In the previous blog entry I defined Project Governance as:
Project Governance is the process of developing, communicating, implementing, monitoring, and assuring the policies, procedures, organizational structures, and practices associated with a given project.
The combination of these policies, procedures etc make a governance framework to facilitate efficient and effective decision making. Efficiency meaning economically in terms of time and effective being the right decisions for the right problems.
Governance or Project Control is all about decision making and is central to project / programme management. The purpose of control is to ensure that the project or program is producing the required products that meet the defined quality criteria, is being carried out on schedule and as agreed with the resource and cost plans. This also applies equally to programs but adding the requirement to deliver the benefits to meet the program objectives.
The framework could be broken down into its constituent parts such as:
Policies:The policies that help guide the behaviour of the project staff within policy areas.
- Tolerance for a stage overrun within which the PM can accept changes to scope without having to refer to the project board. i.e. the current stage can overrun by 10% of time and 5% of budget without the PM having to raise a exception report to the Steering Committee Executive (Project Board). I will review the concept of tolerance in another post.
- Releasable product: The definition of what constitutes a releasable product i.e. definition of the severity of incidents and the acceptable number at each level for a releasable product.
- Quality Policy
- Expense Policy (could be taken from the corporate policy)
- Scope Management procedure
- Change Management procedure (scope change management)
- Risk Management procedure
- Issue Management procedure
- Work Authorisation procedure
Practices: These are the techniques, processes and methodologies used in the governance of the program / project.
- The use of Stage Gates for program and project control
- Breaking projects into stages to facilitate control
- Using Quality Review Technique for approval of products
- Conducting Project Audits to ensure compliance to procedures
- Conducting weekly project team meetings where progress, issues, risks and work are discussed
- Conducting weekly or as required Change Control Board meetings to discuss the change requests and those that are acceptable are assigned for impact assignment and the impact assessments for those in the pipeline are reviewed and accepted, rejected or escalated for Steering Committee Executive authorisation (with an exception plan showing how the change will effect the project)
Now we have defined the framework from a policy, procedure and practices point of view we need to include an organization structure that provides authorizations, decisions and guidance to the program / project.
PRINCE2 provides a well documented separation of the management of the project from the work needed to produce the products. The fundamental principle is that the project organization has four layers:
- Corporate or Program management
- Direction of the project
- Day-to-day management of the project
- Team management
The next few paragraphs are taken directly from the PRINCE2 manual.
PRINCE2 provides a structure for a project management team that supports
- Roles for decision makers
- Management by exception for the decision makers
- Full time or part time project management
- Controlled delegation of some day-to-day management responsibilities, where required to team managers.
- Roles for independent inspection of all aspects of project performance
- Administrative support, as required to the project manager and team managers
- Agreement by all concerned on what the various roles and responsibilities are
- Lines of communication between the project management team members
The structure is a temporary one designed to manage the project / program to its successful conclusion to meet the requirements of its charter. The structure allows for channels of communication to decision making forums and should be backed up by role descriptions that specify the responsibilities, goals, limits of authority, relationships, skills, knowledge and experience required for all the roles in the project/program organization.
The Project Board is the group responsible for ensuring project/program goals are achieved and providing support for addressing escalated risks and issues.
The three project interests must be represented on the project board at all times.
The project executive / executive sponsor is ultimately responsible for the project supported in the Project Board by the Senior User and Senior Supplier. He or She owns the Business Case and balances the demands of the User, Supplier and Business . Their responsibilities include:
- approve Project Board
- ensuring tolerance is set in the Project Brief
- approving End Project Report and Lessons Learned Report
- organising and chairing Project Board meetings
- acts as communication channel to the Program
- ensuring business assurance is met - i.e. that the project is delivered in time and on budget, meeting the Business Case
- informing the project of any Program influences
The senior supplier is a member of the Project Board along with Project Executive and Senior User. The Senior Supplier represents the interests of those designing, developing, facilitating, implementing and possibly operating theprojects products. They are responsible for:
- agreeing the objectives for the supplier activities
- needs to ensure the project achieves the results required by the Senior User
- ensures that the designs and proposals are realistic within the cost and time parameters for which the Project Executive is accountable
- represents the interests of those designing, developing, procuring, implementing and possibly those maintaining and operating the supplier products
- if there is more than one supplier there may need to be more than one Senior Supplier
The Senior User Represents the Users needs and expectations, ensuring these are meet within the constraints of the Business Case; They are responsible for:
- Promoting and maintaining focus on the desired project outcome
- should re-evaluate the priority of a Project Issue after impact analysis
- can be asked by the Project Manager to canvas the Project Board for agreement to implement a Project Issue
- is accountable for any products supplied by the Users (i.e. defined requirements)
- providing User resources and ensuring that the solution will meet User needs within the constraints of the Business Case
- ensuring the products and outcomes provide the expected User benefits
- Project Assurance from a User perspective
- May be represented in some cases by more than one person
A Program Board can have a slightly different composition depending on what type of program it is. However the basic responsibilities are the same as the project board with each perspective being taken into account on program decisions.
