Try any of these typical questions
1) List and describe five differences between a project managment process and a lifecycle?
2) Explain five roles of the project sponsor?
3) Desctibe five benefits of managing projects as a programme and not separate projects?
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A very good set of answers, only two minor things.
1) The purpose of the business case is to justify the investment in the project (no its validity)
2) The risk management plan describes the approach to risk management processes and does not list the risks, these are in the risk register.
Dear Paul these are from the sample exam questions that we used on Thursday last week. I have answered some after reading the book and others without looking. Can you let me know how I have got on? Thanks for your help it really is greatly appreciated.
Q5 â€“ Business Case
a) Explain the principal purpose of a project Business Case
The principal purpose of a business case is to show the validity of a project. The business case will show what benefits can be derived from the project, how this will be achieved, high level scope of the work required, financial investment information and possible strategic risks involved. It will also detail the start and end timescales for the project including important milestones.
b) State which roles have responsibility for:
bi) Authorship â€“ Authorship of the Business case can be the Project Manager or in some instances private consultants.
bii) Ownership â€“ The Sponsor will always have ownership of the Business Case.
c) List and Describe three investment appraisal techniques
Three investment appraisal techniques are:-
NPV â€“ Net Present Value
IRR â€“ Internal Rate of Return
Payback â€“ this is the simplest of the investment appraisal techniques. Investment is simply managed by working out the time that this investment will return a profit. An example of this would be Solar Panels, with the government subsidy on returned energy the money paid for the panels and installation will go into profit after 7 years. However, this does not take into account the value of money in future years.
NVP â€“ This is slightly more complicated, but does take into account the future value of money as a percentage (discount factor). The disadvantage of this could be dependant upon the discounts value used. One discount factor could show a profit where a higher one could show a loss. For example the refit of a shop may increase the number of customers able to visit, which in turn could create an earlier investment return.
IRR â€“ This investment appraisal is the most complicated but allow analysis of several discount factors. You would plot these onto a graph and where the factors crossed Â£0, this would be the IRR This point would show where you would start to receive a profit from your investment. For example this could again be a shop refit, but this would give a more reliable point at which profit was realised.
Q6 â€“ Project Management
List five characteristics of projects and describe how each is different from business as usual activities.
Five Characteristics of a Project are:-
Lifecycle â€“ A project has a lifecycle with a predetermined end date whereas BAU runs from creation, operations through to disposal which is termed a Product Lifecycle which runs repetitively. For example a Project Lifecycle would cover the building of a new road bridge whereas the Business as Usual would be the cars running over the bridge after completion.
Limited Time â€“ A Project has a limited time in which to complete in order to meet the benefits requirements, whereas BAU runs repeatedly for a indefinite time. For example the new road bridge would need to be completed for a certain date, as other roads my be taking the excess traffic whilst this is being built. Business as Usual will be the cars continually running over the bridge for an indefinite time.
Unique â€“ A Project is unique in that it is delivering a one off product to enhance an organisation whereas BAU has repetitive tasks that will continue indefinitely. For example completion of a new warehouse is a one off project, the work that continues on a daily basis within the warehouse is not unique as it is repeated.
Budget – A Project is given a predetermined budge to realise the end product whereas BAU can have a monthly/yearly budget. For example the cost to build a warehouse will be a one off cost whereas the daily work that takes place within the warehouse will be repetative, eg weekly wages of staff, movement of materials, etc.
Deliverables â€“ A Project will supply a set of deliverables for completion but this will be only once whereas BAU will repeatedly create deliverables. For example, the creation of a conveyor belt for a factory will be built once, whereas the daily work created using the conveyor belt will be continuous.
Q7 â€“ Portfolio Management
a) Explain three key activities of Portfolio Management
Three key activities of Portfolio Management are:
Monitoring of all Projects & Programmes within Organisation
Best use of finances within Organisation
Ensuring all projects & programmes meet the requirements of the organisation
Monitoring â€“ This is a key activity of Portfolio Management as it allows the Senior Management to have a view of all projects and programmes within the organisation and so they are able to see quickly where any bottlenecks can occur. For example the Portfolio may show that during May the requirement for electricians exceeds the number of staff available and changes can be then made to move work around ensuring that there is no overallocation of scare resources.
