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The Anatomy of a Project Diagnosis

As a business, you probably have a good idea of where you want to be. A mission, a precise vision of your evolution and your objectives make up the basis of any project.

Yet it can get complicated when it comes to defining the elements you need to work on so that you can target the tasks needed to ensure your project meets a set need and brings added value to your company, as well as being profitable. Developing a concrete and realistic action plan is therefore a crucial stage of any project as it determines the project’s success. And that’s where project diagnosis comes in!

Definition

When you roll out a project — however big or small — you have to take certain steps: diagnosis, analysis, and implementation.

But how does the diagnosis differ from the analysis?

First off, project diagnosis is defined as being the very first stage of any project, and it comes long before project analysis. It’s the first stage of project methodology. It focuses on the overall context of your project and clearly specifies the initial situation. It enables you to then pinpoint your business’s various needs. It is therefore used to identify which of your business’s needs (out of all of your ideas and requests) are real and will substantially improve your company’s performance. You can use your project diagnosis to shelf the less urgent needs or those that don’t bring any real added value to your operations.

Project diagnosis is therefore different from analysis because of its high-level character. It gives you the chance to see the complete picture without falling into the exhaustive description of tasks that you need to plan. As a result, you get to see exactly which customizations you should implement into your solution and what impact and advantages your solution will bring to your company.

Carrying out a project diagnosis has many advantages, including:

  • Obtaining a very precise estimate of your project and budget;
  • Reporting back on the state of the current situation;
  • Evaluating processes and developing scenarios;
  • Realistically pinpointing your needs and therefore enabling you to centre your project around real needs rather than false needs;
  • Effectively managing issues and expectations;
  • A project diagnosis constitutes a feasibility study at a lower cost than analysis, in the sense that you first need to pinpoint the solution required in order to reach your goals;
  • It enables you to better define priorities;
  • and you’ll obtain the overview you need to better identify the project partners and participants.

When Is It Needed?

Think about project diagnosis as the list of ingredients and materials needed to perfect the recipe. A project diagnosis enables you to list the elements needed to prepare your favourite recipe, whereas the analysis takes each of the listed elements one by one and describes how to prepare, cut or cook them. Obviously, both the list and the method are needed!

Therefore, a diagnosis is needed in order to provide a complete analysis. As with all diagnoses, you shouldn’t apply a solution to an ill-defined problem.

If you already know exactly what your business’s need is and know which solution can help, a diagnosis is perhaps not necessary, as you’ve already got your ingredients list! In this case, you can skip the diagnosis stage and start with the analysis.

To sum up, a project diagnosis is the ideal method for a client who wants to obtain a precise budget for a not-yet-precise need.

Effectively Diagnosing a Project’s Needs

The diagnosis—made up of three analysis meetings depending on the size and complexity of your company—enables Gestisoft to precisely determine the work plan that will be presented to you, and to validate if the proposed solution is well and truly adapted to your needs.

Do you need to integrate another product to your solution? Do you need to customize some of the configurations of your solution? All of these questions and more will be answered during the diagnosis. This will lead to an exhaustive list of elements which you will then need to extensively analyze.

The delivery of the diagnosis, more commonly called the statement of work, lists the different customizations and configurations that need to be carried out, the modules that will be added and configured, the risks that have been identified as well as their methods of mitigation. You will be left with a detailed work plan containing all of the project’s tasks.

The work plan itself is an excellent tool to define the change and expectation management activities you’ll need to plan for, as well as the associated costs. Furthermore, you’ll be able to define the advantages your project will bring through the indicators you’ll have identified during the diagnosis process. There’s no denying it, the budget always plays a massive decisive role in a project!

In practice, during this stage, you’ll need to carry out a high-level evaluation that should include:

  • Comparing your project to other similar projects that have already been implemented with regards to the actions taken and their impact;
  • Documentary research;
  • Meeting with subject-matter experts;
  • Developing a brief summarizing the stages of the project.

A properly performed diagnosis is therefore the best possible basis for an outstanding analysis. As you will have already identified the issues or elements requiring work as well as their improvements, you will be better positioned to tackle the analysis stage and ensure great success when implementing your project.

Gestisoft offers a diagnosis solution that adapts to the biggest and smallest projects. Ask our sales team for more details about how we can help you through this crucial stage.

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