Disposable System Development – A New Paradigm for Managing ICT Projects in the Innovation Age: Part 3: Identify Project Deliverables instead of Project Scope


By Professor Hubert Vaughan 

Beijing, China


Let us consider that you are inside an empty room, and you are allowed to use it anyway you want. As the beneficiary of this empty room, what is the first thing that comes to your mind?

  1. The first thing you must determine is what do you want to use it for, i.e. the ultimate objective, or purpose. Do you want to use it as your shop front? Or your business office? Or your little hide-away with your buddies for the weekly poker game?

This is a process to identify the value of your potential investment, i.e. fill up the room with contents (deliverable) that serve your purpose. There are always projects needing development. During the Automation Age, choices were made based on potential saving and operation efficiencies. In the era of Information Age, choices were made based on management objectives and effective management decision making purposes. For the Innovation Age, system will focus more on exploring and identifying potential opportunity for the beneficiaries, such as market penetration, industry leadership, and niche market/product discovery that propel organization grow.

  1. Once you know what you want to use the room for, the next step is to identify what should be inside to serve such purpose or objective. A game table? A fridge? A couch? Or maybe a shower room? All these are considered as the final deliverable and each deliverable serves a particular purpose inside the room.

Identify the deliverables of your project that can add value, benefits, and capability to your organization once the project objectives are achieved. Unlike the traditional project management approach of managing changes, project managers for the Innovation Age may be required to embrace changes if such change add value, benefit, and capability to the final outcome, in a way similar to program management.

  1. Now that you had identified your deliverable and the purpose each deliverable served. You may wish to consider the components of each deliverable, e.g. the “game table” will include a minimum of six chairs. Therefore each deliverable may consist of single or multiple components to serve your purpose.

Analyze and design the components, not modules (please refer to Part II published in December issue of PMWJ, 2013) of each deliverable with the objectives of serving one single function. This formed the foundation of components replacement for future system maintenance/expansion requirement. This process focus around components interface management for the final project objectives.

  1. The next thing you may consider is the appearance of your deliverable so that they can fit the room nicely and comfortably. How do you like your deliverable to appear becomes your next consideration! Do you want your game table with velvet covered top? Should it be round or square? Foldable? How these will fit together?

Create the business procedures how the systems is to be used once it is delivered. Design the UI and Data relationship (this is a form of creating interface management focus between components for the system once implemented, as part of the Incubation Phase of the Disposable System Development and Management Model explained in future articles).

  1. Now that you know what components are appropriate for your purpose, you can start building, procure, or search from your own backyard storage. You can even consider finding someone to build it for you if you let that someone become your weekly game player.

This is the Creation Phase of the Disposable System Development and Management Model that enable PM to determine if such component should be in-house develop, out-source, procure, or commission to business partners depends on timeline and budget of the project.

  1. Finally, Put the deliverable inside the room and see if you are satisfied. Make adjustments if necessary to make sure you are happy about it. If it all serves your original purpose, then you have a little hide-away with your buddies once a week.

Eventually all components will be integrated and test in live environment before sign-off, as the final Demonstration Phase of the Disposable System Development and Management Model explained in future articles.

Does it sound like a project? It is indeed!

But wait ….. What is the project scope and requirement? Why don’t we manage it like a project by defining the project scope, identify the requirements, plan the execution, build the deliverables and finally deliver?

This is exactly what we face when asked to deliver an ICT project today. Unlike before when the project beneficiary knew exactly what they wanted in the automation age, e.g. build an accounts receivable system to replace the current manual procedure. Or able to identify what information they wished to consolidate for expense identification purpose during the information age.


To read entire article (click here)

Editor’s note: This series of articles is by Professor Hubert Vaughan, recently retired from Tsinghua University in Beijing, and is based on his research over the last ten years during which he has developed some new approaches for managing major information and communication technology projects.

About the Author

flag-chinapmwj17-dec2013-vaughan-AUTHOR IMAGEProfessor Hubert Vaughan (Retired) 

Beijing, China

Hubert Vaughan commenced his career in the field of computer technology in early 1972. For thirty years, Hubert practiced and served a number of International technology and financial Organizations including IBM, DEC, Unisys, Tandem, Bell Canada, Andersen Consulting, Lucent Technologies, National Mutual, ANZ Banking Group and Bank of Montreal; holding senior management positions in Technology related services. His career covered the five major continents around the world as Department Manager, Director, Assistant Vice President, and Vice President that spanned across software development, professional services, product development, technology consulting, project/program management, strategic planning as well as business development.

The last ten years, Hubert joined the Academic Institutions in China as Professor at the Institute of International Engineering Project Management (IIEPM) of Tsinghua University. Hubert also lectured at the Graduate School of China Academy of Science, the Beijing University of Aeronautic and Astronautic, teaching Innovation Management, Management of Technology, Program Management, Project management, and Software Engineering.

Apart from his teaching engagements, Hubert is a Research Fellow at the China Academy of Management Science, a member of the International Society of Professional Innovation Management (ISPIM), a former member of PMI’s Certification Governance Council (CGC); a co-founder of First International Innovation Management Alliance (FiiMA), and an Editorial Advisor of professional e-journal PM World Journal. Hubert is a Program Consultant to a number of multi-billion dollar projects run by State-Owned technology organizations and financial institutions in China.

Hubert is a regular presenter at international conferences and seminars in North America, Europe, Middle-East and Asia-Pacific. He had published more than fifty papers related to Software Engineering, Project Management, Program Management, and Innovation Management subjects both in China and in various international professional journals.  Retired from his academic engagement in July 2013, Hubert continues his research work in Innovation Engineering and presents at international events about his research findings throughout his career. He can be contacted at [email protected]