Do you have a feasible project?
The best way to find out whether you have a feasible project is to complete a feasibility study. This process will help you gain confidence that the solution can be implemented on time and within budget. So here’s how to do it in 5 simple steps…
Completing a Feasibility Study
A Feasibility Study needs to be completed as early in the project life cycle as possible. The best time to complete it is when you have identified a range of different alternative solutions. From there you need to know which solution is the most feasible to implement.
Step 1: Research the Business Drivers
In most cases a project is being driven by a problem in the business. These problems will be your “business drivers”. And you need to have a clear understanding of what they are, as part of your feasibility study.
For instance, the business driver might be an outdated IT system causing customer complaints. Or you need to merge two businesses because of an acquisition. You will need to get to the bottom of the business driver so you understand the reasons why the project has been kicked off.
Find out why the business driver is important to the business. And why it’s critical that the project delivers a solution to it within a specified timeframe. Then find out what the impact will be to the business, if the project slips.
Step 2: Confirm the Alternative Solutions
Now you have a understanding of the business problem that the project addresses, you need to understand the alternative solutions available.
If it’s an outdated IT system then your alternative solutions might include redeveloping the existing system, replacing it or merging it with another system. Only with a clear understanding of the alternative solutions to the business problem, can you progress with the feasibility study.
Step 3: Determine the Feasibility
You now need to identify is we have a feasible project for each solution. The question to ask of each alternative solution is “can we deliver it on time and under budget?”
To answer this question, you need to use a variety of methods to assess the feasibility of each solution. Here are some examples of ways you can assess feasibility:
- Research: Perform online research to see if other companies have implemented the same solutions and how they got on.
- Prototyping: Identify the part of the solution that has the highest risk, and then build a sample of it to see if it’s possible to create.
- Time-boxing: Complete some of the tasks in your project plan and measure how long it took vs. planned. If you delivered it on time, then you know that your planning is quite accurate.
Step 4: Choose a Preferred Solution
With the feasibility of each alternative solution known, the next step is to select a preferred solution. Choose the solution that; is most feasible to implement, has the lowest risk, and you have the highest confidence of delivering. You’ve now chosen a solution to a known business problem, and you have a high degree of confidence that you can deliver that solution on time and under budget, as part of the project.
Step 5: Reassess the chosen solution at a deeper level
It’s now time to take your chosen solution and reassess its feasibility at a deeper level. List all of the tasks that are needed to complete the solution. Then run those tasks by your team to see how long they think it will take to complete them. Add all of the tasks and timeframes to a project plan to see if you can do it all within the deadline. Then ask your team to identify the highest risk tasks and get them to investigate them further to check that they are achievable. Use the techniques in Step 3 to give you a very high degree of confidence that it’s practically achievable. Then document all of the results in a Feasibility Study.
After completing these 5 steps, get your feasibility study approved by your manager. Then everyone in the project team will have a higher degree of confidence that the project can deliver successfully.
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