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Methodologies span many disciplines, including project management, analysis, specification, design, coding, testing, and quality assurance.

The first challenge of project management is to make sure that a project is delivered within defined constraints. The second, more ambitious challenge is the optimized allocation and integration of inputs needed to meet pre-defined objectives. A project is a carefully defined set of activities that use resources (money, people, materials, energy, space, provisions, communication, etc.) to meet the pre-defined objectives.

Project development stages

The project development process will have major stages: initiation, development, production or execution, and closing/maintenance.


The initiation stage determines the nature and scope of the development. If this stage is not performed well, it is unlikely that the project will be successful in meeting the businessís needs. The key project controls needed here are an understanding of the business environment and making sure that all necessary controls are incorporated into the project. Any deficiencies should be reported and a recommendation should be made to fix them. The initiation stage should include a cohesive plan that encompasses the following areas:

  • Study analyzing the business needs in measurable goals.
  • Review of the current operations.
  • Conceptual design of the operation of the final product.
  • Equipment requirement.
  • Financial analysis of the costs and benefits including a budget.
  • Select stake holders, including users, and support personnel for the project.
  • Project charter including costs, tasks, deliverables, and schedule.

Planning and design

After the initiation stage, the system is designed. Occasionally, a small prototype of the final product is built and tested. Testing is generally performed by a combination of testers and end users, and can occur after the prototype is built or concurrently. Controls should be in place that ensure that the final product will meet the specifications of the project charter. The results of the design stage should include a product design that:

  • Satisfies the project sponsor, end user, and business requirements.
  • Functions as it was intended.
  • Can be produced within quality standards.
  • Can be produced within time and budget constraints.

Closing and maintenance

Closing includes the formal acceptance of the project and the ending thereof. Administrative activities include the archiving of the files and documenting lessons learned. Maintenance is an ongoing process, and it includes:

  • Continuing support of end users
  • Correction of errors
  • Updates of the software over time
  • In this stage, auditors should pay attention to how effectively and quickly user problems are resolved.