Our Approach to Projects
As organisations change, more people are getting involved in managing projects. Projects are simply the best way to manage the introduction of such changes. Some of these projects will be major organisational-wide projects and IT projects, some medium-sized cross directorate, and some will be smaller projects local to a particular area.
All organisations that manage projects on a regular basis develop a set of "groundrules" that summarise the way projects are managed in their organisation. The following are the our groundrules. They will apply to all projects but will need to be tailored to suit a particular project.
In most cases the major organisation-wide and IT projects will be managed within the PRINCE2 project management methodology. However, that methodology is not entirely suited to all medium-sized and smaller projects and the approach described here should be followed. It is simpler and more flexible but is compatible in that it follows the same principles and approaches.
1. Projects are best managed through a broad structure of stages.
All projects are best managed through a broad structure of stages.
- For major organisation projects-wide and IT projects PRINCE2 should be
- For medium-sized projects the following stages are recommended:
- For smaller local projects, the following simplified framework may be best suited:
2. Project Organisation
- Generally, projects should have a formal Project Manager and Project Sponsor
- The Project Manager is responsible for delivery of the project. To be chosen on the basis of skills, capability and knowledge of the project task, and their ability to get things done.
- The Project Sponsor is responsible for looking after the project and the outcomes on behalf of the organisation, and supporting the project manager. The sponsor may be an individual or a group.
3. Project Proposal
Major and medium-sized projects should generally start with a Project Proposal stage. This covers the initial work involved in looking at the issues and options to establish "this is what we will do and what we will deliver", and results in a Project Brief. After this is agreed, the project is formally started.
4. Projects are always Scoped
The Project Proposal stage establishes what the project is to deliver. The Project Scoping stage is to plan and organise that delivery.
All projects to have a Project Scoping stage where the project manager has the opportunity to scope the project. This stage will normally last a few days (or weeks for larger projects).It will focus on clarifying:
- what the project objectives and terms of reference are,
- what the issues are,
- how the project should be organised and tackled - what tasks, what resources needed, what the schedule should be.
The conclusions should be summarised in a brief (typically two to five pages) Project Plan or Project Scoping Report.
5. Project Plan or Project Scoping Report
A brief two to five page document which describes what the project is to achieve and how it will be organised and tackled. It should cover the following:
- Terms of Reference and Objectives
- Benefits & Costs - benefits to be realised and costs and disruption to be contained.
- Top Level Plan - showing planned progress in terms of stages, milestones and activities.
- Project Organisation - showing who is involved and the key responsibilities - project manager, project sponsor, team and contributors.
- Risks and implementation issues which may occur.
6. Project Control & Reporting
- Project Control.
Project progress needs to be monitored and controlled. Progress control needs to be established to suit the particular project. This is normally achieved via discussion, meetings, and project reports.
- Project Reporting
There are four main project reports used in project management - project brief, project plan, progress report, post-project review. All projects should have a project plan. The other reports can be used if required.
- Key Procedures
As well as project specific procedures, the project manager will need to follow particular organisation-wide procedures, such as Contracts, Finance, IT, and Human Resources.
7. Projects may be coordinated within Programmes
Many organisations coordinate individual projects via a number of strategic programmes. Each programme is built from a portfolio of inter-related projects, all contributing to a common outcome. In most organisations, some projects are coordinated and sponsored in this manner.
If you want more on the Project Management concepts used in this, you can read more details via the links to "Five Project Stages" and "Project Organisation".
For full details use the link to "Project Management Concepts" in the side menu to the left.