Best Use of Finances â€“ This is a key activity of Portfolio Management as it allows continued view of where finances are needed, how much and when. This will allow the organisation to keep their budgets under control. For example the rebuilding of bridges on a particular route, may not require all to be rebuilt and some may be shown as able to wait or just have a refit. The Portfolio Manager is then able to ensure that the finances are directed to those requiring a rebuild.
Requirements â€“ This is a key activity of Portfolio Management as the Portfolio Manager is able to view all projects and programmes within the organisation and has the ability to remove any that no longer meet the current requirements of the organisation. For example extending the gauge of the railway is currently underway, however, some areas will not require as large a gauge as others, In this instance the Portfolio Manager is able to downgrade the gauge on less important routes ensuring finance is available for the important routes, and also keeping to the current requirements of the business.
b)Explain two ways that Project Managers contribute to Portfolio Management
Two ways in which Project Managers contribute to Portfolio Management are:
Risks â€“ A Project Manager would be able to see that risks on their project may be applicable to several other similar projects. Therefore, the Project Manager would be able to raise these risks with the Portfolio Manager to ensure these are taken into account on the other projects. For example whilst relaying a rail track there may be certain risks that arise which had not been forseen. The Project Manager would then liaise with the Portfolio Manager to ensure that any other projects requiring that track is relaying take such risks into account, thus creating a more stable project environment.
Best Practice â€“ A Project Manager may find that during a Lessons Learnt review the best practice that they employed to achieve a particular goal could also be of use if made transferable for other projects. The Project Manager would need to liaise with the Portfolio Manager to discuss this further. Whilst working on site the normal way to install a certain item was unable to be followed, due to certain conditions, however, the team on site found an innovative way to complete the task, which saved delays. Such innovation should be shared throughout the organisation to improve future projects.
Q8 â€“ Stakeholder Management
a) Where Stakeholder Management is carried out using the grid below, state the meaning of each of the axes:
Power â€“ This is the amount of power the individual Stakeholders have over the Project.
Interest â€“ This is the amount of power the individual Stakeholders have in the Project.
b) with each of the four quadrants of the matrix labelled A, B, C and D, explain:
The potential implications of the stakeholder actions on the project.
The Project Managers approach to managing the Stakeholder.
Quadrant A â€“ This Stakeholder has High Power but Low Interest, this could mean that this person although they have power in the organisation will not interfere with the project. This could be positive, but also it could prove disastrous in that this particular stakeholder does not give information that would be critical to the project plans. For example this could be a Senior Manager who is not interested in how the project will effect his staff and therfeore, vial information could be lost in the planning stages.
Quadrant B – This Stakeholder has High Power and High Interest in the project, this could mean that if this particular stakeholder is not happy with the current plans, they are likely to put a stop to the project until they are happy it is going in the direction they feel is best. This could cost time and possibly delay the project. For example the Senior Manager of a factory refit, feels that the plan does not flow for the ease of final working, Items require moving more times that if the set up flowed.
Quadrant C â€“ This Stakeholder has Low Power and Low Interest in the project. Again this could have a positive or negative effect on the project. This individual may have day to day knowledge which would steer the way the project was led. For example this could be the computer user that understands what is required to meet the daily challenges of their role, but they have very little power and their lack of interest could mean the incorrect programme being conceived.
Quadrant D â€“ This Stakeholder has Low Power and High Interest in the Project. This particular individual could become very negative about the project if they are not included. For example this could be the daily worker, who realises the benefits this could create for their daily role and has great knowledge that would be of use.
The Project Manager could use the Conflict Management chart to ensure that regardless of their influence on the project all Stakeholders have an opportunity to feed into the project outcome. The chart for this would be as per below.
The middle of this chart is shown as compromise which is generally the normal outcome. If the Project Manager wants to ensure they can influence the individual Stakeholders it is worth taking this conflict chart into account so they are able to deal with each individual in the best manner. Quadrant C could well be in the Avoidance box and the Project Manager would need to coax them out of their shell to ensure the correct information is obtained.
