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Project Management Context And Organisations And Governance

Paul Naybour Paul Naybour

Published: 10th March 2014

These are some typical questions based on the first two chapters in the book. Remember to get the full marks for each questions you need to write five paragraphs for each question. Each paragraph should explain the point you are trying to make and then explain why it is important to project managers. So for example the barriers to effective communication might be five paragraphs like

1) Time zones are one of the key barriers to communication in multi-national projects. This makes communication difficult as the working period of different team members may not overlap and the remote working can make it difficult for the project to build trust  between team members. Project managers can overcome this by organising face to face startup meeting of key project team members or by using on-line conferencing facilities to build relationships.

Five more like that and you should get full marks.

So the questions for this week are, please complete any two from the questions below. 

1) List and describe five functions that a project office can perform?

2) Describe five typical responsibilities of a project sponsor?

3) Describe five situations in which portfolio management would be appropriate?

4) List and describe five activities that take place during handover and closeout?

5) Describe five different types of project reviews? 

6) Describe five advantages of adopting a structured method? 

7) Explain the benefits of project governance?

 

 

 

 

 

  1. Student says:

    Paul,

    i’ve had a go at a couple more questions from this section. Please can you take a look?

    Explain five distinct benefits of using a structured life cycle approach?

    Benefits:

    Having a project lifecycle ensures that the correct amount of attention is given to each stage of the process, especially at the beginning of the project during the concept and definition phases. If the correct level of effort or resource isn’t deployed during these stages then the project will simply not be allowed to progress onto the next stage, for example if the business case hasn’t been ironed out by the end of the concept phase or the PMP hasn’t been created by the end of definition then the project will not be able to progress into the next phase.

    A project lifecycle allows planning to be carried out more easily as the different stages of the project are clearly laid out. By having a project lifecycle each stage of the project can be split out giving the planning team an opportunity to create more detailed plans for the concept, definition, implementation and hand over and close out stages separately.

    The project lifecycle details clear outputs that are required at each stage before progress can be made onto the next stage of the project. This allows all involved to be clearly focused on working towards the short term goals required in order to complete each phase alongside the more long term goal of the completion of the project itself.

    A clearly laid out project lifecycle provide logical places at which to stop and review progress i.e at the end of each phase. The lifecycle dictates that reviews will be carried out at the end of the first three stages as a minimum. These reviews allow the project manager and the sponsor to take stock of where the project has progressed to and give both parties an opportunity to address any issues may they be current or potential future risks or issues.

    The project lifecycle can help to give confidence to the sponsor and stakeholders through the completion of phasegate reviews. Progress can be linked directly to these phasegates through the completion of the required criteria and products. The phasegate reviews will give the stakeholders the confidence that the project is progressing as initially laid out in the project management plan during the definition phase. By successfully completing each stage of the project the stake holders can rest easy in knowing that the required deliverables have been satisfied as required.

    List and describe five key phases of a project lifecycle, the activities undertaken during and the outputs of each?

    Concept
    Definition
    Implementation
    Handover
    Closeout

    The first phase of the lifecycle is the concept stage. At this point the project is its infancy and the sponsor is heavily involved with its running. The key output of this stage of the project is the business case. A project manager may well be appointed to aid the sponsor with the production of the business case during this early part of the process.

    Definition is the second stage of the lifecycle and includes the production of the PMP by the project manager as well as all of the other subsidiary plans which will be referenced in the PMP. At this stage the project will be more clearly defined and a single option will be determined. The key output of the stage is the PMP which should document the entire project and the required deliverables.

    Implementation, during this stage the products will be produced. Using the construction of a new rail bridge as an example this stage would encompass the chosen contractor designing and building the structure to the specification set out by the client. The key out put at this stage would be the products or the bridge in this case. The project manager is responsible for producing the products as set out in the PMP and should do so with time, cost and quality in mind.

    Handover, the handover stage involves the products being accepted so that they may be commissioned and bought into use. There will be an acceptance procedure where the projects products will be reviewed against the acceptance criteria to ensure that the requirements of the project have been met. Using the example of the construction of a rail bridge again at this point in the project the bridge would be accepted and bought into use, the ownership will be transferred from the project team to the users.

