By definition every project is unique and it is often this uniqueness that drives the benefits and competitive advantage derived from their successful implementation. However, as with every unique piece in a jigsaw, every project is also part of the overall vision and makeup of the organisation implementing it. What is required is a structure or framework that recognises that uniqueness but provides the controls to ensure the bigger picture is addressed. The core components of the framework are set out below.
A well-defined governance structure is essential for the effective delivery of change. The governance component of the framework provides a disciplined and auditable approach to project portfolio selection, gateway approvals, key performance indicators and clear issue and risk escalation processes. It also sets clear roles, responsibilities, policies and standards within which programme and project managers can operate. ARRA-pm have experience in:
- Defining governance structures
- Planning and control processes
- Project/portfolio selection
- Programme structures
- Programme/Project Management Office (PMO) set-up and running
- Reporting and control systems
- Governance structure reviews
To some project managers the word ‘methodology’ conjures up visions of reams of needless documentation. To poor project managers it represents a crutch to get them through the day. But a good, experienced project manager recognises the value in the framework a methodology brings. It is a guide that can facilitate repeatable success and eliminate failure. For the inexperienced it provides guidance, but should never be followed by rote. TCL have experience in developing, tailoring and implementing many different methodologies, including PRINCE2. We also offer tailored training, because its usually how a methodology is implemented that’s the problem rather than the methodology itself.
Projects introduce change and this brings with it risks. Successful delivery depends on identifying, managing and, where appropriate, mitigating those risks. It is important to understand the risk profile of each project from the outset. ARRA-pm have an initial risk assessment process that looks at a number of aspects of the project and the organisation to determine the underlying risk of the project. This can be used to determine the level of control, the level of contingency, the amount of management focus, the required experience of the project manager and team and the degree of independent assurance needed to optimise performance and the chances of success.
Once underway, the continuous identification, monitoring and management of the risks and issues faced by the project is a critical discipline. Key to the success of this is a culture of openness and honesty and a willingness at all levels of the organisation to tackle risks and issues as they arise. ARRA-pm have extensive project risk management experience and run specialist training courses in the subject.
An internal review of major change programmes within an international bank revealed that all programmes that had some form of independent review process embedded in the programme’s management approach had a status of green. i.e. The programmes were on track with no significant risks or issues outstanding that might de-rail the project. All other programmes (i.e. those without any independent review process) were either amber, some issues to be addressed, or red, requiring urgent management attention.
Properly constituted, the role of Independent Assurance can be a powerful aid to successful delivery. It should not be seen as ‘the auditors checking up on the project manager and his team’ but as a bridge between the project manager and the Project Board. On the one hand providing help and advice to the project manager and on the other providing assurance to the Project Board that progress is as reported.
At ARRA-pm we have extensive experience of undertaking project reviews, providing advice and guidance to projects and setting up Assurance functions. In addition we offer an outsourced Independent Assurance service.
Project/Programme Management Office (PMO)
A key part of building your project management capability is to move from an ad-hoc approach to managing projects to a more consistent, structured approach to project delivery. Many organisations have found the establishment of a fit-for-purpose project/programme management office (PMO) is the most effective way to achieve this. An effective PMO provides the ‘glue’ between the components of your project management capability.