List five key phases of a typical life cycle and describe the activities undertaken during each of them
a) Concept phase
b) Definition phase
c) Development phase
d) Handover and closure
e) Benefits realisation
a) The Concept phase includes everything from the start right up to the production of the business case. It includes the feasibility and the “optioneering” to arrive at the chosen solution for taking forward into the project. The business case is owned by the project sponsor and may not be final and will need updating during the definition phase. The project manager will assist the sponsor with the business case.
b) Definition phase the project manager will produce the project project management plan (PMP) and include components such as risk, issue, change, plan and quality management. The PMP documents the project and deliverables it will produce. Any changes to the business case needs to be reflected in the PMP and vice versa.
c) Development phase covers the construction of the various components for the end product of the project i.e. development of software as documented in the definition phase. This phase might have many stages, separated by the stage reviews to evaluate the progress. The primary outputs are the deliverables/products of the project.
d) Handover is the process of handing over the project/products for practical use (i.e. handover of a new system). During this process the users will confirm that the product meets their specifications (as defined at the start of the project). Formal acceptance will take place. Procedure on how to deal with any issues arising will have to be in place. During closure a lessons learnt workshop will be conducted to capture lessons for any future projects. Archiving documentation will take place.
e) Benefits realisation is part of the extended project life cycle and allows the sponsor to report on the beneficial outcome of the project. Projects exists so that longer term benefits can be derived. We build a new railway line so that more people can travel from place to place for example.
Explain what is meant by project governance
Project governance is the framework by which an organisations projects are run. It contains the procedures, processes, policies, responsibilities that define the management and control of projects so that projects can operate in a pre-determined and controlled manner ensuring the board of the organisation have effective oversight.
Explain four effects there might be on the organisation’s projects if project governance is not implemented adequately
a) If an organisation does not have the governance to provide direction to a project, the deliverables on a project may not meet the benefits. If benefits in a business case are not clearly stated then the project are in danger of not producing the benefits that the user expect. An example will be replacing an old IT system with a new system but the user interface of the system is not fit for purpose then there is no benefit for the user.
b) If governance are not implemented adequately then Portfolio sponsorship may not be carried out effectively resulting in a lack of understanding whether a project forms part of the overall strategy, potentially wasting time, cost and resources that could be utilised on other projects that conform to the strategy.
c) Another effect of inadequate governance could be an increase in risk exposure for the organisation. Project governance encourages open and honest disclosure between the project manager and the organisation even when things go wrong with the project. Failure to do so can lead to projects continuing when they shouldn’t or in the wrong direction exposing the organisation to risk.
d) Another effect can be the success of the project being detrimental due to the competency of the resources involved in the project. If governance is not executed effectively then individuals can take up roles and responsibilities where they lack knowledge, skills and experience and may not perform as required. Governance needs to ensure that competent individuals undertake tasks that they can carry out and contribute to the success of a project.