Project Stages

It is sensible to divide large projects into more manageable segments. PRINCE 2 caters for this through the idea of Stages. These arc subsets of the project activities and are managed as a sequences of individual units. Normally, the Project Manager will, at any one time, be authorized by the Project Board to execute only the current Stage. The Project Manager will be able to start the next Stage only when the Project Board has met to give its approval for the plans for that Stage. The end of a Stage signals a decision point when the l*roject Board will review the progress to date and reassure itself that the project is still viable from a business point of view - in particular, that the expected benefits are still likely to justify the projected costs.

The typical system development life cycle contains a number of phases, where each phase makes use of different specialist techniques. These technical phases might he the typical Waterfall steps outlined in Chapter I: requirements analysis and specification, logical design, physical design, build, testing and installation. It is convenient in many cases for the management Stages specified by PRINCE 2 to be mapped onto these technical phases, but the PRINCE 2 standards are at pains to stress that it is not always convenient to do this - for instance the project might be more manageable if more than one technical phase were combined to create a Stage.

As will be explained in more detail in the following section on 'Starting a project*, at the beginning of a project a Project Plan will be created which will give the envisaged Stages. Only the first of these Stages will need to have a detailed Stage Plan immediately available. For the later stages, it is better to complete the detailed Stage Plan just a little while before the Stage is due to start. In that way, the Stage Plan can take account of a more complete picture of the project: at the beginning of the project, for example, it would be impossible to plan the system building stage in detail when the system requirement has not yet been clearly defined.

Once the Stage has been authorized and its execution has been embarked upon, the Project Board should not need to meet as long as any deviations from planned time and cost are only minor and are within laid-down project tolerances. It should be sufficient for members of the Project Board to receive regular reports from the Project Manager. If the Project Manager becomes aware that these tolerances are likely to he exceeded, then they have a responsibility to produce an Exception Report for the Project Board. If the problems are serious enough to undermine the Stage Plan, then the Project Manager might then be required to produce a modified Stage Plan, or more properly an Exception Plan, which the Project Board will need to approve formally. In extreme circumstances the Project Board might at this point to decide to terminate the project prematurely.

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.

Get My Free Ebook

Post a comment