    The closeout stage will involve the dissolution of the team and the project closeout admin such as the closeout of project codes and the removal of site cabins etc. The post project review is to be carried out by the sponsor during this stage to determine whether the success criteria for the project has been satisfied

  2. Paul says:

    sam first answer on project roles is ok, you need to add a sentence or two more amplifying The role of The project manager and steering group. for The PM think about The leadership roles. for The steering group I would add their role in governance. The rest is ok.

    I think your answer on The components of a method is fine…..

  3. Student says:

    Paul, please could you review my practice questions below?

    Q.Describe 5 roles associated with a project and their main responsibilities.

    •Project Sponsor
    •Project Manager
    •Steering Group
    •Users
    •Team

    Project Sponsor, the project sponsor is the single named individual responsible for the project. The sponsor owns the business case and is responsible for the project benefits. The sponsor will chair stagegate reviews and the benefits realisation review at the end of the project and will act as a source of escalation for the project manager should any complex issues arise. The project sponsor will be around at the concept stage of the project and also at the very end during handover and closeout when there may not be a project manager present.

    The project manager is responsible for managing the project on a day to basis and is responsible for managing the project team and the suppliers. The project manager will be responsible for ensuring that the project is delivered to the required time, cost and quality. The project manager also owns the PMP.

    The steering group is responsible for appointing the project sponsor at the start of the project. The steering group will also authorise the business case at the beginning of the project and will provide support to the sponsor throughout the latter stages.

    The project team are responsible for supporting the PM throughout the project. They are the people responsible for delivering the products to time, cost and quality requirements under guidance from the PM. The project team should identify any risks or opportunities to the PM so that they can be effectively managed.

    The users are responsible for defining the product requirements during the definition stage. They may liaise with the PM throughout the project to discuss any required changes. The users will also be responsible for accepting and operating the products at the handover and closeout stage of the project.

    Q. Describe the main components of a project management method. Make 5 points in your answer.

    The main components of a project management method are as follows:

    •People
    •Products
    •Processes
    •Tools
    •Templates

    People, a project management method aims to clearly define the individual roles within the project team. The individual roles should be clearly described and should detail the duties of each role and how they fit into the bigger picture. The roles included within this will be that of the Project Sponsor, project manager, the team, the users and the steering group.

    Products, the products or deliverables that the project is aiming to deliver should be clearly set out within the project management method. There are two types of products, Managerial and technical. Managerial products are things that help the overall management of the project and include products such as the PMP. Technical products are the deliverables that come out of the end of the project such as a bridge or a new section of rail track.

    Processes, by clearly setting out processes as a part of the project management method it is possible for a uniform approach to project management to take place. These processes will often include things such as a uniform approach to risk management or standard reporting procedures throughout a project team or organisation. By operating in a manner where all parties involved are aware of the standard processes required it is possible to create an environment where one project manager may leave the company but the project can continue with little disruption as the incoming PM is able to easily fit into the role as the processes that he or she will be working with will be familiar.

    Tools, project managers often employ a number of tools which aid them in the day to day running and organisation of a project. These tools will often include data management systems or tools to update finance or risks as new issues or opportunities arise. These tools are an important part of the project management method and can help to keep things such as project contingencies and resource requirements current and up to date.

    Templates are often used for producing the documents that are required within the project management method over and over again, these templates may well be available for things such as the PMP or risk log but may also be available for other documents such as an outline for stagegate reviews which can be filled in by PM’s and the sponsor in a uniform manner. Templates for authority papers and other such documents which will be required for each and every project will also be available as an off the shelf document which can be edited for each project based on its individual requirements.

  4. Paul says:

    Sam, yes that answer is good, with a sufficient level of detail in each paragraph to get you the marks you need.

  5. Student says:

    Paul,

    Please could you take a look at my answer to the question on types of project review below:

    Describe 5 different types of project review?

    Project Evaluation
    A project evaluation is an internal review that is carried out in order to gain a greater understanding of how well the project is progressing at any given point and to determine whether any actions are required in order to ensure that the project stays on track.

    A project evaluation is chaired by the sponsor and can be carried out at any point during the process of a project.