Q9 â€“ Handover and Closeout
a) Explain what is meant by the term Project Closeout
The term Project Closeout refers to the disbanding of the Project. At this point the handover would have been completed and Business as Usual started. This is the time that the project needs to ensure that all accounts have been settled, staff dispersed to other activities/jobs, furniture and equipment returned to their rightful owners or disposed of in an ecologically friendly manner.
b) Explain, making four points, why it is important to conduct effect project closeout.
Four points to explain why it is important to conduct effective closeout are:
Disposal of Assets
Post Project Review
Team Dissolution â€“ Once the project has reached the end the Project Manager will need to disband the team, either moving them to other roles, if possible. At the same time it must be remembered that the team may have worked together for many years and so this must be conducted in a non confrontational way. It is also the time for the Project Manager to award individuals. If this is not completed correctly then staff costs will continue to be charged and there will not be any budget to pay for this.
Disposal of Assets â€“ The Project Management Office will need to be closed down to ensure that no further costs for electricity, heating or hire charges are received. This my mean returning furniture or equipment to their owners or disposing of assets in an environmentally friendly way. Failure to dispose of assets again could results in extra costs that have not been budgeted for.
Financial â€“ All final accounts must be settled and the project cost line removed from the organisation. It is the Project Managers responsibility to ensure that no contractor invoices are outstanding. Failure to ensure all final costs have been received and payed could result in a surprise bill that the organisation is not able to pay.
Post Project Review â€“ This review will take into account all the Lessons Learnt reviews and stage reviews throughout the project. The Project Manager will be able to report on areas that were exceptionally positive and any that could be improved upon in future projects. This ensures that the company can continually improve leading to a more positive Stakeholder future process.
Q10 â€“ Budgeting and Cost Management
a) Within the project context, state the meaning of each of the following:
Committed Costs â€“ Costs where the amount is known and the payment dates agreed. For example accommodation costs of Â£2000 per month for 12 months. The Contract is signed and the payment dates are set for the twelve months making the total Â£24000.
Accrued Costs â€“ This is a best estimate for where costs have not yet been invoiced or paid. For example you know that an electrician will invoice costs of Â£24.000, but the invoice date is unknown. Therefore, you would accrue the costs to show that the money is included in the budget.
b) List and describe four reasons why it is important that the Project Manager understands committed costs on a project.
Four reasons it is important for the Project Manager to understand committed costs are:
Validity of Costs
Estimation of Accrued Costs
Reviews â€“ It is important for the Project Manager to understand committed costs for inclusion in the periodic reviews during a project lifecycle. This will show the ongoing costs of the budget and will ensure that any deviation is spotted early enough to be dealt with before becoming a problem. For example if an increase in electricity costs is going to be introduced in Period 3, then this can be added into the committed costs and either used from a contingency or realign the budget to show the increase.
Validity of Costs â€“ Committed costs can assist the project manager in validating the costs of the project for the Sponsor and Business case. Also as these are continued payments they can form the baseline ensuring change control can be easily managed as any variation is easily spotted. For example the electricity increase above could be managed via change control prior to the cost increase requirement.
Resources â€“ This is important as the Project Manager is able to see the resource requirements ahead of time and ensure they are used in the most cost effective way. For example if resources appear to be over exceeded in a particular period the Project Manager can review the Project and look at introducing an area of work earlier in the year.
Estimation of Accrued Costs â€“ Committed costs can assist in the estimation of other costs as a baseline now exists for the standard costs. This ensures that the Project Manager can see the remaining budget and estimate the remainder of costs accordingly. For example all committed costs for the Project Management Office are known, the remainder of the budget will be to complete the project set of deliverables. The Project Manager is able to see the remaining money and has a better understanding of the resource available for any contracts.
Q11 â€“ Project Management Plan
a) List and describe four processes/plans which are included within the PMP
Four processes/plan included in the PMP are:
All plans will be made up of:
Roles & Responsibilities
Quality Plan â€“ The quality plan details how the project will ensure that quality is followed throughout the project and how the Project Manager plans to deliver a quality product. Part of this will include stipulations for the type of contract staff required, what speciality knowledge or training they require to ensure their work is of sufficient quality. It will also include specification information as to the type, size, depth of certain materials. The quality plan will have review points to ensure this is being met.
