Pre-implementation analysis. Why is it essential to the success of the project?

Pre-implementation planning in IT projects

Benjamin Franklin said, “by failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail” This statement is remarkably accurate in IT projects. The performance of activities is more likely to succeed if a pre-implementation analysis precedes the planning of various stages. 

Experience shows that pre-implementation analysis meetings are often underestimated because, at first, speaking about a product that will be developed regardless is a waste of time. However, assume that you don’t abandon the project analysis early. Doing this will give you a “fuller picture” of your product and improve cooperation with the development team, which will translate into a positive result. 

In this article, we will introduce you to the issue of pre-implementation analysis. This includes what it is, what it involves, and what you receive when completed.

What is the pre-implementation analysis, and why is it important?

The pre-implementation analysis is an essential preparatory process that aims to collect information and requirements about the product, enabling effective planning. The primary goal is to gather functional requirements to form a technical description. This description should include an inventory of functionalities (design epics) comprising a summary of all the work needed to implement the product successfully. 

It is an important initial stage that prevents any problems from arising later. This includes a vague specification of requirements or specifying them too late. Pre-implementation analysis helps detect these elements in advance. 

For the client, it greatly helps in understanding the complexity of the product and all the processes involved. Comparably, for the development teams, it is a critical stage that allows an understanding of the project’s scope and the specific modules to be executed in the following steps. It makes it possible to clarify the client’s requirements and prioritize activities to “prove” the various epics of the project on time.

Is pre-implementation analysis always necessary?

The pre-implementation analysis and product workshops are essential to developing a new product. It is necessary to define basic functionality, set priorities, and the scope of work. Imagine that the application is developed with further modules, and the stakeholder is aware of the technical aspects of the project or has programming experience. In that case, the analysis will take less time, or you can omit it.

Additionally, it also depends on the complexity and scale of project development. There are situations when the pre-implementation analysis is reserved only for a specific part of the software and focuses only on the study of, for example, one module. 

How long does it take, and who takes part in it?

The entire analysis takes approximately two to four weeks. The first stage of the analysis begins with the conduct of a product workshop with the client. In attendance for the workshop are the business analyst, project manager (PM), system architect, and, from the client’s side, the product owner (PO) and people involved in specific areas of the application (e.g., CRM expert).

For several days (around 2-5), in combination with project stakeholders, we worked on functionalities and analyzed all necessary assumptions. We compile the analysis results in the following weeks and prepare the required documentation.  

The article below describes more about the role and elements of product workshops. 

Stages of pre-implementation analysis

 

1. Analytical Preparation

Before each analysis, we prepare thoroughly for the workshop, plan out our activities, and get acquainted with the materials from the client. In addition, we analyze them to discover potential weaker points and write down things we still want to ask about. At the beginning of the cooperation, you will receive a detailed questionnaire from us, providing you with all the necessary materials for the project. 

Let’s see an example of how crucial a detailed project analysis is. Recently, one of our clients prepared a document of over 100 pages describing the necessary functionality. We reviewed it thoroughly before the workshop so that during the workshop, we could focus on aspects that were not specified in the supplied documentation.

2. Product workshops

Product workshops are the starting point for pre-implementation analysis. They facilitate an understanding of the users’ target needs and the problems they face daily. They complement the information we already receive from the customer as part of the documentation. 

Main stages of product workshops:

  • The Discovery phase – the time of learning about the needs of the application users
  • Event Storming – mapping the key functionalities of the system in accordance with the customer
  • Design Sprint – at this stage, we create the user journey (User Journey Map), showing how the user navigates through the application

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3. Pre-implementation documentation

We analyze the workshop results for the next two to three weeks and prepare documentation. Meanwhile, we will:

✔️ Transfer the mapped views and processes we prepared during the workshop to the Miro virtual board. 

✔️ Prepare the User Journey Map.

✔️ Write down the functional requirements. We group the defined functionalities into epics and transfer them directly to the Jira project management tool. 

✔️ Provide an accurate estimate of the project based on the project epics.

The entire development team will prepare a time estimate with a front-end/back-end breakdown. Each described epic or functionality includes the minimum and the maximum number of hours needed to complete it. The cost quote depends on the type of project. The quote can be an hourly rate or a fixed amount.

✔️ Prepare a work schedule (roadmap).  

✔️ Create a risk register containing information about risks (and how to counter + status) that may occur during the project. 

✔️ Prepare a SWOT analysis. 

✔️ Write down an “Application Infrastructure Requirements” document with recommendations for circumstances outside our jurisdiction, taking into account situations affecting the further course of the project.

We value honesty and open communication between stakeholders and the project team. As such, regular contact with the client is essential throughout the duration and preparation of the entire pre-implementation analysis. So, if you have any concerns or questions about the project, we are more than happy to answer your questions on an ongoing basis.

What do you get after the pre-implementation analysis?

The analysis result gives a specification, a set of requirements, an analysis of constraints and risks, a proposal for changes in the company’s processes, and an offer containing the required budget and schedule.

Results of product workshopsThe main benefits of pre-implementation analysis

The pre-implementation analysis is a fundamental process that ensures the smooth execution of tasks in a project.  By devoting the right amount of time and attention to the analysis stage, you have the leverage of creating a successful product with far fewer changes made throughout the project.

Some of the benefits of analysis include:

  • Shorter development time – If we know the build functionality, we can better determine the schedule and release specific modules faster.
  • Reduced number of changes while working on the project – When changes occur during the project, it alters the requirements or scope of work. It also increases the handling cost of the project. 
  • Satisfaction of application users – Thanks to the analysis, each stakeholder will better understand the client’s needs. This translates into a result satisfying the product users. 
  • Satisfaction of team members – Within the cooperation framework, both parties get to know each other. Furthermore, they understand critical factors of successful collaboration so that communication and work (on a given system) go smoothly.

Summary

Nowadays, pre-implementation analysis and product workshops are becoming a standard during the implementation of IT projects. By working with clients in workshops, we can understand how analysis helps to set the ground rules for cooperation and estimate the project budget, schedule, and scope of work. Ultimately, it brings real-time and financial benefits, so the implementation of even complex digital transformation projects can be much more straightforward.

If you have questions about pre-implementation analysis, product workshops, or other project management issues, we’d be happy to talk to you. Contact us and set your sights on growth based on knowledge, data, and the real needs of your business.

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