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SMART planning is:
     S: Specific
    M: Measurable
    A: Attainable
    R: Risk Informed
    T: Timely

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Alternatives Milestone

Last updated: 5 December 2016

    The first decisional milestone during the feasibility study is the Alternatives Milestone where the Project Delivery Team (PDT) presents a clear and logical formulation and evaluation rationale that indicates the PDT is making risk-informed decisions and has a clear direction on next steps to complete the study.

    What Does a SMART Feasibility Study Look Like

    When the PDT has formulated a focused array of alternatives and identified the criteria that will be used to evaluate and compare alternatives to reach the Tentatively Selected Plan milestone, they are ready for the Alternatives Milestone Meeting.

    To reach this point, the PDT narrows the initial array of alternatives to be considered by addressing critical risks identified in the risk register and reducing uncertainty about planning decisions regarding the array of alternatives that are carried forward for further analysis and evaluation. This may require additional data collection, engagement of the Planning Centers of Expertise, etc. The PDT should continue strategic interactions with the vertical team (including the RIT, ATR lead and OWPR lead) during in-progress reviews (IPRs) and informal communication, as needed. District Quality Control will be engaged in this earliest phase of the study.

    The PDT is also identifying the criteria that will be used to evaluate the alternatives based upon the objectives of the study.

    When the PDT has formulated a focused array of alternatives and identified the criteria that will be used to evaluate and compare alternatives to reach the Tentatively Selected Plan milestone, they are ready for the Alternatives Milestone Meeting.

    To reach this point, the PDT narrows the initial array of alternatives to be considered by addressing critical risks identified in a “risk register” and reducing uncertainty about planning decisions regarding the array of alternatives that are carried forward for further analysis and evaluation. This may require additional data collection, engagement of the Planning Centers of Expertise, etc. The PDT should continue strategic interactions with the vertical team (District, MSC, Headquarters, and Planning Centers of Expertise) during in-progress reviews (IPRs) and informal communication, as needed. Quality Control and Quality Assurance processes are underway, even in this earliest phase of the study.

    The PDT is also identifying the criteria that will be used to evaluate the alternatives based upon the objectives of the study.

    The PDT will continue to update the study’s risk register and associated decision management plans, as needed, to identify the level of detail (models, data, etc.) to be used to evaluate and compare alternatives, or when additional data may be needed to reduce unacceptable uncertainty associated with an alternative.

    The Alternatives Milestone meeting ensures the Vertical Team’s and, specifically, Headquarters’ understanding of the focused array of alternatives and the criteria that will be used to evaluate and compare alternatives to reach the Tentatively Selected Plan milestone.

    Before the Alternatives Milestone meeting, the PDT should have:

    • Updated the Risk Register.
    • Updated the team’s process documents and tools as needed with the next steps of the study – the decision management plan, review plan, project management plan, etc. The decision management plan should be focused on the needs of the study and focus on the decisions to be made; it will inform the Project Management Plan.
    • Updated the project study issue checklist and report summary, which will be read-aheads for the Alternatives Milestone meeting

    At the milestone meeting, the PDT will produce an updated decision log and draft Memorandum for Record (MFR) of the meeting documenting decisions and agreements.

    These risk management tools – the report summary, the risk register, the project management plan and review plan, and the decision log – will be carried forward throughout the study.

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