The final project management document in the process 'Starting up a project' is the Project Brief. This is a description of the proposed project in terms of the Business Case, the approach, the products, the planning and the resources. It forms the basis of the process 'Initiating a project'. The available Business Case (D2) is brought up to date and constructed using five additional building blocks.
Project Approach (B7)
This provides a visual representation of the steps in the project and the decisions taken in respect of the approach. Along with the decisions about the approach, the road not chosen is also described. With the development of an information system, you have for example the choice of in-house development or outsourcing. The description of the approach is useful to determine whether you can meet the expectations of the executive and other stakeholders. Suppose the executive had special requirements and the project proposed to select a standard off-the-shelf package, then it would be advisable to have a discussion about the project approach.
Value Chain (B8)
This building block provides a detailed account of the Value Chain (main processes) of the organisation. In the Value Chain all processes that the project possibly might be changing are flagged so that the executive can be clear about those processes that may impact upon the project.
Product Breakdown (B9)
The point of departure of PRINCE2 is product-based planning. The basis of this is the Product Breakdown or Breakdown Structure. This structure describes the most important intermediary and end products of the project. On the basis of the Breakdown, the project manager is able to do the planning of the delivery times of the (intermediary) products. The structure can also provide the basis for dividing the project into partial projects (per product cluster) and work packages (work to be done for an intermediary product).
The project team and the project manager determine the division that is suitable. The division must be simple and clear, and should not raise any new issues. The question of how far you should go with subdivision does not have a clear answer. If parts of a product are complex, or if high quality requirements are established, then a detailed subdivision into parts of the product will be necessary.
To be able to make decisions about the project, insight into the required resources is necessary. In the Project Brief, it is sufficient to provide a rough estimate of the type of job, the level of effort required and the general time frame when the people will be needed.
B5: Risk Analysis
B6: Cost Benefit Analysis
B7: Project Approach
B8: Value Chain
B9: Product Breakdown
With this building block those concerned finally get an overall impression of the total planning of the project and a detailed view of the next process, 'Initiating the project'. The planning must be legible to the executive members and based on the products.
Concrete suggestions and practical tips
• Check on a regular basis within the organisation what opinions there are about the project approach.
• Do not go into more detail of the Project Breakdown than is necessary and useful for management of the project.
• Do not start with a project before the resources are available.
• Discuss their availability and motivation with possible project group members.
• Fine-tune the list of project group members with the executive.
• A condensed planning is sufficient. The project manager can work with a detailed plan, but this has less relevance for the Project Board.
• Record assumptions in the planning.
• Describe exceptions.
• Base the planning on the products, not on the activities.
• Record the milestones in the planning. Milestones are the points of measurement that indicate whether the project is still on track.
• Agree whether amounts should include or exclude VAT.
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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.