These plans are then reviewed by the group and combined into a composite project plan. The composite plan, still not completely firm, is approved by each participating group, by the project manager, and then by senior organizational management. Each subsequent approval hardens the plan somewhat, and when senior management has endorsed it, any further changes must be made by processing a formal change order. However, if the project is not large or complex, informal written memoranda can substitute for the change order. The main point is that no significant changes in the project are made, without written notice, following top management's approval. The definition of "significant" depends on the specific situation and the people involved.
The PM generally takes responsibility for gathering the necessary approvals and assuring that any changes incorporated into the plan at higher levels are communicated to, and approved by, the units that have already signed off on the plan. Nothing is as sure to enrage functional unit managers as to find that they have been committed by someone else to alterations in their carefully considered plans without being informed. Violation of this procedure is considered a betrayal of trust. Several incidents of this kind occurred in a firm during a project to design a line of children's clothing. The anger at this change without communication was so great that two chief designers resigned and took jobs with a competitor.
Because senior managers are almost certain to exercise their prerogative to change the plan, the PM should always return to the contributing units for consideration and reapproval of the plan as modified. The final, approved result of this procedure is the project plan, also known as the master plan, or the baseline plan.
A major insurance company decided, as a matter of corporate strategy, that they should embark on a campaign of new product development. Further, they wished to make some other significant changes in their operation, for example, computerization of all forms and records. In order to accomplish these objectives, the Research and Development group, working with senior executives, developed a methodology that formalized the developmental process from the examination of a new idea, through its definition, design, production, and implementation stages. The fol lowing flow chart was developed that spelled out the entire process and denoted a series of "check points" at which progress could be measured and controlled. Company management felt that this methodology for new product project development would help make sure that corporate strategy could be embodied in projects—as well as ensure that projects were consistent with and advanced corporate strategy.
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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.