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ARCHIVED - Guide to successful IT Projects

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The Project Planning Phase

This questionnaire is a tool or checklist to evaluate an IT project proposal and to ensure that all factors influencing the success of a project have been taken into consideration in the planning of it.

Section I

Intuitively, how do I feel about this project?

Might succeed
Might Succeed
Likely to succeed
Likely to Succeed


Section II - Support for the Business

Ask yourself: Yes No Not sure
TOTALS ____ ____ ____
1. Is the project well aligned with the business plans and the Information Management Plans (IMP)?      
2. Has an adequate business case analysis been performed and the results well-documented and available?      
3. Is the business case based on the full cost of the system from initiation through implementation and estimated annual cost of operation?      
4. Has the Project Sponsor, representing the users taken accountability and responsibility for project scope and definition?      
5. Have the requirements been reviewed and approved by the Project Sponsor?      
6. Are there formal, documented plans in place to involve appropriate levels of users throughout the project (from requirements definition, through evaluation and acceptance of deliverables, product and integration testing to final acceptance and sign-off)?      
7. Has the Project Sponsor ensured user commitment and support?      
8. Is the project justification based on an ROI with an attractive projected return?      
9. Are the project specifications precisely defined?      
10. Is there agreement from all executives that the project is essential (either to support something else you are doing or for future positioning)?      

Section III - Accountability

Ask yourself: Yes No Not sure
TOTALS ____ ____ ____
1. Are the positions of project sponsor, project leader and project manager filled?      
2. Are there clearly defined, documented and understood responsibilities, accountabilities and authorities for each of these positions?      
3. Is the matrix defining the accountabilities, responsibilities and authorities appropriate for this project?      
4. If there is a need for a project manager representing a contractor, are there clearly defined, documented (beyond the contract) and understood responsibilities, accountabilities and authorities for this position?      
5. Has the project manager identified adequate resources to allocate to the scheduled tasks at the scheduled time?      
6. Does the staff have sufficient expertise in the project domain?      
7. Is the project sponsor at the correct level in the organization? Will this executive be held accountable for delivering the benefits outlined in the proposal?      
8. Has the project team and the organization successfully implemented a project of similar size, scope, cost or duration?      
9. Is the project within the demonstrated capability of the department and contractors?      

Section IV - Corporate Project Manager Discipline

Ask yourself: Yes No Not sure
TOTALS ____ ____ ____
1. Have the project manager and project sponsor managed a project of this size, scope and complexity previously?      
2. Does the project manager (Crown's and/or contractor's side) have sufficient control over appropriate project resources?      
3. Does the project manager (Crown's and/or contractor's side) have the freedom and ability to act when warranted?      
4. Is the Project Manager prepared to escalate issues when warranted, based on pre-determined criteria?      
5. Is the escalation path clear and documented?      
6. Is the necessary information available to support decisive action?      
7. In the event of serious problems, are required decisions apt to be taken?      
8. Is the project independent of other projects which are presently underway (i.e., not relying on the successful completion of other projects)?      

Section V - Risk Management

Ask yourself: Yes No Not sure
TOTALS ____ ____ ____
1. Was a formal process used to break down the work and estimate task duration?      
2. Are formal mechanism or tools in place to monitor the project schedule?      
3. Are costs allocated in accordance with work breakdown structures?      
4. Do team leaders sign off on cost & schedule estimates and are they held to budgetary constraints?      
5. Have all known management and technical risks been assessed and are mitigation strategies in place for all identified risks?      
6. Does the project approach pass reasonable checks for what is to be accomplished?      
7. Are all external interfaces that are not under your control?      
8. Can the project manager and sponsor list the current top 10 project risks?      
9. Is the technology being used well tested and has project staff sufficient experience in using it and knowledge of it?      
10. Is it reasonable to expect financial stability for the duration of the project?      
11. Does the project approach pass reasonableness checks in terms of what is to be accomplished in the project?      

Section VI - 'Success Barometer' Rating

Totals Calculation Green Red Yellow
Colour Totals ____ ____ ____
Totals from Section II: ____ ____ ____
Totals from Section III: ____ ____ ____
Totals from Section IV: ____ ____ ____
Totals from Section V: ____ ____ ____

Project total

Green total _____ x 15 = ______ ______

+ Red Total ______ x (-10) = ______ ______

+ Yellow Total _____ x (-5) = ______


Plot the project total on the viability/success scale:

Red Zone Yellow Zone Green Zone


-400                                  0                        300                              600

Might succeed
Might Succeed
Likely to succeed
Likely to Succeed

How does this rating compare to the one from Section I based strictly on your gut?

What does this tell you?


Approved (GREEN ZONE)

Approval withheld pending the following (YELLOW ZONE):

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Approval denied because (RED ZONE):

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _