Windows XP to Windows 7 Capstone Project

Excerpt from Capstone Project :

This will not only create a higher level of trust in the actual implementation, it will also set the foundation for more effective ongoing support for these users if they have any problems with the systems once they are installed. An effective change management strategy is as important, if not more important, than the technology upgrade and implementation plan itself (Gil, Tether, 2011).

In implementing any it Project the concept of scope creep must also be addressed immediately during the initial planning stages of the project. This is the single greatest factor in the failure of large-scale it projects because it derails the key planning components and structure of any it effort from the original expectations of the systems' users. Scope creep can also redefine the entire platform of a system if left unchecked. Studies suggest that the larger a given project, the greater the potential for scope creep as well. It is not surprising then that empirical studies indicate that many of the biggest failures of Customer Relationship Management (CRM), Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) and Supply Chain Management (SCM) projects have failed due to the scope being completely changed over time with no focus on stability to the original expectations of the original users (Lim, Sia, Yeow, 2011). The detrimental effects of scope creep can also significantly affect the very nature of the project itself, creating divisions and discord that can derail a project over time. The many risks inherent in creating an effective project are surpassed by scope creep, as it can completely re-order the expectations and requirements of users.

The extent of this impact can be seen in how all resources for a project, from its many costs and the time invested, to the core resources relied on to create the platform and launch the application or entire system, are completely re-ordered through scope changing (de Bakker, Boonstra, Wortmann, 2010). The reason this factor is so detrimental is that it can completely redefine the change management strategies of the company and take those most affected by the systems' benefits out of the main flow of communication.

Another significant risk is the lack of trust that develops over time on a project when there is little if any trust in project direction due to a lack of communication. This lack of communication on it project is often what leads to companies having problems with new system installation as employees will often see them as a threat to their jobs, roles and most important to them, their status in the organization given access to privileged or confidential data. Those most affected by a changed system see their personal role in an organization and their status inextricably linked to their access to valuable, highly sought-after information (Hong, Doll, Revilla, Nahm, 2011). While it departments will often seek to create a highly responsive project plan that can manage all of these variables, and in the interest of being responsive, it project managers take on more project requests, they are actually hurting their chances for success and potentially breeding distrust of the system being delivered (Lim, Sia, Yeow, 2011). This is why it is so critically important for a project manager and leader to stay on point and keep the project focused on the original agreed objective. This is why it project management must move through a series of five strategic steps if it is to be successful (Lim, Sia, Yeow, 2011). These five steps, at a strategic level include Envisioning, Planning, Developing, Stabilizing and Deploying. These are the core areas of strategic focus an it project management professional must build their strategies for change on top of. What this framework also does is create a highly effective framework for keeping the original objectives of the project at the forefront of management decision-making also reducing the potential for disruption as a result of scope creep or the continual adding on of additional aspects of the project.

An additional risk factor or category that project managers must consider is the accuracy and reliability of specific dates on the project plan itself. A downfall of many projects, especially those that include large-scale migration from one system to the next is predicated on a series of dependencies that each have varying probabilities of being achieved (de Bakker, Boonstra, Wortmann, 2010). This translates into an entire project that is hanging together with dependencies with varying degrees of complexity and closure. It projects often stall out at this point and the entire series of dependencies need to be defined again. Projects that reach this level of confusion are often cancelled and started over. Organizations will often to micromanage their way out of these challenges, holding cross-functional meetings and creating advanced forms of analytics and Key Performance Indicators (KPI) to measure progress, yet over time fear and mistrust of project so out of sync with needs are only partially successful in attaining their original objectives (Lim, Sia, Yeow, 2011). Often what this focus on the analytics, KPIs and metrics miss is if the project is actually moving in the right direction or simply in damage control mode, attempting to save the sunk costs of time, materials and valuable resources (Gil, Tether, 2011).

Another significant risk is a continually shifting series of goals and objectives. This often occurs when the original leader of a project leaves the organization, leaving a significant gap in conviction, expertise and skills necessary for completing the project. This is synonymous with a leader of an entire business unit or company leaving for another opportunity and leaving the many it projects they championed literally hanging in mid-air, needing support (Gil, Tether, 2011). In organizations that have a very high degree of project management expertise, this is often compensated for in how the entire enterprise is managed from a project leadership perspective. However, for the majority of smaller organizations and many government entities, the loss of the leader championing the it system investments and strategies can literally stop years of process immediately (Hong, Doll, Revilla, Nahm, 2011). For organizations that base much of their revenue and growth on projects however, there are redundancy plans, even for large-scale it projects. The logic that supports this is that it is so crucial to the success of customer- and suppler-based initiatives that there must be a continual focus on stability and longevity of leadership (Gil, Tether, 2011). These aspects of it leadership project management risk have also been shown to have an immediate and lasting effect on knowledge management as well; specifically the sharing of tacit and explicit knowledge workflows of organizations who are standardizing on it platforms (Hong, Doll, Revilla, Nahm, 2011). What emerges from this analysis is the observation that all aspects of project leadership either directly or indirectly affect the success of a project. The ability to plan and execute on these aspects of an it project plan can significantly change the probability of success of any initiative, and also bring a level of insight to the leadership of programs not possible otherwise. Another key lesson learned is that senior management support and the development of an effective strategy for ensuring change management starts at the top of an organization, as entire organizations will often emulate the attitudes, beliefs and values of their leaders, needs to also permeate an organization (de Bakker, Boonstra, Wortmann, 2010). Amidst all the change and potential disruption these factors can have on a project, it is clear that the role of the senior management team, or in the case of a government organization, senior it and planning executives, be aligned to the it project goals and show their support for them often (Lim, Sia, Yeow, 2011). This will do much to ensure the success of even the simplest to the most complex projects.

Rationale and Systems Analysis

The rationale for this project is based on the need to both alleviate the potential threat of obsolescence and increase the level of system performance across the five departments affected by the upgrade. With Microsoft dropping support for their Windows XP operating system by 2014, the clock is ticking to complete the upgrade. There is also the issue of increasing the performance levels of the workstations involved in the upgrade. Many are running applications originally designed for hardware systems much less robust and technologically advanced as those running Windows 7 today. In addition, running a fully compatible Win64-based applications in Windows 7 will lead to performance and productivity gains across the five departments affected by the upgrade. It will also increase the accuracy and speed of collaboration over time as well. There is also the factor of security that needs to be taken into account from a rational perspective. The Windows XP operating system was the first major effort on the part of Microsoft to bring greater levels of authentication and security into their core operating system platform. Windows 7 has a completely redesigned series of APIs to further support greater levels of security throughout all applications supported on the…

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