Primary responsibilities of the Program Board / Steering Committee Executive are:
- Appoints and defines delegated authority of: the Program Manager, Program Executive, Program Director and Program Assurance (if delegated by the Program Sponsor)
- Approves budgets and sets financial tolerances
- Monitors overall Program progress and ensures corrective action is taken as required
- Monitors overall financial status and ensures action is taken as required
- Owns overall Program changes, risks, issues, dependencies and constraints and ensures appropriate action is taken
- Ensures the Program is aligned with the needs of both the Client’s and the Supplier’s Businesses (win:win) and will achieve the objectives that have been set
- Sets and monitors priorities for the Program
- Approves proposed changes to the Program scope and subsequent Program plans and time-scales
The Program Manager reports to the Steering Committee Executive and Executive Sponsor. The role manages overall program delivery and carries out day-to-day management of the Program. It is the key link betwee projects and the Program.
Primary responsibilities are:
- Provides the program team with direction and ensures effective communication of that direction (leadership).
- Ensures that the program management environment is put in place (e.g. relevant evelopment processes are implemented effectively across the program).
- Ensures adequate resourcing of the Program and constituent Projects
- Secures Contractor/Supplier resources for the Program
- Monitors changes in the Program component projects.
- Monitors risks, focussing on dependencies and constraints between projects.
- Ensures that the constituent projects interface successfully with each other and with the wider business environment (i.e. that dependencies and interfaces between them are managed at a program level).
- Addresses cross-project issues including resourcing conflicts (e.g. staff, business time, release slots) and declared or actual slippage against dependencies and program level deliverables.
- Authorises and monitors expenditure of the Program budget (in line with the agreed delegated financial authority)
- Agrees appropriate program level deliverables (e.g. technical and quality strategies)
- Liaises with Program Assurance as appropriate.
- Reports program status to the Program Board and Program Executive
The Program Office Manager reports to the Program Manager, with overall responsibility for the Program Office which is a key function providing a ‘centre of excellence’ for the program and its delivery objectives. Integration and consistency of information is vital for informing management decisions, The Program Office is responsible for all aspects of information and knowledge management across the program.It is possible for this role to be extended to cover the wider aspects of Program Control.
Primary responsibilities are:
- Manages the following functions at Program level
o Program Plan
o Program Budget
- Provides the Program with specific Programme/Project Management processes, procedures and standards for the production of:
o Program Plans
o Project Plans
o Work Packages (Projects)
o Highlight Reports
o Program Board status reports
- Maintains an accurate and timely record of Program status in terms of:
o Work Packages
o Products Delivered
o Risks and Issues
o Resources (timesheets)
- Ensures that the Product Review process for the Program is managed efficiently and effectively
- Manages the Program Document Library and ensures that it is available at the point of use
The Business Change Manager provides valuable user-side input and assurance to the projects within the program. The business change manager may even fulfill the senior user role for some programs. The role of the business change manager often call the Change Agent has responsibility for benefits definition and management throughout the program.
The typical responsibilities of a Business Change Manager are:
- Ensure Program meets sponsoring group’s requirements
- Work with Program director and Project Managers to deliver and sustain the defined benefits for the areas they are responsible for
- Work with the Program Manager to identify how the benefits will be realised and sustained
- Work with the program manager to ensure that the portfolio of projects, initiatives or work packages that the program contains will provide the ability to deliver the required program benefits
- Assist the program manager to identify benefits that may be common to more than one program / project
- Assist the Program Manager in identifying any duplicated activities that may exist in the portfolio in respect of realising benefits
- Plan and implement any preparatory work needed to ensure the areas that they are responsible for are prepared to deal with any revised business processes or ways of working that are required to achieve the defined benefits
- Establish the way that the benefits will be delivered and how the impact of these benefits can be assessed.
- Ensure that as the projects, initiatives or work packages are delivered the business areas achieve the planned improvements in new or existing business processes
- Lead all the activities needed to achieve the benefits and ensure that activities are in place to ensure sustainability
Business change managers should also have the change management skills amd enough experience to be able to bring order to complex situations and maintain focus on the programs objectives.
Establishing the optimum organization for a program means defining the roles and responsibilities and governance structures. The organization, structures and roles discussed in this blog provide the basis for effective project / program management. They are not intended to be used as is but with some tailoring to suit the project and program. This can be done as part of the project / program initiation stages.