The Initiation Phase begins when agency management determines that a business function requires enhancement through an agency information technology (IT) project and investment in the application of IT assets. Enhancements or changes may be prompted by changes in business functions or requirements, IT advancements, and/or external sources, such as changes in public law or federal statutes.
1.0: Objectives / Goals
2.0: Deliverables and Approvals
4.0: Tasks and Activities
Successful completion of the Initiation Phase should comprise:
The purpose of the Initiation Phase is to start the project.
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System Development Life Cycle (SDLC) deliverables help State agencies successfully plan, execute, and control IT projects by providing a framework to ensure that all aspects of the project are properly and consistently defined, planned, and communicated. The SDLC templates provide a clear structure of required content along with boilerplate language agencies may utilize and customize. State agencies may use formats other than the templates, as long as the deliverables include all required content.
The development and distribution of SDLC deliverables:
During the development of documentation, the Planning Team should:
The following is a listing of deliverables required of all projects for this phase of work.
Concept Proposal – describes the need or opportunity to improve existing agency business functions using automation and technology. This document identifies unmet strategic goals or mission performance improvements.
Agency Chief Information Officer (CIO)
Project Charter – identifies the Project Manager, Project Sponsor, and Executive Sponsor and authorizes the Project Manager to execute the project.
Project Organization Chart (Draft) – a graphical depiction of the project’s hierarchical positions and relationships.
All deliverables other than those identified as Updates should initially be developed in this phase. Deliverables identified as Updates should be revisited and enhanced as necessary as prescribed in this phase.
Deliverables produced during this phase must be reviewed in detail and should follow the approval path as defined in the above table. A signature page or section should accompany each deliverable requiring approval.
Department of Information Technology (DoIT) will periodically request copies of these documents as part of its oversight responsibilities.
The following personnel participate in the work activities of this phase:
Responsible – Describes role that executes the activities to achieve the task.
Accountable – Describes roles that own the quality of the deliverable and sign off on work that Responsible provides.
Consulted – Describes roles that provide subject matter expertise.
Informed – Describes roles that receive information about the task.
The Roles and Responsibilities page has detailed descriptions of these roles and their associated responsibilities.
Personnel within the agency identify a need for a project.
The project begins with the following tasks:
The Executive Sponsor, Agency CIO, and Business Owner appoint a senior manager to be the Project Sponsor, who will champion the project effort. The Project Sponsor is the principle authority on matters regarding the expression of business needs, the interpretation of functional requirements language, and the mediation of issues regarding the priority, scope, and domain of the business requirement. The Project Sponsor must understand what constitutes the project’s scope and be accountable for project success. For some agencies, the Executive Sponsor may also serve as the Project Sponsor.
Select a Project Sponsor with the following skills:
The Project Sponsor ensures adequate funding for the project and oversees performance of the Planning and Development Teams. The Project Sponsor participates in managing project activities, principally approving key deliverables, resolving issues and risks, and measuring progress to move forward.
The Project Sponsor must have a clear understanding of the obligations of this role and have the time and resources to ensure proper execution of the project. If a potential Project Sponsor will be unable to participate actively in the project and ensure the project’s success, that candidate should decline the role, and the Executive Sponsor, Agency CIO, and the Business Owner should appoint a new Project Sponsor.
The Project Sponsor develops the Concept Proposal. The Executive Sponsor and CIO approve its final draft.
The Concept Proposal achieves these goals:
First, describe the value and purpose of the project. Identify why a new or improved hardware and/or network is necessary and what business benefits the agency hopes to achieve by implementing the improvement. The Project Sponsor should establish a business scenario and context in which the problem is expressed purely in business terms rather than in technical terms. Provide background information at a level of detail sufficient to familiarize agency managers with the history, issues, and customer service opportunities that can be realized through hardware and/or network improvements.
Avoid discussions of specific technology solutions at this point; potential solutions are investigated and documented in later phases. Also, business case information should not offer or predetermine any specific solution, tool, or product.
The key elements of the Concept Proposal are specified below. Please note that additional descriptions are included when necessary to provide additional clarification regarding content to be specified in the document. Additional guidance is provided in the SDLC template.
The Concept Proposal should be no more than two to five pages. The Concept Proposal establishes the justification for the project and the rationale for a funding request. A persuasive Concept Proposal establishes a strong foundation for the project request as it moves through the funding cycle.
To meet funding cycle requirements, conduct Initiation Phase tasks and complete the deliverables before or during the summer months to be prepared for Concept Development ITPR tasks, which are due no later than mid-September.
The Project Sponsor chooses the Project Manager, who carries the responsibility and accountability for project execution. Agencies are encouraged to appoint certified Project Management Professionals (PMP) as project managers because PMPs have specific training in project management methods, share a common lexicon, and have competency in the State project management standards. For small efforts, the agency may assign a new project to a manager within an existing organization with an inherent support structure. Agencies with limited Project Manager availability should consider developing an early procurement to secure a dedicated Project Manager. It is critical that this Project Manager be an advocate of the State agency and be completely independent of the future implementation vendor Project Manager. Maintaining this independence of the Project Manager role will ensure objective project performance reporting.
With input from the Project Sponsor, the Project Manager designates members of the Planning Team. For new major projects, hiring and reassignment of many technical and business specialists may be required. Ideally the Planning Team is maintained as the project working unit at least through the Requirements Analysis Phase.
Although specific needs may vary by project, typical planning teams comprise a Project Manager, Business Analysts, Systems Analysts, Technical Leads, Business Leads, Project Sponsor, Steering Committee, and Project Stakeholders.
Develop a preliminary Planning Team organization chart, illustrating key personnel on the project and identifying relationships between team members.
The Project Manager writes the Project Charter with input from the Agency CIO and Project Sponsor. The Agency CIO, Project Sponsor, and Executive Sponsor authorize the Project Charter’s contents.
The Project Charter formally authorizes work to begin on the project, links the project to ongoing work in the agency, and establishes the framework of an agreement between the Project Sponsor requesting the project and the Planning Team proposed to deliver it.
The key elements of a Project Charter are included below. Please note that additional descriptions are included when necessary to provide additional clarification regarding content to be specified in the document. Additional guidance is provided in the SDLC template.
The Project Charter establishes the baseline for documenting and tracing the achievement of a project’s objectives. It is important that agencies spend sufficient time on clearly defining measureable objectives and success criteria. The business requirements must also be defined clearly for requirements development in subsequent phases.
Ensure that the Project Charter identifies only one Project Sponsor.
The Project Manager and the Planning Team prepare and present a project status review for the Agency CIO, Project Sponsor, Executive Sponsor, and other stakeholders after completing all Initiation Phase tasks. This review addresses:
The Project Manager must obtain deliverable approval signatures before proceeding to the Concept Development Phase.
Update the project documentation repository upon completion of the phase-closure activities.
The completion of the draft organization chart, the approval of the Concept Proposal and Project Charter, the completion of the Initiation project status review, and the approval to proceed to the next phase, signify the end of the Initiation Phase.
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