Meetings

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Solutions Cube Group facilitated meeting enable the meeting participants to collaboratively discuss and define their projects needs and build their project deliverables interactively throughout each meeting.

Project deliverables are created in real time throughout the meeting which reduces time it takes for team members to create their project deliverables outside of the meeting.

The alignment and buy-in on meeting decisions increases because the project deliverables are created by the participants in their own words, throughout the meeting.

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[toggle-item class=”” title=”Strategic Planning” open=”no”]
Strategic Plans may take an organization weeks or months to complete, after which they quickly become stale and meaningless if they are simply placed on a shelf and not referenced or updated until the next annual strategic planning period.

Purpose

  • Assess the current state of the organization
  • Clarify the purpose of the organization (Mission)
  • Describe the future state of the organization (Vision)
  • Establish multi-year organization level Objectives
  • Determine and assign Goals and related Action Plans for reaching the future state Vision

Project Deliverables produced or updated include (Organization Assessment):

  • Functions of the Organization
  • Customers and Customer Expectations
  • Product and Services
  • Major Competitors
  • Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats (SWOT Analysis)

Project Deliverables produced or updated include (Strategic Plan):

  • Mission Statement
  • Vision Statement
  • Objectives
  • Goals
  • Action Plans

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[toggle-item class=”” title=”Process Improvement” open=”no”]
When stakeholders who are working on a Process Improvement initiative are not aligned on the current work processes, the improvement projects they implement often fall short of delivering the intended transformational results.

Process Improvement efforts may be further handicapped by a strategy which is primarily focused on the physical variations of work practices versus the underlying logical perspective of what the purpose is of the work being performed.

Purpose

  • Establish stakeholder alignment on desired work processes and outcomes which need to be produced
  • Identify physical variations in how work processes are actually being performed
  • Assess strengths and weaknesses of the varying current state work practices
  • Identify project opportunities for implementing improvements which will move the organization closer to achieving its Vision

Project Deliverables produced or updated include:

  • Mission and Vision Statements (reviewed)
  • Organizational Objectives (reviewed)
  • Logical Context Diagram (Business Processes and External Entities)
  • Level 1 Logical Process Model
  • Level 2 Logical Process Model
  • Physical Model depicting implemented variations of the desired processes
  • SWOT Analysis of the current state
  • Prioritized Opportunities / Projects for the Process Improvement effort

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[toggle-item class=”” title=”Project Scoping” open=”no”]
It is critical to the overall project success for each stakeholder to be aligned on the objectives their organization is striving to achieve, the relevance of their project to achieving those objectives and any constraints which will limit the manner in which the project is executed or the project solution which can be implemented.

Purpose

  • Enable the project stakeholders to clarify and document the Project Scope Statement to achieve alignment on the purpose, direction and boundaries of their project effort.
  • Create 7 scope deliverables which will provide the basis for the project stakeholders to make informed decisions, throughout the project’s lifecycle, on all requirements and solution which should be included or excluded from the project effort (i.e., identify and control “scope creep”)

Project Deliverables produced or updated include:

  • Objectives: Business and Project
  • Context Diagram including Business Processes and External Entities
  • Project Constraints
  • Critical Success Factors
    Project Assumptions

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[toggle-item class=”” title=”Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) – Project Planning” open=”no”]
The project Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) describes all of outputs (product and project) which will be produced during the project lifecycle. The Project Schedule describes how every output will be produced.

Failure to recognize the true relationship of these 2 deliverables results in a project team creating schedules which are not substantiated and cannot reliably be supported or defended during the project’s Planning and Execution Phases.

Purpose

  • Enable the project stakeholders to produce a Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) as a hierarchical deliverables based view of all of the outputs the project effort must produce.
  • Describe each project deliverable to the lowest level needed to identify, plan and manage every activity which is included in the Project Schedule.

