FEL phase, assessment exercise, project initiation

Some ones call it project initiation, some others assessment exercise or project, some others FEL phase. In any case it’s related to the study, analysis of a business initiative that wants to be translated to IT activities, organizational actions, investment with the purpose of obtaining business value.

Since 2 years ago I have been hardly participating and proposing some of these exercises, in fact now I’m facing 2 more of them.

These exercises are very different: their nature, their size, the organization, the activities.

With respect the nature.

  1. Some of them comes from a new business process generated internally in the department and that turns into a proven process that requires to be supported by an IT system because the manual work is not enough.
  2. Some others comes because the platform where these processes are implemented are obsolete or they are going to reach the end of the lifecycle.
  3. The third source of these FEL-phases (I have one of them now) is related to the environment for small data size was Ok, but there is new data volumes coming and the existing architecture is not able to gather all these new volumes. This is easy in some way because the functionality is clear.

With respect the size, as it’s my reality.

  1. Big size, they take 2 or 3 months to complete the complete set of activities. In our case there is a extreme big implication of the customer.
  2. Medium size, they take around 4 to 6 weeks: prepare workshops, celebrate them, gather requirements make decisions and complete the documentation. Decisions come later.
  3. Small size, 2 weeks of work for an specific part of a major assessment managed by the customer and participating in a bigger project team providing specific expertise.

Major activities we use to perform during these assessments:

  • Organize the project team
  • Prepare a proof of concept or a pilot
  • Gather requirements (functional and non-functional)
  • Define statements of work for the solutions
  • Do a benchmark study with some proven tools, doing a SWOT analysis and/or establishing relationship about how they fit into the requirements
  • Analyse specific products
  • Propose solution alternatives
  • Write down a project definition with the detailed efforts for the project.

I love this type of activities because they are so creative exercises; and at the same way I hate these activities because there is so much pressure on them to obtain the project behind them. That’s life!!

(Sierra Grazalema)

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