Proposal and Charter for a Knowledge-Sharing Platform

Seminar Paper, 2001

15 Pages, Grade: 93%


Table of Contents


Executive Summary

1 The Project’s Scope
1.1 The Problem
1.2 Project Goals
1.3 Project Objectives and Deliverables
1.4 Most Important Stakeholders
1.5 Success Criteria
1.6 Assumptions and Risks

2 Work Breakdown Structure
2.1 Project Activities
2.2 Activity Relationships
2.3 Skills Required to Carryout the Tasks

3 The Business Case
3.1 Cost and Benefit Analysis
3.1.1 Cost estimate
3.1.2 Benefits
3.1.3 Return on Investment Analysis
3.2 Milestones
3.3 Gantt Chart

4 Viability
4.1 Technical Viability
4.2 Operational Viability

5 Conclusion

6 References

Appendix 1 Fehler! Textmarke nicht definiert


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Executive Summary

Software Corp. has been hired by the Johannes Gutenberg University in Mainz, Germany to develop an online knowledge-sharing platform for its students. The contract has been signed on the 27th of August 2001 and the project must be completed by the 22nd of October 2001. This is due to the university’s promise to provide the system before the semester’s first exams take place.

This proposal examines the details of the project in order to make it run smoothly. It addresses the issues of the project’s scope, activities that have to be conducted throughout the project, financial feasibility, scheduling, and the project’s viability.

To sum things up, we consider the project as feasible and relatively easy to realize. The timeframe is sufficient and the project will provide a return on investment of about 39%, which is outstanding. The project’s risks can be considered as relatively low. Providing the expected functionality will be a challenge, but is definitely achievable because we have exactly the right people and enough time to complete this task.

1 The Project’s Scope

1.1 The Problem

At German universities students usually have to take notes in class, while professors talk and explain things. They then have to learn the relevant topics at home in order to know them for their exams. Of course, they are expected to do additional reading on the topics covered in class. Quite often professors’ knowledge does not reach students due to lack of attention in class or lack of efficient information sharing. Right now, only a few students take the time to create documents out of their private notes and their knowledge, gathered from additional reading and class attendance. Even fewer students publish their documents to other students and if they do so, the majority of their fellow students does not know about these documents. When a documents is shared, students always have to read it completely to judge the document’s quality.

1.2 Project Goals

This project’s aim is to develop an online knowledge-sharing platform for the Johannes Gutenberg University (JGU) in Mainz, Germany. It should enable students to share not only Word documents, but also any other type of file in order to guarantee the sharing of different kinds of knowledge, e.g. summaries of the topics covered in class and answers to old exams or assignments. Nevertheless, the file size has to be restricted to prevent the system becoming a leisure and fun database with videos and music files. Besides, the platform should offer incentives to create and publish relevant documents as well as encourage students to provide high quality documents that are really useful for other students. Furthermore, a rating system should be integrated, to help students to distinguish helpful files from useless files without having to read them. To guarantee user acceptance, the system must be easy to use and accessible over the Internet, so that students can use it from home. Moreover, it must be fast loading and able to handle lots of traffic, because especially before exams the system’s usage is expected to increase significantly.

1.3 Project Objectives and Deliverables

The main deliverable is a web-accessible knowledge-sharing platform that can handle different types of files and lots of traffic. It will consist of a dynamic website programmed in Hypertext Markup Language (HTML) and Personal Home Page (PHP), based on a MySQL database. Furthermore, it will include an incentive system for uploading high quality documents and a rating system for all files stored in the database. This will be realized with user accounts and a credit point system. Users get credit points for rating files they have downloaded, as well as for uploading files. They need these credit points for downloading files. They receive additional credits, if their uploaded documents get good ratings from other users. In addition to that, a help system is required in order to assist new users. Additional deliverables are this proposal, the charter, a detailed project plan, a work breakdown structure (WBS), a detailed cost estimate, different performance reports, as well as a user manual, which all will be given to the client as soon as they are completed in order to establish a good and cooperative relationship (Schwalbe, 2000, p.91). Only the detailed cost estimate will remain in our company because our client is charged a flat rate and does not have to know our internal cost structure. The last deliverable is the training of the people who will be administrating the software at JGU.

1.4 Most Important Stakeholders

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1.5 Success Criteria

The project will be considered as a success, if the product and the other deliverables are delivered in time, i.e. before the 22nd of October 2001. This date is critical, because our client has promised to its students to provide the system one month before the semester’s first exams. In addition to that, the costs for development, deployment, and training of the administrators at JGU must not exceed EUR 52,174, to guarantee our company at least 15% return on investment (ROI). Furthermore, the application must run stable (under five downtimes per month), must run without bugs, and must be in line with the rest of the client’s specifications. If these criteria are fulfilled, the project can be regarded as successful, because then our company will not have any further obligations, like additional bug fixing, which can be very expensive.

1.6 Assumptions and Risks

The main assumption we make, is that we believe that the whole project team is available during the project. Although we have calculated our time frame generously, this leads to the risk of missing the deadline, when people get ill. Furthermore, a major risk is that the university could decide to cancel the whole project. However, we secured ourselves against that by addressing this issue in the contract. An operational risk is, that the client could change the user requirements during the project. Further risks are the system being not secure against data manipulation and loss of data integrity due to hacker attacks or system errors, not easy to maintain, not easy to secure against misuse (e.g. Napster-like file sharing or distribution of propaganda material), and having too much bugs to run stable at the end of the development phase. Additional risks can come from wrong cost estimates, design and programming errors and unclear roles and responsibilities during the project (PMI Standards Committee, 1996, p. 114).

2 Work Breakdown Structure

2.1 Project Activities

1.0 Concept
1.1 Define user requirements
1.2 Define responsibilities and tasks
1.3 Develop incentive system with user accounts and rating system
1.4 Define the whole system’s functionality
1.5 Develop project plan
1.6 Brief development teams

2.0 Database design
2.1 Define tables according to functionality definition
2.2 Define relationships between tables

3.0 Database development
3.1 Implement the database
3.2 Provide structured query language (SQL) statements for queries

4.0 Website design
4.1 Design layout and coordinate with JGU
4.2 Design template for static HTML pages

5.0 Website development
5.1 Use template to design pages in HTML
5.2 Develop dynamic pages with PHP to provide the whole functionality

6.0 Integration of database and website
6.1 Integrate SQL statements in PHP code
6.2 Write user manual

7.0 Testing / bug fixing
7.1 Include sample records in database
7.2 Test the system
7.3 Fix problems

8.0 Deployment
8.1 Set up system at JGU
8.2 Train staff


Excerpt out of 15 pages


Proposal and Charter for a Knowledge-Sharing Platform
UNITEC New Zealand  (Departement of Information Systems and Computing)
Managing Information Technology Projects
Catalog Number
ISBN (eBook)
File size
589 KB
Proposal, Charter, Knowledge-Sharing, Platform, Managing, Information, Technology, Projects
Quote paper
Andreas Thiel (Author), 2001, Proposal and Charter for a Knowledge-Sharing Platform, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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