Project Management in Octopus

Table of contents

Introduction

At first, the Changes module in Octopus was created to answer some ITIL concepts in the Change Management process. With time, we have suggested to some of our customers to use the module to manage simple operational projects, which was really appreciated, as project tasks are often performed by the same resources as the operations ones.

This article presents how the "Changes" module can be exploited to manage projects without using a more elaborate tool such as Microsoft Project.

Concepts of Project Management

In IT, the main objective of project management is to sustain the evolution and transformation of applications and infrastructure. Some organizations apply a precise project management method, while others only want to integrate their operational projects to the rest of the modules in order to centralize all activities of the operational groups. 

The constant evolution efforts entered in Octopus aim to facilitate the work of the operational teams - the capacity to manage operational projects are part of it. The current version allows to use some features in this direction:

  • An adapted categorization, that separates the notion of Project from the notion of Change
  • An approval process
  • Tasks and activities, as well as the communications from within the project
  • Some notions of impact, cost, risk, communication
  • The ability to attach documents to the project (deliverables for example)

For a simple project management method in Octopus, we suggest using the following project management phases:

1. Initialization

Consists in defining the project, to describe what you want to do, the impacts, risks as well as the estimated costs. This step is used to official formalize the project and includes the approval of the sponsor. 


In Octopus, this means:

  • Creation of a Change
  • Selection of the Project category (or any other "project" type category)
  • Selection of the impact on the infrastructure and on the resources (major impact, significant impact, minor impact)
  • Identification of where the funds come from - the list can be configured according to your context
  • Identification of the estimated costs
  • Identify if the project can be amortized and if so, on how many months
  • Identification of the name of the sponsor in the Submitted by field, and the name of the project manager in the Managed by field
  • Status  Authorization by supervisor in progress
  • Documentation tab
    • Description of the project (what you are planning to do)
    • Identification of the impacts, the summary the costs and the resources, the summary of the risks, the required authorization levels - depending on your criteria, for example, this could be based on the project cost  (- 5000$ = 1 approval, - 15 000$ = 2 approvals, etc.)

2. Planning

In the planning phase, we  increase the accuracy of the project. We proceed to:

  1. A detailed plan of the activities (resources and time) - adding the tasks and the resources assigned
  2. The scope of costs is specified - acquisition costs, estimated effort of resources, estimated efforts of suppliers, additional costs

In Octopus, this means:

  • Create the tasks and assign the groups / Octopus users
  • Indicate the estimated efforts for each task
  • If new elements are introduced to the infrastructure, Create the CI with the status that has been selected (example "Test Period") and add the information to the CI tab. Think about adding the purchase cost and associate the CI to a supplier for maintenance if any
  • Add any additional costs if necessary (note that additional costs do not get added to the Cost field of the project)
  • Status: Under analysis

3. Execution & Control

In the execution & control phase, the project manager sees to:

  1. The execution of the planned activities
  2. The updates from the resources
  3. The Update of the project
  4. Transfer to production

In Octopus, this means:

  • Updates of the execution tasks and documentation by the responsible Octopus users
  • Regular updates of the project - a status of the project could be joined to the Attached files tab
  • All the deliverables - analysis, documentation, results of tests, other - can be attached to the Attached files tab
  • Status: Implementation in progress

4. Closure

During the administrative closure of the project. The project manager:

  1. Checks that all the tasks were properly executed and documented
  2. Checks that all the documents associated to the project have been added to the Attached files tab
  3. Checks that all the tests have adequately been done
  4. Checks that the whole integration to the production environment has been controlled via a change in due form (a change request has been created to this effect)
  5. Joins a review of the project if he wants

In Octopus, this means:

  • All the deliverables are attached to the Attached files tab
  • Status: Completed
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