Risk Management â€“ The risk management plan covers any possible risks/issues that may arise during the phases from Development to Closeout of the project. This will cover possible mitigation measures and how to deal with risks if they occur. It will also detail the costs of any risks/issues being realised. For example an issue in the project could be the lack of sufficient materials due to delivery problems. This is outside the control of the Project Manager, but knowing this could be a risk the Project Manager could ensure that it is written into any contract for the supply of materials, that the material supplier will be held responsible for any extra costs incurred to the budget.
Environmental Plan â€“ The Environmental Plan will cover topics such as protected species, bird nesting times, Tree Preservation orders, removal of waste from site. Ways to ensure that the environment is not damaged during the construction and that the site is returned to the same state as before work commenced. It can also include information as how we need to deal with any environmental damage during the works. For example network rail environmental plans include information as to how we should deal with any oil spills on site and includes information as to the kit that should be available at every site to deal with this incident. Reports must then be completed, using the templates, for when such instances have occurred.
Safety Plan â€“ Safety plans will hold information about how to work safely during a project, especially when working on site. It will explain what safety uniforms are required, and in what circumstances, the warning signs required and where they are to be placed. The people required to be on site at any time according to the site safety hazards, etc. For example, Network Rail is very safety drive and therefore our Safety Plans are vital. These will show the contractors what safety uniform is required at any time and any speciality items required, such as steel toe capped boots, but if you are using a chainsaw these need to be special chainsaw boots. Required Hazard signs are also included within the plan.
b) Explain what is meant by a baseline project management plan and how it is used.
A baselined project management plan is the initial PMP drawn up and signed by the Sponsor. Any changes to this plan will go through the change control system prior to changes being made. This way any changes can be easily shown and it is possible to refer back to the baseline PMP during any reviews to show how costs have been affected, etc.
Q12 â€“ Methods and Procedures
Explain five advantages to an organisation of adopting a structured method for Project Management
Five Advantages for adopting a structure method for Project Management are:
People â€“ A structured method ensures that all roles and responsibilities are clear as well as the requirements for individual projects. For example you will have a Sponsor and they will know what is expected of them during the Project lifecycle. The Project Manager will have full knowledge of their role requirements. People working within the project will know who is responsible for what role and who they need to liaise with during the life of the project. For example when the project requires the assistance of the Procurement Team it is easy to identify to whom you will need to liaise.
Common Language â€“ following a structured method will ensure that a common language develops across the projects. This will also mean that people can be used to their best advantage and able to move between projects if required. For example in Network Rail we have a great number of common language examples. Each part of the track has a particular Engineering Line Reference which is generally three letters and maybe a number. For the East Cost Mail Line to Doncaster this is ECML1. The majority of people within the rail business will understand this code and the area this relates to.
Processes â€“ Structured processes will ensure that all those involved with a project can fully understand the different stages and processes required during those stages. For example we work within the GRIP Lifecycle so everyone is fully aware that there are milestone within the stages and each stage requires to be reviewed, closed and authorised. There are also numerous processes involved with each stage that must be adhered to. This also allows for staff to be interchangeable when sickness affects another team.
Templates â€“ The use of Templates creates a very structured method for Project teams to work upon. The advantage being that paperwork is all structured in the same way and you are able to locate specific information quickly. Templates can also be quicker to complete as some basic information could already be completed and helpful hints are give for completion of the remaining information. This also ensures that it is easier to review projects once they have been completed. For example a project team member that has been utilised on a new project will be able to complete the templates easily as they have used them on previous projects.
Tools â€“ Speciality tools for deployment. This could mean that staff can be pointed towards a practical solution information of which was obtained from a previous lessons learnt or Post Project review. For example certain speciality materials which were previously innovative and difficult to locate a supplier and lead time for delivery was required to be input into the project, the new project team wishing to use those materials will be able to look at the time required for ordering and be able to contact the supplier quickly.
