Prenatal Exercises for Your Project

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Introduction of the Project's Sponsor and Stakeholder(s)
It is also important to introduce the sponsor and stakeholder(s) who will be supporting the project. The sponsor is the person in the company, either inside or outside the IT group, who is ultimately responsible and accountable for the success of the project and is usually paying the bill for the project activities. This person should attend the prenatal exercises to share their convictions and explain the business needs associated with the project.

Any and all stakeholders should also attend the exercises if possible. Stakeholders are people who have a stake in the success of the project, or whose department is affected by the results of the project. When members of the project team understand the importance of their project from a business perspective, it helps them to look outside their myopic view and gaze at the larger picture for a few minutes. It also helps to take ownership of the outcome of the project when they see how it will directly contribute to the health and bottom line of the company.

Definition of the Critical Success Factors
Another important exercise is the communication of the critical success factors associated with the project. Critical success factors are those project objectives that must be met in order for the project to be deemed a success. Missing any one of the critical success factors means the project has failed. A stakeholder or sponsor is the best person to present the critical success factors to the team. Team members can refer back to the success factors during the project and they can use them to guide their activities. An example of a critical success factor could be the date the system needs to be available to the users in the field.

Definition of Deliverables
Finally, the deliverables of a project should be defined. Deliverables are the products" that will be created and given to another group or individual during and after completion of the project. It is common to think of deliverables only as items completed at the end of the project. In reality, deliverables for each phase of the project lifecycle should be defined and communicated in the prenatal exercises.

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About the author

Clark Cashman's picture Clark Cashman

While working at Fortune 100 companies, Clark Cashman has gained industry experience in time-proven methodologies in the areas of quality assurance and project management, which has given him the opportunity, as a corporate trainer, to teach others what he has learned. He has managed QA organizations and test teams and implemented test automation tools and processes. Clark can be reached at clarkcashman@spherion.com.

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