Security Tech Project Survival Test

Security Tech Project Survival Test

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This short test can assess the health of a physical security technology deployment project.

If the test indicates the project is at risk, you can improve its condition by taking steps to raise its score.

You should take the Security Tech Project Survival Test at the start of the project, and then at each significant milestone. Project staffing and conditions can change, especially with large projects. As the project goes forward, more is learned about the technology, the people and the risks related to the project.

Taking the Test

Taking the Security Tech Project Survival Test is easy:

  1. Start by selecting answers for the 37 test questions.
  2. Select the project size and complexity factors that apply to your project.
  3. Press the Calculate My Score button to obtain the Survival Checklist results.
  4. Review the Score Rating and related comments.
This test and its related article on this website were inspired by material in the book Software Project Survival Guide, by Steve McConnell, a leading software project specialist who has written several award-winning books documenting sound software development approaches and best practices.

Requirements

Answer # Question
1. Does the project have a clear, unambiguous vision statement or mission statement of what the project needs to accomplish?
2. Do all team members believe the vision is realistic?
3. Does the project have a business case that details the business benefit (i.e. security-effectiveness and/or cost-effectivness)and how the benefit will be measured?
4. Does an Organizational Security Concept of Operations document exist that presents the security operations capabilities intended by leadership, that the technology will provide or support?
5. Does a Security System Concept of Operations document exist that describes the characteristics of a proposed system from the viewpoint of the individuals who will use that system?
6. Does the project have detailed written requirements that if met, will provide all of the functional capabilities required in the way described in the Concept of Operations documents?
7. Did the project team observe at work and also interview people who will actually use the technology (end users) early in the project and continue to involve them throughout the project?
 

Planning

Answer # Question
8. Does the project have a detailed, written deployment project plan?
9. Was the project plan written by project manager experienced with integrated electronic physical security systems deployment?
10. Does the project’s task list include inspection and test points for each phase of the project, including cable installation (network general and technology-specific), device installation, computer servers and workstations, software applications, device configuration, system integration (with security systems and corporate data systems), system commissioning,  system migration, meetings at specific points with the customer, and other “minor” tasks?
11. Is a 30-Day or 45-Day Operational Test included in the plan, so that the technology can be exercised across a good spectrum of normal operations and incident response uses before the project is considered “complete”?
12. If the project involved Security Operations Center technology, is appropriate Site Testing included so that each and every site alarm and data transaction capability (including live and recorded video for each camera) is verified?
13. Were the schedule and budget estimates officially updated at the end of the most recently completed phase or milestone, as appropriate?
14. Does the project’s plan include collaboration with appropriate IT department touch points, and specific objectives for each topic of collaboration?
15. Does the project include appropriate fallback planning and budgeting, where if the technology or some part of it is not working as expected, so that alternatives (such as expanded security officer presence) can be put into place immediately upon need?
16. Does the project’s planning (both customer and contractor) include time for holidays, vacation days, sick days, and ongoing training, and are resources allocated at less than 100 percent?
17. Will an Ongoing Test Plan be developed as part of the project, so that appropriate testing of duress devices (such as panic buttons), detection sensors (such as intrusion glass break or smoke sensors sensors) will occur to enable maintaining full system operational status going forward?
 

Project Control

Answer # Question
18. Has a single key executive who has decision-making authority been made responsible for the project, and does the project have that person’s active support?
19. Does the project manager’s workload allow him or her to devote an adequate amount of time to the project?
20. Does the project have well-defined, detailed milestones (“binary milestones”) that are considered to be either 100 percent done or 100 percent not done?
21. Can a project stakeholder easily find out which of these binary milestones have been completed?
22. Does the project have a feedback channel by which all project members can identify problems or elevate issues to their own managers and upper managers, with anonymous reporting where organizational dynamics tend to penalize upward disclosure of problems or challenges?
23. Does the project have a written plan for controlling changes to the requirements?
24. Does the project have a Change Control Board that has final authority to accept or reject proposed changes?
25. Are planning materials and status information for the project — including effort and schedule estimates, task assignments, and progress compared to the plan thus far — available to every team member?
26. Is appropriate project management software used for controlling the project?
 

Risk Management

27. Does the project plan articulate a list of current risks to the project? Has the list been updated recently?
28. Does the project have a project risk officer who is responsible for identifying emerging risks to the project?
29. If the project uses multiple contractors, does it have a plan for managing each subcontract organization and a single person in charge of each one? (Give the project full score if it doesn’t use multiple subcontractors.)
 

Personnel

Answer # Question
30. Does the project team have all the technical expertise needed to complete the project?
31. Is the project manager a Certified Security Project Manager (CSPM) or a Project Management Professional (PMP) with significant physical security tech project experience?
32. Does the project team have expertise with the operations environment in which the technology will be utilized?
33. Is there at least one technician factory-certified for each technology that will be installed, configured and commissioned? Have you seen proof that certifications are current?
34. Does the project have a technical leader capable of leading the project successfully?
35. Are there enough people to do all the work required?
36. Does everyone work well together?
37. Is each person committed to the project?
 

Size and Complexity Factors

Select the number of technologies involved in the deployment, including existing technology being integrated.
Select the number of facilities where installation and/or commissioning work will be performed.
Is the project being deployed in one or more security operation centers?
Select the price range that fits your project's anticipated total cost.
You have seen all of the project's new technology working exactly as you want to use it, in at least one other facility.
Select the type of deployment project.
 

Calculation Project Score

Click to update score after making changes above.
None Preliminary score: This is the score before size and complexity are factored in.
None Final score: This is the score that takes into account the project size, complexity and risk factors. Use this score with the Score Rating chart below.
Strength of Success Factors
Requirements
100%
Planning
100%
Project Control
100%
Risk Management
100%
Personnel
100%
 

Score Rating

Your Score: None with no size and complexity drawbacks.  
Score Comments
90+ Outstanding A project with this score is virtually guaranteed to succeed in all respects, meeting its schedule, budget, performance, customer-satisfaction, and other targets.
80 - 89 Excellent A project at this level is performing much better than average. Such a project has a high probability of delivering its technology close to its schedule, budget, performance and customer-satisfaction targets.
60 - 79 Good A score in this range represents a better-than-average level of technology development effectiveness. Such a project stands a fighting chance of meeting either its schedule or its budget target, but it probably won’t meet both.
40 - 59 Fair This score is typical. A project with this score will likely experience high stress and shaky team dynamics, and the deployment will ultimately be delivered with less functionality than desired at a greater cost, a longer schedule, and a higher level of customer dissatisfaction. This kind of project stands to experience the greatest benefit from applying project best practices.
< 40 At Risk A project with this score has significant weaknesses in multiple success factor areas (see the Your Score box above). The primary concern of a project in this category should be whether it will finish at all, or be cancelled and done over.

Project Best Practices

For assistance in selecting the best practices that apply to your particular project, and in obtaining guidance materials, call RBCS at 949-831-6788.