Project Deliverables produced or updated include:

  • Project Assumptions
  • Business Processes
  • Product Deliverables
  • Project Deliverables
  • Deliverable Activities

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[toggle-item class=”” title=”Business Requirements” open=”no”]
Every project has 2 types of requirements:

  • Business Requirements: those which describe the needs or capabilities which are expected to be available at the end of the project
  • Technical Requirements Work Process Requirements: those which describe the solutions for delivering the project needs

Many project teams struggle with communicating their real needs and jump too quickly into defining solutions which they hope will address their undefined needs.

Purpose:

  • Provide a framework to enable the project stakeholders to elaborate on the scope of the project by documenting the business needs – Business Requirements which are capabilities (or “Whats”) which the project solution is intended to provide.
  • Clarify how every Business Requirement fits within the defined scope for the project.
  • Differentiate between Business Requirement capabilities which must be part of the solution versus those which could be deferred, if needed.

Project Deliverables produced or updated include:

  • Objectives: Business and Project
  • Project Assumptions
  • Business Processes
  • Business Requirements

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[toggle-item class=”” title=”User Story Creation” open=”no”]
Agile project teams work with a prioritized backlog of customer needs (User Stories) to drive their planning for Sprint Cycles throughout the life of the project. The Product Backlog is as an evolving collection of the User Stories which is updated as a result of completing sprints and gaining clearer understanding of the customer and product needs.

Purpose

  • Establish the Product Backlog which consists of prioritized testable User Stories representing the conceptual customer needs.
  • Substantiate the testability of each prioritized User Story by clarifying how the project team will know that story need has been met and is potentially releasable.

Project Deliverables produced or updated include:

  • Objectives: Business and Project (reviewed)
  • Project Assumptions
  • Product Themes
  • User Stories (Customer Need and testability)

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[toggle-item class=”” title=”Reporting Requirements Meeting” open=”no”]
Project teams frequently overlook the effort to define the project’s reporting needs before establishing the project’s scope baseline. This is a costly mistake which assumes that the capabilities will exist to answer every operational Business Question which will be asked after implementation.

Elaboration on the Business Requirements to incorporate the perspective of the Business Question reporting needs will help identify and close requirement gaps.

Purpose

  • Enable the project stakeholders to document the Business Questions (Operational and Knowledge Worker questions) which will be answerable by new or modified reports.
  • Identify existing reports which will require modifications to answer ongoing Business Questions.
  • Identify new reports which need to be developed to answer ongoing Business Questions.

Project Deliverables produced or updated include:

  • Reporting Qualifiers
  • Business Questions
  • Information Categories
  • Existing Report Cross Reference

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[toggle-item class=”” title=”User Acceptance Test Objectives” open=”no”]
Project Requirements which are not clearly testable are either misunderstood by the project stakeholders or are not in scope for the project.

Although specific test plans and scripts are not yet required during the project scoping phase, lack of consideration for how the project team will validate that all of their project needs have been met will leave gaps in the project’s scope baseline.

Purpose

  • Elaborate on the Business Requirements and identify and close requirement gaps by incorporating the perspective of the User Acceptance Testing needs.
  • Enable project stakeholders to agree on how they will validate that their business needs have been met.
  • Clarify the intent of the Business Requirement statements.

Project Deliverables produced or updated include:

  • User Acceptance Test Assumptions
  • User Acceptance Test Objectives
  • User Acceptance Test Scenarios

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[toggle-item class=”” title=”Use Cases” open=”no”]
Failing to consider the project needs from the interaction perspective of the customer who will be using the project solution will leave gaps in the Business Requirements included in the project’s scope baseline.

Although the specific solution has not yet been defined during the project scoping phase, the Business Requirement document will be incomplete without consideration of the customer experience needs for interacting with the future solution.

Purpose

  • Elaborate on the Business Requirements and identify and close requirement gaps by incorporating the perspective of the user interactions with the project solution.
  • Enable project stakeholders to agree on the desired Use Case interactions to solve for between the customer and the future system which will be developed to satisfy the customer needs.

