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Goal-refinement appraisal of soft projects (GRASP)

Boness, K. (2011) Goal-refinement appraisal of soft projects (GRASP). PhD thesis, University of Reading

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Industrial projects are often complex and burdened with time pressures and a lack of information. The term 'soft-project' used here stands for projects where the ‘what’ and/or the ‘how’ is uncertain, which is often the experience in projects involving software intensive systems developments. This thesis intertwines the disciplines of project management and requirements engineering in a goal-oriented application of the maxim ‘keep all objectives satisfied’. It thus proposes a method for appraising projects. In this method, a goal-oriented analysis establishes a framework with which expert judgements are collected so as to construct a confidence profile in regard to the feasibility and adequacy of the project's planned outputs. It is hoped that this appraisal method will contribute to the activities of project ‘shaping’ and aligning stakeholders’ expectations whilst helping project managers appreciate what parts of their project can be progressed and what parts should be held pending further analysis. This thesis offers the following original contribution: an appreciation of appraisal in the project context; a goal-oriented confidence profiling technique; and: a technique to produce goal-refinement diagrams – referred to as Goal Sketching. Collectively these amount to a method for the ‘Goal Refinement Appraisal of Soft-Projects’ (GRASP). The validity of the GRASP method is shown for two projects. In the first it is used for shaping a business investigation project. This is done in real-time in the project. The second case is a retrospective study of an enterprise IT project. This case tests the effectiveness of forecasting project difficulty from an initial confidence profile.

Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Thesis Supervisor:Liu, K.
Thesis/Report Department:School of Systems Engineering
Identification Number/DOI:
Divisions:Science > School of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences > Department of Computer Science
ID Code:20013
Uncontrolled Keywords:GRASP, project, requirements management, soft projects

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