Thanks for having a go at the questions on the discussion group.You answer to the question “Describe five benefits of managing projects as a programme and not separate projects?” is really just the level we want. The rest a a little bit on the brief side, you have explained the what but not why it is important. So for example I would do
Lifecycle vs Processes
The lifecycle sets out the the phases a project will go through, e.g. Concept, Definition, Implementation to realise the benefits of the project whereas project management processes are the means to complete each stage of the lifecycle for example risk management or stakeholder management. The phases in the lifecycle are sequential with every project doing (if it is not canceled) through each phase in order, whereas the processes are iterative, for example the cost forecast and risk register will be updated every month as part of the project control cycle,
Paul, please let me know how to improve these answers I am a little embarrassed by what I have thrown together.
List & Describe 5 difference between a Project Management Process and a Lifecycle
These are the phases a project will go through, e.g. Concept, Definition, to realise the benefits of the project whereas project management processes are the means to complete each stage of the lifecycle.
Project Management Process
The project management process is made up of standards and individual plans which describe how the work will be implemented to realise the benefits. For example a project management process will be the Project Management Plan.
Post Project Review
Post Project Reviews are part of the extended life cycle of a project, but will require information from the plans e.g., Quality, Risk, PMP, to assess the success or failure at any point during the Project
Project Evaluation Reviews
These take place at certain points during the lifecycle. For example at the end of the Concept phase. To correctly review the project KPI’s will be monitored. KPI’s are a project management process which records various pre-determined measurements at points during the project.
Design & Build
Design & Build are components of the Implementation phase of the lifecycle. These are the stages at where the work will begin on site. The determination of how the work on site is achieved will be contained within the project management processes, e.g. the project management plan, quality plan and risk plan.
Explain 5 roles of the Project Sponsor
The Sponsor is responsible for the creation of the business case to detail the expected Benefits to be obtained from a project. The Benefits are the primary concern for the Sponsor.
The Sponsor is responsible for chairing Steering Group meetings. These meetings will be made up of Key Stakeholders, Project Manager and users. The Steering Group are responsible for deciding the benefits to be realised from the project. It is also the Sponsors responsibility to keep the Steering Group up to date on the progress of the project and any issues, risks that arise.
Risks during Concept
It is the Sponsors responsibility to realise any key risks, issues that the project may face and if possible eradicate these prior to the implementation of the project.
The Sponsor is responsible for ensuring a good relationship is formed with the Project Manager and where possible steer the PM and answer any queries relating to the Project. The Sponsor should also be responsible for the agreement of any change to the project scope requested by the users to the Project Manager.
Project Management Plan
It is the Sponsors responsibility to Sign off and agree the contents of the Project Management Plan as created by the Project Manager. Ensuring that all relevant process will be followed to create the output of the project.
Describe five benefits of managing projects as a programme and not separate projects?
Resources â€“ A benefit of managing projects within a programme gives greater flexibility for the use of resources during the programme. For example if one part of the programme is delayed at any point (that will not reflect on a different project ongoing within the programme), it may be possible to relocate manpower to create an earlier finish on one project until the stalled project is able to be restarted.
Ability to initiate, withdraw, cancel projects within the Programme â€“ A Programme gives you a better view of the work currently being undertaken and the ability to initiate another project phase earlier if required. For example a project is currently ongoing within the programme, whilst another project is not due to start for some months. The work on the initial project may reach a stage where you are able to initiate the implementation of the second project without hindering the first.
Ability to manage risks â€“ During a programme the projects will be working towards shared benefits, or similar benefits. This means that you can manage risks easier. For example a programme of works that would replace track for one large station (so projects would cover each platform), would all have similar risks. Therefore you can group risks/issues together and works that take place on one project may give you a best practice or review of how to realise/eliminate the risks during the other project phases.
Focus on the Benefits â€“ A programme gives you a high level view of the benefit realisation for the projects. You are able to see the benefits being achieved as the projects progress. It also means that you are able to see where any problems lie in achieving the benefits.
Project Interdependencies â€“ Improved management of the project interdependencies. Such as two projects can work simultaneously as they do not hinder the outcome of either project. Whilst other projects my need to reach a certain stage before you are able to proceed. For example the building of several office blocks, although the construction can be completed together, the work of fitting out the offices is dependant upon the completion of the construction. This will be easy to see from the Programme.
