This final assessment before the SHAMPU manage phase and project execute stage begin ought to be straightforward relative to the earlier strategy assessment. However, sometimes 'the devil is in the details'. Adjustments to strategy that are 'refinements' should be expected and accommodated with a minimum of fuss, but they are unwelcome. Adjustments to strategy that require a complete rethink will be seriously unwelcome. 'Better now than later' is a usefully positive frame of mind to adopt, but 'better still if threats or opportunities had been responded to earlier' is the clear message. Stopping the project at this stage will raise questions about the competence of the project team, and threaten careers. It may also raise questions about the RMP and associated project management processes.
Budgets used for financial control purposes are usually part of what is approved at this stage, and associated estimates and controls are related to base plan activity durations and other performance measures. The use of estimates for control purposes requires an understanding of which issues are the responsibilities of which parties and how parties are motivated to behave. Chapman and Ward (2002) explore these concerns in some detail, especially in chaps 4, 5, and 6. Within the SHAMPU process these concerns are addressed in the ownership phase. Final details may receive attention in a lower-level RMP within the harness phase, but strategic issues should have been resolved during the earlier shaping phases.
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