 3 Outcomes

  • Solution shortlist and/or workable prototype to be further developed.

Stage 3 Duration

  • One to two weeks

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