Your answer on “Describe five benefits of managing projects as a programme and not separate projects?” is ok but you need some examples to illustrate your points. Think about the benefits of having a transport programme for a city like London, and use this to illustrate each point you make.
Penny on the differences between a life cycle and a process you answer starts very well with two strong points. The latter three are correct. You should say something like
3) A lifecycle can have reviews after each stage whilst a process have on going reviews and evaluations. For example a lifecycle has a review after the concept phase to approve the business case, whereas risk management is continually reviewing the risk on the project (as part of the monthly or weekly) project control cycle. Because they are part of the control cycle process are on-going assessments of the project risks, issue, changes and configuration.
4) A lifecycle is typically managed by a project manager as the formal framework of stages the project progresses through whereas a process (such as planning) can be looked after by the Project Management Office (PMO).
The lifecycle will involve multiple resources to support the project manager to produce technical and management products whilst the PMO manage the project processes to provide the control, support and governance needed by the project manager and the wider organisation.
5) A lifecycle will focus on the technical requirements, options, solution, scope, design, implementation and handover through its distinct phases. A process will not focus on one specific phase and is an on-going management process which is to a large extent independent of the option selected. For example the Project Manager will typically manage the project lifecycle through all phases in a specific order looking making sure the design meets the requirements for a cost, quality, time and benefits whilst the PMO support the processes across the lifecycle that focus on different areas such as change, risk and H&S.
Easier points might have been
1) Processes are repeated whereas the life cycle is followed from the start to end.
2) Processes are generic across many types of projects whereas the lifecycle is normally specific to an industry.
3) The lifecycle has gate reviews at which the project can be halted whereas the processes are on-going
4) A project lifecycle phase can have many processes (initiating, planning, delivering and closing)
5) The lifecycle can duration will be different for many project in an organisation and is more long term whereas the processes are repeated with the same frequency for all project in an organisation, e.g. progress reporting every month.
I will admit sometimes I struggle with the fifth point, but is you get three solid points in each question you should be well on the way to a pass.
Bethan I really like you project sponsor answer a good one with clear and well described points. In the programme management answer you may have confused a programme and a portfolio. You say one of the benefits of a programme is “Managing projects as portfolios also benefits in terms of scheduling”. I may be worth reviewing the difference between a programme and portfolio again. Overall the answer though was fine, even if you lose a few marks for this point the rest are quite solid.
James your programme management answer is good enough for me, you have clear examples and have demonstrated further understanding of the topics you describe.
James the answer for the role of the project sponsor is fine, I am surprised you left out the obvious one of approving the project management plan and acquiring the funding for the project.
2) Explain five roles of the project sponsor?
1- Manage issues outside the authority of the project manager. Some issues will fall outside the authority of the project manager, this of course needs to be addressed and this is where the sponsor comes in. A example of such an issue could be an MP taking an interest in what the project is proposing and objecting to an element of it. The sponsor would look to address the concerns of the MP on behalf of the organisation.
2- Represent the board’s interest within the project. The board will of course not be able to be involved with each and every project the organisation has, so the sponsor would be tasked with ensuring the project is still on track to deliver the benefits expected by the board /steering group.
3 – Owns the business case.Ensure the business case stays on track to allow the project to progress to the next stage. The business case is the responsibility of the sponsor to manage and own. The sponsor will be held accountable if the benefits within it are not realised.
4 – Handle / Manage senior stakeholder involved with projects. A project can sometime attract the interest of a number of senior stakeholders depending on the PESTLE factors it crosses. A politically charged project can attract the keen gaze of local residents, MPs, environmentalists al of whom will need to be managed with care to ensure the reputation of the organisation is not adversely affected. As a senior representative the sponsor is tasked with protecting the reputation of the organisation and effectively selling the scheme and its benefits, the experience and talents of their sponsor often reveals itself here
5- Chair Gate reviews – gate reviews are held at the end of distinct stages within a project e.g. concept, handover, close out. The sponsor will decide if the project is ready to move to the next stage in the life cycle. The option are to stop, defer, progress.
and this one as well…
3) Describe five benefits of managing projects as a programme and not separate projects?
