Feedback – On Section 1 Of The Study Guide

Paul Naybour

Hi,  I’ve had a first go at the sample questions in the Study Guide and would appreciate some feedback to see if I’m on the right path.  The first question in particular I’m aware I’ve not written enough but I’m not quite sure what else to write without waffling too much!  I’ve listed beside the question how many sides of A4 the answers come out as in my handwriting.  Any feedback gratefully received, thanks, Sarah

List five key attributes of a project and describe how each differs from business-as-usual. (2/3)

Projects are unique.  Whereas business-as-usual involves the repetition of the same acts all projects are unique.

Projects have a finite timescale.  Business-as-usual continues indefinitely whereas a project will run according to a set timescale and schedule.

Projects have set budgets.  Business-as-usual is funded by operational budgets with no set budget, whereas a project will often be funded from Capital Expenditure with a finite limit.

Projects seek to bring about business change, whereas business-as-usual is about maintaining the status quo.

Projects will have a defined objective or goal.  Business-as-usual is simply working to the same goal several times over.

Explain five key benefits of using a programme management approach. (1)

Programme Management allows a greater degree of risk control and communication between different projects.  This means that risks can be managed more effectively their impact on the programme and it’s constituent projects minimised.

A Programme Management approach enables working towards a ‘vision’ by managing several interdependent projects working towards the same overall goal.  This allows for a more global top-down approach, meaning the Programme Manager has a view of the broader picture and can therefore manage the projects within the programme to ensure the required end result is achieved.

Programme Management enables the effective use of resources across different projects within the programme, making sure different projects have the resources they need at any one time.

Programme Management imposes the same processes on all projects within the programme.  This means that there is a consistency of approach across the whole programme  leading to a greater chance of success for the programme and also also helps to minimise risk.

Programmes can develop over their lifetime as a response to a changing environment or business need.  Their objectives can evolve to better suit the business in a way which a project, with it’s clearly defined scope from the outset, cannot.  The end result of a programme will therefore be better suited to the overall business need as it changes to reflect this.

List and describe five features of a programme. (1 plus 4 lines)

Programmes involve the management of several interdependent projects together with their interaction with business-as-usual.  Where the scope of the ultimate objective is too great for a project, a programme can manage a series of interdependent projects with an overarching view to achieve the desired objective.  They will also work with the business as it is to ensure it is ready to receive and implement the results of the programme.

Programmes are strategic in nature.  A programme must have a vision it is working too which is greater than that which a project would.

Programmes evolve over their life cycle.  As the environment or business needs change the objective of the programme can also change to suite the new requirements.  As programmes have a longer timescale than projects this allows them the flexibility to change as they need to.

Programmes may have specific departments such as HR or IT to work on the programme and all of the projects within it.  A project would not have this in the same way as it would draw on the expertise needed for the finite time it was required and people would then return to their normal roles.

Programmes deliver benefits throughout their lifecycle as their constituent projects achieve their objectives.  These benefits can vary in size and impact but the end of each project within the programme will bring about a benefit.

Explain what is meant by the term project context.  Explain four distinct factors that may influence project context. (1 2/3)

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.

Explain the purpose of a project Health & Safety Plan.  List and describe four components of a project health & safety plan. (1 1/4)

The purpose of a project health & safety plan is to ensure that all those people working on a given project do so in a healthy and safe environment.  The plan will also extend to ensure that there is no danger to members of the public as a result of the a project.  A health & safety plan will also provide for clear and open communication routes so that anyone with any health & safety concerns can report them without fear of retribution.

Four components of a health & safety plan are as follows:

The plan will ensure that project environment is a health and safe place to work.  It will identify key areas of concern and provide guidance on how to deal with them.  For example, when using tools it will provide guidance on how to do so and what protective equipment is required.

The health & safety plan will have an escalation process to allow health & safety concerns to be raised with the appropriate person without any fear of retribution or recrimination.

The plan will allow for the regular assessment and reassessment of the project environment to ensure it continues to be healthy and safe.  This helps to avoid the development of any complacency and therefore an increased risk of injury.

The health & safety plan will consider the working environment for staff on the project.  For example, on a building site welfare facilities will be provided (such as portable toilets) for workmen to use.

1 thought on “Feedback – On Section 1 Of The Study Guide”

  1. The List five key attributes of a project and describe how each differs from business-as-usual is not going to get you good marks, too brief to demonstrate full understanding.

    Projects are unique, whereas business-as-usual involves the repetition of the same acts all projects are unique. For example a car production line is an on-going operation that produces similar products day in day out. A project would be required to develop a new production line to build a brand new type of car. This is important because business as usual is about the production of similar things in a consist way whereas project are about the changes we make to business as usual.

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