Project Deliverables produced or updated include:

  • Use Interaction Scenarios
  • Functional Use Cases

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[toggle-item class=”” title=”Technical Requirements” open=”no”]
Project Solutions are only relevant to the project outcome when it is clear how they address the baselined project needs. Solutions which cannot be mapped to the project’s business requirements are likely “gold plating” or out of scope solutions.

Purpose

  • Agree on and document the high-level Technical Approach which will be used as a framework for the project’s solution.
  • Document Technical Requirements (“Hows”) for approved project need (Business Requirement) relevant to the Technical Approach and known technology constraints.

Project Deliverables produced or updated include:

  • Project Assumptions
  • Technical Approaches
  • Systems / Applications List
  • Technical Requirements (Project How’s) – Brainstormed and clarified
  • Business Requirements (clarified)

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[toggle-item class=”” title=”Risk Identification / Response Planning” open=”no”]
All projects have risks which may need to be managed, however; only project risks which are identified can be managed. Failing to manage project risk results in lost opportunities or increased problems and issues.

Purpose

  • Enable the project stakeholders to develop a risk management plan which goes beyond viewing project risks as uncertainties to be mitigated.
  • Stakeholders uncover and fully document every project risk by clarifying certain events, related uncertainties and potential positive or negative impacts to project objectives.
  • Prioritize risks based on probability and impact and select the most appropriate of 8 risk responses for the highest prioritized project risks.

Project Deliverables produced or updated include:

  • Objectives: Business and Project
  • Project Assumptions
  • Risk Register with clarified and scored risks
  • Risk Probability / Impact Matrix
  • Risk Responses
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[toggle-item class=”” title=”Lessons Learned” open=”no”]
If an organization fails to assess and modify the way they perform work – they cannot reasonably expect to experience different results on future project efforts. They are more likely to repeat unproductive behaviors or miss out on opportunities to leverage best practices on future projects.

Purpose

  • Enable project stakeholders to collaboratively uncover and document each lesson associated with each project phase and project completion.
  • Clarify the value to the organization associated with each lesson.
  • Identify best practices or action plans to leverage on future project efforts.

Project Deliverables produced or updated include:

  • Lesson: What efforts worked well and should be continued?
  • Lesson: What efforts did not work well and needs to change?
  • Lesson: What did we do and although it worked – should not be done in the future?
  • Lesson: What didn’t we do, but wish we had done?

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[toggle-item class=”” title=”RFP Preparation Meeting” open=”no”]
A Request For Proposal (RFP) should not be the starting point for a project, but it is often the starting point for a project team to establish a contractual relationship with a 3rd party supplier who can deliver some portion or all of the project needs which have been defined.

A vague RFP, which does not clearly identify the project needs, increases the team’s risk of engaging a supplier who is more likely to misinterpret the needs or fail to deliver a solution which fully meets the needs.

Purpose

  • Create a comprehensive RFP document contain 7 core RFP components to establish a level playing field for all suppliers to prepare and submit a unique proposal to satisfy the project’s needs.
  • Increase the likelihood of the project team being able to select a supplier who meets the both the cultural and management needs of the organization as well as the requirement needs of the project.

Project Deliverables produced or updated include:

  • RFP Process timeline
  • RFP Management Requirements
  • Electronic Scoring RFP Document
  • Vendor Qualification Questionnaire
    Response Score Values and Weights

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[toggle-item class=”” title=”RFP Vendor Evaluation Meeting” open=”no”]
A 3rd party supplier’s RFP proposal may appear to meet the needs of the project but many times gaps exist between the supplier’s proposed solution and the project’s actual business needs.

Purpose

  • Uncover and clarify gaps between a supplier’s proposed solution and the intent of the project’s business requirements.
  • Allow project team members and each supplier to work together to identify and document acceptable changes and workarounds to the proposed solution which would allow it to close the project need / solution gaps.

Project Deliverables produced or updated include:

  • Technical Approach for the proposed solution
  • Proposed Changes / Workarounds for requirement / solution gaps

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