Needs Analysis – If you’re asking these questions:
- Who in your organization is best suited to perform various project management functions?
- Deciding whether you should you adopt the use of a project / program offices?
- What training needs exist within your team?
- The level of detail you should include in your project tracking system?
- Should you track costs in your project management or accounting system or both?
- How frequently should you status your projects?
- Which managers should receive which reports?
The kickoff meeting communicates to all concerned the purpose of the needs analysis. Participants will be identified and their roles explained. Timeframes to complete each step will be established. Purposes of each step will be discussed in detail. This will be the forum to raise issues and have questions answered.
During the conducting of interviews, the introducing of project management into the business, implementation of new software, or other requirements will be discussed. Questions will be asked concerning what business problems require resolving or what effects will the implementation or change have on current business practices. An understanding of your company’s business, goals and objectives are documented at this time. These are just a few of the areas that will be covered during the interview process.
Documenting Processes includes reviewing existing process relating to each of the company’s business functions. If these do not exist, documentation can be created. This is beneficial when defining the scope and objectives of what is being implemented. This will also be helpful in determining how project management software or project management principles can assist in the solving of problems. It will assist in identifying where improvements or changes can be made to improve the overall business.
Define Scope & Objectives
Defining Scope and Objectives for the implementation of Project Management into a company, introducing new PM software across an organization, or installing a new release of existing PM software are all examples where understanding of what is to be implemented is important. Defining the boundaries and content influences the nature of the solution. Defining the extent of the effort is critical to the success of the PM solution. Stating the benefits that are to be expected from implementing new PM processes or software need to be documented.
Defining requirements encompass many areas. A review of a company’s existing Project Management processes is necessary to determine at what level of Project Management that the company should be operating. Learning what PM tools are in place and to what extent they are deployed across the company to determine potential improvements. Compiling data and tasks along with data structures are important pieces of the solving the PM puzzle. Hardware, Software, Communications, and report requirements are vital ingredients in the overall PM solution. Understanding the needs at all levels of the PM organization is vital to the success of applying Project Management principles and tools.
Compile and Analyze Data
Compiling and analyzing data are the next step in completing the Needs Analysis. During this step all of the data and information that was documented from the previous steps is compiled and organized so that it can be easily referenced during data analysis. Analyzing the data will help determine if processes need to be changed, deleted or added to enhance the PM solution. Hardware and software usage will be scrutinized to determine specific needs related to capacity, speed and technology improvements. Examination of each functional area occurs to determine their specific PM processing needs. All of this will be communicated during the Reporting Results step.
Reporting the results occurs after all of the previous steps have been completed. All of the data has been organized into a workable format and converted into a document. This report summarizes the information in a way that can be shared with the various members of the core project team or other areas of the organization. A meeting is scheduled with the various participants. This meeting is the forum where the results of the Needs Analysis are reported to all concerned. It can result in a questions and answers session which should lead to the next step; Plan for Action.
Plan for Action
The plan for action is the final step in the Need Analysis cycle of events. The success of the Needs Analysis is determined during this step. If it was successful, the decision may be made to formally initiate the design and implementation of a Project Management Solution for the organization or to postpone a decision to a later time.