In Part 1 of this two-part series on figuring out whether or not what we have viable project … we looked at what brings us to the go / no-go decision point and how we review a project from both a justification standpoint and a feasibility standpoint.
Now, in Part 2, we’ll consider how to:
- Review alternative solutions for your project’s problem(s)
- Identify the best solution for moving forward
Project Justification and Feasibility.
Once you fully understand the project’s goal and establish that it is justifiable and feasible, you’re ready to determine the best way to satisfy that need. (You may wish to review Part 1 of this series.)
Although I’m using the term “you,” proper execution of this step really requires the input of many individuals. If you’re fortunate enough to be involved at this stage of the project’s evolution, you should be actively working toward building a team that can work with you from this point on.
Identify Alternative Solutions.
The process of identifying the optimal way to satisfy the project requirements begins with generating a list of potential solutions. This process is made easier when these elements are included:
- Do it in a team environment
- Include subject matter experts and stakeholders as appropriate
- Use brainstorming techniques
- Limit further development to only reasonable alternatives
Choose the best solution for moving forward.
Obviously, you can’t pursue every idea identified through processes like brainstorming.
After soliciting all reasonable alternative solutions, the project team needs to pare the list down to only those that are worthy of further development, investigation, and definition.
You can reduce the list by comparing each alternative against predetermined criteria. This is where the Requirements Document begins to add significant value. The process for selecting the optimum solution begins by evaluating each alternative solution in terms of how well it satisfies the most critical aspects of the project requirements, such as budget constraints or strategic alignment.
You may also wish to use other requirements-based considerations, such as the likelihood of technical success or the anticipated impact on existing products. This initial screening will allow you to shorten the list of potential alternative solutions to a manageable number (I would recommend two to five).
At this point, the selection process becomes much more rigorous. Each potential alternative should be evaluated using two basic types of criteria: financial and non-financial.
Summary / Call for Input
Readers – how do you feel about this process? How does it match up with your organization? Do you have similar processes you can share and discuss?
Not every project is cut and dried and definitely a project – some have to be fleshed out and decided upon … is this really something we should be doing and is this the best way? If not … what is? Please share your thoughts.