1. Managing projects within a programme can help to deliver a much more complex strategic objective and wide ranging benefits to the organisation as opposed to benefits / individual objectives that could be gained by individual projects – A good example of this would be the upgrading of a city centre’s shopping centre without also upgrading the number of parking spaces and roads / transport into the centre. As a programme the strategic aim would be enhance the overall shopping experience / value of commercial retail space by providing better access, parking and quality of shopping.
2. Cost control – Managing across the programme can allow the programme manager to control expenditure as projects can be assisted, more tightly controlled. This can allow more flexible movement of finance as money being saved on one project can bee used to assist another that requires it.
3. Reporting / Measuring progress – Managing projects within a programme means that a common approach to reporting can be adopted to allow senior management to be kept up to date with where the project is. This would involve reporting perhaps at the same point for each project every month , week etc..
4. Sharing of resources – A programme can utilise resources across all its projects in a planned manner that can lower the overall cost to the organisation (of a particular resource human / machinery) or allow the staggered delivery of projects without incurring additional costs. An example of this could be using one risk specialist across a number of projects within the programme at different times.
5. Programmes are visionary in comparison to the insular nature of projects and their objectives. Programmes seek out benefits that often involve considerable change from what has been previously. This means considerable effort and expenditure is needed whereas projects often look to bring about incremental change within an organisation.
have tackled this without the book so am keen to hear your thoughts on where I could score better answering this question.
Explain 5 roles of a project sponsor
The sponsor is the owner of the Business Case. The business case is built on cost of a project and the benefits the project can deliver. It is the sponsors responsibility to ensure the project sticks to the business case to ensure the benefits are achieved, the risks managed and the costs kept within budget. This is important because the sponsor is ultimately accountable for the project.
The sponsorâ€™s role also includes that of Benefits Realisation. This role continues after the project has been handed back into operational use. It is the sponsors role to check that the benefits outlined in the business case have been achieved by the project by monitoring the projects output in operation and analysing the benefits actually achieved. This is an important step to ensure the project was a success and has achieved the business case and its strategic objectives.
The sponsors role also includes stakeholder management. The sponsor is influential and can be used to manage key stakeholders who may not fully support the project or understand the benefits. The sponsor can also assist the project team in the management of external stakeholders such as local authorities. This is important as these stakeholders have the influence and power to delay the project if not fully engaged. The sponsor can engage early and prepare stakeholders for the project.
The sponsorâ€™s role also includes interacting with the users. This part of the sponsors role is to ensure the end product is acceptable to the user and that any user lead change is analysed and implemented only with the sponsors approval. This ensures a robust change control process and cost management. This is important to ensure the end product is acceptable but also to maintain an audit trail and control of costs.
The sponsors role also includes sitting on the steering group. The group authorises the business case and as the sponsor is the owner, it is the sponsors responsibility to update the group on progress of the project against the business case and make the group aware of any key issues. The group can also advise the sponsor on these key issues and assist in making the project a success. This is an important role for the sponsor to maintain corporate governance and accountability to senior managers in the business.
Describe 5 benefits of managing projects as a programme and not separate projects.
Programme management allows key resources to be shared across a number of separate projects. These key resources can be moved across the programme when required to prevent resource bottlenecks occurring and prevent delay to projects. A programme can also manage specialist resources such as a project planner between projects to reduce cost and improve quality.
Managing projects as portfolios also benefits in terms of scheduling. Projects can be planned at a strategic level which will ensure two projects donâ€™t happen in the same place at the same time, minimising change to projects and making sure business as usual is not impacted in negative ways.
Programme management also allows projects to be picked and planned in line with strategic objectives. This ensures the projects chosen to go forward are those closely aligned with strategic objectives and will bring the most benefit to the business.
Programme management also benefits project in terms of benefit realisation. A programme can be focused on strategic benefits while projects are more focused on delivery. A programme manager can then guide a project back to realising benefits should a project stray from its objectives. This is important to make sure the project is a success.
