Project Management: The Planning Questionnaire

By Eric Newell | February 1, 2015

In the first part of the project management series, I discussed the planning phase and how important a good project charter is to a project.  I’ve developed this questionnaire over time to ask the right questions to get the information I need to fill out the project charter.  I like to ask these questions to the project owner, but I also like to interview the leaders of each of the key business areas that the project will affect.  I typically doing this interview with 3-5 groups – once I get all the information, I put it together in the project charter and share it back to the customer for further refinement.

  • What are you goals for this deployment of Microsoft Dynamics AX?       (why are you doing this)
  • Have you identified any metrics that you want to use to measure the success of this project? (examples would be improved days sales outstanding or ability to close months more quickly)
  • What do you see as the high level processes that are in scope and (more importantly) out of scope? (we provide a set of process groupings to guide this discussion)
  • What do you see as the key risks or challenges that may arise during this project?
  • What timeline constraints do you have during the expected duration of this project? (examples would be seasonality, month end/year end close, system freezes, etc.)
  • Will you be sunsetting any systems as a result of this project?       If so, what other systems are integrated with those systems today?
  • Do you have any timelines by which an existing system must be sunset? (this is fishing for any “hard” dates that might impact the timeline of the project)
  • Who are the internal resources that have been assigned or made available for this project?
  • Who will be filling out the following roles?
  • Executive Sponsor and/or Steering Committee
    • Business Decision Maker/Project Owner(s)
    • Project Manager
    • Subject Matter Experts (divide them up by area)
    • IT Manager
    • Infrastructure Lead
    • Development Team Members
    • Master Data Management
    • Testing/QA Resources
  • Does the project have a name? It should have a name other than “the AX project”
  • Do you plan to capitalize expenses on the project? Do you have particular categorizes in which you’d like us to track our time?
  • Can we use a scope control process to limit the requirements that come up after the analysis phase? What approval is required to move forward with new requirements after the fit/gap?
  • What is the rhythm you’d like to use for the following ongoing meetings?
    • Project manager sync (recommend weekly)
    • Core Team update (weekly or bi-weekly)
    • Steering Committee (at least monthly)
  • Please provide as much of the following information as you have:
    • Infrastructure layout for servers that would be used or need to be added
    • Development source control system
    • Org chart
    • Business Process documentation or process flows
    • Explanation of current systems that will or may be impacted
  • Who should we work with on your team to gain access to your internal network?

This session can take between 90 minutes to 3 hours depending on how much detail your interviewee decided to give you.  It’s very eye-opening the information you receive during these sessions, and sometimes different groups disagree on their answers, so it’s important to make sure it’s all clarified before you move forward.

Eric Newell

 

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