If projects are to thrive, they need people who will promote them actively. The business case described earlier is the sales pitch. The document itself
will not sell the merits of the project, or make decisions about when and whether the project should start or stop. This is the role of its sponsors, and those charged with delivering a beneficial result. However, the discipline of project management also requires sponsorship. Given that not everyone will be instantly persuaded of the merits of this way of working, enough senior and authoritative individuals in the organisation must be prepared to endorse the approach and maintain its influence and value.
This is a defined and clearly articulated approach to project management. Sometimes it is called a methodology and is often a document that describes the processes, responsibilities and deliverables involved in the approach. Methods can be wildly misunderstood. They can be considered too expensive, too bureaucratic or too restrictive. It is important that the value of a particular systemised approach is properly considered before it is either backed or dispensed with.
A methodology is a support for management, not a substitute for it. It is only useful when applied. No value will come from an operating manual nobody uses.
A systemised approach usually includes:
e an overview to articulate the methodology sufficiently well to describe its scope and demonstrate how the parts hold together;
e a list of project roles and responsibilities to outline the expectations placed on the key stakeholders; e procedures describing the steps people must take to make the project a success; e a list of results describing what the procedures must produce; e templates to outline the look and feel of the most common deliverables;
e examples that provide guidance on what a completed template might look like;
e hints and tips to serve as a body of reference for answers to questions that are likely to come up.
Most companies would use a book like this or an industry-standard project management methodology as the starting point for creating their own tailored approach. There are plenty of methodologies that focus on information technology (it) projects. Surprisingly, there are few off-the-shelf pure project management methodologies available. A leading example of a pure project management approach is prince.*
prince (an acronym derived from Projects IN Controlled Environments) recognises projects as endeavours that may take place in a variety of environments, both technical and non-technical. It was originally developed in the 1980s by the UK's Central Computer and Telecommunications Agency (ccta) as standard for it project management. However, it was quickly recognised as an approach that could be tailored to the needs of almost any project. Its wide use identified improvements and changes that were incorporated in prince2/ which was released in 1996 and is used in more than 50 countries.
Whichever method an organisation chooses, it must satisfy important criteria. It should be:
e successfully used elsewhere;
e robust, internally consistent and free of evident fault; e clear enough to be sold and communicated to others, readily and easily understandable;
* PRINCE® is a Registered Trade Mark and a Registered Community Trade Mark of the Office of Government Commerce, and is Registered in the US Patent and Trademark Office. t PRINCE2™ is a Trade Mark of the Office of Government Commerce.
e viable - it must be able to promise real value in return for the investment made in it; e scaleable - as it must serve a range of projects that vary in size, complexity and risk; e relevant - because it should cover the wide discipline of project management. There are many methodologies that focus on a limited technical approach to project management that may be relevant only to those technical projects.
Any organisation may have within it a project manager or two. Whether the wider organisation is literate in the language of project management is another matter, yet the whole organisation's structure has a part to play in making project management effective. If the organisation structure is unsupportive, projects are more likely to fail.
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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.