Programme management also has benefits in managing risk. A strategic overview of risk can be taken. This is applicable to picking projects to go forward with in terms of a risk versus benefit analysis and in sharing risk knowledge across similar projects. A programme can also standardise an approach to risk ensuring one project does not exceed risk boundaries.
Have answered these without reference to the book so could be completely wrong! Honest feedback and scores would be appreciated 🙂
List and describe five differences between a project managment process and a lifecycle
1) A lifecycle consists of distinct phases that can have specific documentation attached to them whilst a process and its documentation can happen across multiple lifecycle phases for example the lifecycle phase of concept has a business case created and signed off in definition. A process however such as risk management can happen across all of the lifecycle phases
2) A life cycle has staged gateways after each phase but a process does not have gateways but could form part of a gateway.
For example there are gateway after each of the lifecycle phases – concept, definition, implementation and handover/crossover to give confidence to stakeholders that they can move onto the next phase. Something like a Health and Safety process whilst not a gateway can be used as part of a gateway review to give a fuller picture of all areas of the project adding giving the stakeholders confidence that processes have not been overlooked
3) A lifecycle can have reviews after each stage whilst a process can be a review itself which can happen at any time during the lifecycle
4) A lifecycle is typcially managed by a project manager as the formal framework for projects and programmes whereas a process is typcially looked after by the Project Management Office (PMO).
The lifecycle will involve multiple resources to support the project manager whilst the PMO and their processes provide the support and governance to the Project Manager and the lifecycle.
5) A lifecycle will focus on ideas, scope, design, implementation and handover through its distinct phases. A process will not focus on one specific phase.
For example the Project Manager will typically manage the project lifecycle through all phases in a specific order looking a cost, quality, time and benefits whilst the PMO will look at processes across the lifecycle that focus on different areas such as change, risk and H&S.
Explain five roles of the project sponsor?
1) Owner of the Business Case. The sponsor will create this during the concept phase of the project and it will include costs, benefits and resources which can be used to measure against at different stages of the project
2) Project Concept – The sponsor comes up with the initial idea for the project and will then need to provide a robust business case to enable the project to move forwards, to obtain buy in from key stakeholders and for the project team to evolve.
3) Stakeholder Management especially with more senior managers and external stakeholders. This is a key role for the Sponsor. Whilst a project manager will also use stakeholder management to the sponsor, users etc, the sponsor will manager more senior stakeholder within the business gain buy in from the business as well as any relevant external stakeholders
4) Accountability – Sponsors have final accountability for the project if something goes wrong. If the scope changes, then it has to be agreed with the sponsor because of their level of accountability
5) End to end and beyond the project lifecycle. Sponsors are not only involved end to end of the project lifecycle but also after completion of the project as they take onwership of the deliverable and the products. Also at the end they will also be measured on their benefits as per their business case.
Describe five benefits of managing projects as a programme and not separate projects?
1) There is more flexibility when managing a programme.
Projects typcially have defined scope known from the start. Programmes have the flexibility to evolve which means that project teams can be moved in or out of the programme as long as they are able to help achieve the business objectives.
2) Programmes are less constrained by specific objectives
Projects typcially have a one objective known from the start which can constrain them. Projects within a programmes are working towards the same business objectives. For example in a bank, there may be one project looking at how people complete their timesheets but in the saving department there is more likely to be a programme of works all looking at improving the saving products for that company. As the programme matures the objectives can evolve i.e. if interest rates changed, savings products may have to change. This could be achieved within a programme.
3) Tactical versus Strategic. A project is tactical and tackles smaller changes within smaller busines units. Programmes however can look at more strategic changes and large scale changes within the organisation.
4) Programmes are more visionary – projects are often siloed and inward looking. Programmes are visonary. They are able to see the bigger picture within a specific department or the company as a whole which enables less constraints and it is easier to manager resources and timescales to avoid pinch points.
5) Projects have one fixed and focused team concentrating on specified tasks. Programmes have interdependency between the many project teams. As they are working towards the same strategic goals, there is potential for efficiencies of resources, costs and benefits across the programme although this does require excellent communication and influencing skills as there can be very complex relationships amongst the project teams.