Anatomy of an IT project

Activities, phases, and lifecycle

Each year, McGill IT Services publishes the IT Annual report, which includes descriptions of ongoing and planned IT projects that serve the needs of the McGill community.IT Projects follow a lifecycle described below, which requires ongoing collaboration between our stakeholders and IT. Below is a glimpse into what happens during each stage of an IT project’s lifecycle. 

What is an IT Project?

An IT project may be one or more of the following (with project examples) :

  • Implementation of a new IT solution to support new, current or revised services (Student Appointment Management, Animal Protocol and Facilities Management Solution, Student Admission Systems)
  • Large-scale enhancement or upgrade of an existing application or system (Degree Works, myLab migration to the Web)
  • Infrastructure upgrade (Oracle19C, Network Upgrade)
  • Information security initiatives (CANSSOC)

An IT project may be undertaken to increase a service’s efficiency, address a community need for new or enhanced services, or it may be required to fulfill legal and/or audit requirements.

Lifecycle of an IT project

  1. Opportunity: At this stage, IT collaborates with our user community, who articulate the expected results and benefits that the project will deliver. IT then gathers their business needs and documents these in a Business Needs Statement (BNS). Once finalized, depending on its complexity and level of effort required, the BNS is sent for review by the IT Prioritization Committee, made up of the CIO & IT Directors. 
  2. Prioritization: The committee considers various factors such as business drivers, resource capacity, criticality of the need, current risks, and project budget requirements, then prioritizes the BNS accordingly. Once approval to start work on the project is granted by the IT Prioritization Committee, the project is created and enters the Project delivery phase.
  3. Project delivery: IT works closely with the client throughout this phase, which comprises 3 parts:
    1. Planning & Solution definition / Acquisition: In this step, the Project Managers (PMs), Business Analysts (BA) and Solution Architects (SA) gain a detailed understanding of clients’ needs, which is translated into the project scope. They gather business requirements, propose solution options, and define the approach, timeline and budget to implement the project once a given solution is chosen. This process may also include working with Procurement Services, as required, for example when engaging in the RFI (Request for Information) or Call for Tender (CFT) process.
    2. Design/ Construct: The development and/or implementation of the solution starts here. Depending on the project, this step may include new/revised infrastructure, software development, hardware installation/replacement, solution configuration and more. Throughout the project lifecycle, we collaborate with the business stakeholders to keep them engaged on the project progress through status updates, solution demos, testing activities, etc. Towards the end of this phase, we ensure testing is complete, the client approves the delivered solution, and we provide any required training and/or documentation to the end users as required.  
    3. Delivery completion: The project is now delivered, the client is using the solution/services implemented and the project is now in operational mode (i.e., the support is now transferred to the client and IT operational team, and the project is officially closed). 

View examples of IT projects at McGill on the IT Project Dashboard.





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