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Tech Project Questions to Ask: Why? Who? What? When? and How?
December 18, 2012 - 9:00pm

Say you are about to initiate a new edtech project. Maybe you have been asked by your leadership to roll out a new service, say a MOOC, a lecture capture rollout, a media management project, or a new help desk, or a new blended learning program.   

Or perhaps you are initiating and leading a project, and you need a way to communicate the rationale and frame the resources needed to your end users and stakeholders.   

What are the questions that you should ask about tech projects?  What questions should you be asking yourself before you embark on a new tech project?  How should you frame your communication about this project going forward?

Some Ideas:

Why? Why are we doing this project?  What are the goals of the project?  How do these goals align with institutional, school, or department strategic goals?  Why are we initiating this project now?  

Who? Who is the client for the project?  Who is the project sponsor?  Who will the customers and stakeholders be?   Who is the team that will be supporting the project after launch?   Whose operations will this project impact?  Who is providing the resources for planning, managing, and supporting this project?  Who will be responsible for communicating with stakeholders about the project?  Who do we need to communicate with during the planning, running and evaluation of the project?  

What? What are the resources being devoted to the project?  How many FTEs?  How many dollars?   Which team members will be assigned?  For how long?   What is it okay not to do (opportunity cost) due to this project?  What do we expect to learn?  What are we not doing by starting this project?  What would be the costs and benefits of not starting this project?  What are the risks?  What other questions about this project should I be asking?

When? When will the project go live?  When will we start communicating about the project?   When will the resources that are needed be secured?   When will we have a window to initiate this new project given current operational needs?  When can we manage any scheduled downtime that this new product or service may cause?  

How? How do we plan to recoup the costs (direct, indirect, and opportunity) for the project?  How will this project be evaluated?  How will we prioritize this project within our portfolio of other projects?  How will we manage any changes on campus that will result from this project?  How will we recognize, communicate, and mitigate the risks associated with this project?

What other questions would you add to this list?


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