Is the Project Worth Saving? (Part 2 of 2)

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.

It takes a team to develop solutions and reach goals.

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.

Brad Egeland
Brad Egeland

Noteworthy accomplishments:
*20 year provider of successful technical project management leadership for clients across nearly every industry imaginable
*Author of more than 4,000 expert professional project management and business strategy articles, eBooks and videos over the past decade
*Articles/professional content receives over 40,000 page views monthly
*Named #1 in the 100 Most Inspiring People in Project Management
*Named a Top 10 Project Management Influencer to Follow in 2016
*The most read author of expert project management content on Project Times/BA Times for 2015
*Named most prolific provider of project management content over the past 5 years
*Noted for successful project management and financial oversight for $50 million Dept. of Education financial contract/program
*Chosen by the Dept of Defense as a subject matter expert (SME) to help select IWMS software provider for the largest IWMS implementation ever awarded

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