Business balance

Project initiation and closure See Chapters 8 and 11.

Stage meetings

The project steering group is required to deliver a successful outcome measured by the extent to which the project's realised benefits outweigh the actual costs. It follows that the balance between forecast costs and benefits will vary throughout the life of the project as estimates and actual spend vary. Therefore, the project steering group should schedule a meeting at the beginning of every planned stage of the project to confirm that it remains viable. At the same point, the group can consider the performance of the project during the previous stage and review and approve the plan for the next stage.

A typical agenda for such a meeting would be as follows:

e Review of previous stage, where the project manager shows how the previous stage performed compared with the plan so that the project steering group can formally approve its closure.

e Review of project plan, where the project manager presents an updated project plan to show the effect of changes and variances during the previous stage and thus whether the project steering group's expectations will still be met. If the escalation conditions appear to have been breached, this is an opportunity to alert the portfolio management team. e Review of business case, where the project steering group considers the updated business case to determine the extent to which the project can deliver a profitable outcome. If the escalation conditions appear to have been breached, this is an opportunity to alert the portfolio management team. e Review of next stage plan, where the project manager presents the plan for the next stage so that the project steering group can provide formal approval for the project manager to assume continued control of the project within defined constraints. e Approval of controls, where the project steering group confirms the escalation conditions that will apply to the next stage. This provides an opportunity to limit or increase the project manager's authority.

e Approval to proceed, where the project steering group approves the plans so that the project manager can resume control.

Unscheduled project steering group meetings

These should be necessary only if a breach of the escalation conditions is forecast. Escalation conditions can be put on timescale, costs, quality and benefits so the project steering group can be sure that it will be alerted to extreme matters arising between scheduled meetings. The agenda for the meeting is similar to that of a stage meeting, but the review of the previous stage is replaced by a presentation from the project manager outlining:

e what has happened to require notifying the project steering group;

e the effect on the plan;

e the options available to correct or accommodate the matter;

e the recommended solution and its effect on the plan.

Scheduled project steering group meetings

Some managers are uncomfortable with the concept of management by exception. For them, no news does not always mean good news. Consequently, regular project steering group meetings are held, often every month, although this will depend on the duration of the project and the project steering group's need for contact with their project manager. Given that the meeting is not event-based, the agenda is commonly based around the review and approval of the latest project forecast report from the project manager.

Project Management Made Easy

Project Management Made Easy

What you need to know about… Project Management Made Easy! Project management consists of more than just a large building project and can encompass small projects as well. No matter what the size of your project, you need to have some sort of project management. How you manage your project has everything to do with its outcome.

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