Project context is the environment in which a project takes place. It is vitally important that the project manager has a good understanding of the contract of a project as it will impact the running of the project and the outcome and its reception. The context of a project can include several factors from the political to the economical but all must be considered. A useful tool when analysing a project’s context is PESTLE which defined six key factors to consider. This stands for Political, Economical, Sociological, Technological, Legal and Environmental.
Four distinct factors which may affect a project as as follows:
Political factors – this can include a range of factors from the wider national government to local council or local authority politics. It also includes the internal politics of a company such as different views of senior management.
Economical factors also include a wide range of issues which can impact a project. The cost of the project is key, but the project manager must also consider factors such as the market for the outcome and therefore what profit can be made, or exchange rate fluctuations where payments are due to be made or received in different currencies.
Technological factors affect a project in that technology is always evolving and development. A project manager must consider how technological issues can effect the running of the project in terms of logistics but also the end result in terms of how it will stand up to the test of time and development.
Legal aspects – there are a variety of legal aspects a project manager must consider including Health & Safety laws, Contract law, Employment law, Environmental law and the Data Protection Act. These will impact the running of the project but also need considering in relation to the end result. For example, any contract must outline who owns what at the end of the project. It is also important to note that projects in different industry sectors may have different legal requirements, such as adherence to the CDM regulations in construction projects.
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Political factors – this can include a range of factors from the wider national government to local council or local authority politics. It also includes the internal politics of a company such as different views of senior management.This is important because a change in the political backdrop for a project can have a dramatic impact on the way in which a project is implemented. This is especially true for large infrastructure projects such as the third runway at Heathrow or the development of HS2. Both are highly political projects,