1. Understand the Requirements

    1. What is the purpose for the database? Why is it needed?
    2. Does the organization have the hardware in place to run a database?
    3. Does the database need to grow with the organization?
    4. Are there security issues associated with the database?
    5. What is the estimated size of the database?
    6. What staff will need access? How many read only? How many will need to edit and update?
    7. What type of reports are needed?

2. Identify Internal vs. External Needs

    1. Is an internal force driving the needs for the database or external?
    2. Ask support, program, and top management to document their programmatic needs for a database; how will the database assist them in their work?
    3. Will your members, affiliates, donors, board members, committee members or the public need access? What type of access?

3. Identify Project Personnel

    1. Name someone as the main contact for the organization.
    2. Involve staff from all levels who will be using the database (support, program, top management)

4. Decide if the Database will be on the Local Area Network or Web Based

    1. Prepare a table comparing features, benefits and costs of putting the database on the local area network vs. the Web
    2. Include in your analysis — access, security, programming time, software and hardware issues, personnel costs, maintenance costs

5. Decide if the Database will be Custom Designed or an Off the Shelf Product

    1. Once you have identified your needs this will be an easy decision.
    2. Custom designed may be more expensive but you have more flexibility; you also must rely on a programmer for modifications
    3. Most off the shelf products have a larger user base, have been tested, but can not be modified. Also check out their technical support.

6. Set a Time Table for Completion of the Project

    1. Once a time-table has been established, notify all staff in writing.
    2. It’s good to center the completion date around a major organization event; this gives you a chance to go live to test the database.

7. List all Costs associated with the Project

    1. Include time for information gathering
    2. Software Costs (licensing and server versions)
    3. Hardware costs (server and workstation speed, memory, disk space)
    4. Hosting costs
    5. Maintenance Fees
    6. Modifications
    7. Upgrades
    8. Training

8. Begin Implementation

    1. Do not spend too much time setting up task forces, committees and meetings; within two-three months make a decision and begin implementation

9. Identify Training Needs at the Administrative and Staff Levels

    1. Training should be 20% of the overall costs for the database project
    2. Make certain you get a training manual whether its off the shelf or custom designed
10. Recommend how Ongoing Maintenance & Support will be Handled
    1. Identify who will manage the database? Will this be done internally or externally?
    2. Who will update and modify records?
    3. How will modifications to the database be handled?

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