    A project evaluation will often involve reviewing the progress of a project against the initial project programme and may also take a further look into projects spend. These project evaluation reviews are a good opportunity for the PM to update the sponsoring organisation on any potential issues that may cause issues with regard to the progress or completion of the project.

    Phase Gate Review
    A phase gate reveiew is a formally documented review which at very least should be carried out during the concept, definition and implementation stages of the project.

    A phase gate review will review the progress of a project in terms of project deliverables and products. A phase gate review is generally chaired by the sponsoring organisation as a part of their governance process.

    Once the sponsoring organisation is happy that the required progress has been made during a certain stage of the project they will sign off that stage of the project and allow the project team to move forward with the job. It is often upon the completion of these stage gate reviews that additional funds are made available to allow the project team to progress as planned.

    Audits
    Audits are generally carried out by external companies as a part of the sponsoring organisations governance policy. There will be a formal output from an audit and improvements may need to be made as a result of the audit.

    An audit can focus on different elements of the project including finance, procurement, equal opportunities and compliance with company policies.

    Post Project Review
    Post project reviews are carried out at the end of the project in order to review the positives and negatives of the completed job. The post project review will often be chaired by the sponsor but may involve many if not all of the project team that were involved in order to get a feel for how all parties within the team felt the project went. A post project review will run through the success criteria which will have initially been set out in the PMP at the start of the project and whether the project has met these criteria or not.

    Post project reviews are a good opportunity to run through lessons learnt may they be good or bad. These lessons learnt can then be disseminated to the wider team in order to ensure that best practice is followed where applicable and also to give others within the organisation the opportunity to ensure that they don’t make the same mistakes on their projects. The whole project will be reviewed during this process and this will include looking at how effective the methods and process that were used were and whether they can be improved on and learnt from.

    Benefits Realisation Review
    The benefits realisation review is carried out at the end of the handover stage by the project sponsor. At this point in the project the main team will have disbanded and the project manager will most likely be unavailable.

    The key outputs to come from the benefits realisation review are to ascertain whether the sponsor is happy that the required benefits have been realised from the products that have been produced as a result of the project.

  6. Student says:

    Yes sure

  7. Student says:

    Cheers for the feedback Paul. Ideally i would like to send you a couple of questions each week on the lead up to my exam on the 18th July. Is it best to do it on here or email you direct?

  8. Paul says:

    @sam the project office question is good, but you need to say more about the role of a project sponsor. Each paragraph should be 2-3 sentences to pass.

  9. Student says:

    Paul could you give me some feedback on questions 1 & 2 below please?

    1)List and describe five typical functions that a project office can perform?

    •Assurance
    •Reporting
    •Document control
    •Lessons Learned
    •Planning

    A project office can provide assurance throughout the lifecycle of a project. The project office will help to ensure that the company’s procedures are adhered to. A good example of a process or procedure that must be followed within my organisation at Network Rail is the GRIP process which is used to police projects via a number of set deliverables and stage gates. NR uses a virtual project office with separate departments that can be called on when required. The planning department would help to ensure that the GRIP process is followed correctly before the project can progress.

    The project office can help to produce reports for the project team. The project office may help in producing progress reports, financial reports, updated risk registers etc in order to ensure that the general day to day management requirements for the project are carried out at the required times.

    Document control is another function of the project office. Organisations often have dedicated document controllers who ensure that the correct versions of documents are issued to the right people to make sure that there is a single source of truth. Document controllers will ensure that important documentation is correctly filed and is readily available to those who may need to review or access it. Document control is an important part of the project office team within my organisation as there are a lot of design submissions for our engineering team to review and It is important that everybody involved is aware of any comments made or revisions of designs submitted.

    Lessons learned are collated by the project office and stored and disseminated to those who may find them useful. The project office will be responsible for ensuring that producing and disseminating lessons learned to the wider team is a regular occurrence. The project office will be responsible for ensuring that the lessons learned documentation can be accessed by those who need it. It is often a case that things like lessons learned documents are stored within a central repository such as an online drop box or central network.

    The project office is able to help the project manager be able to plan resources and the availability of plant and materials by having a robust programme and an overall view of when certain resources will be required and when. It is important that the project manager works closely with the planners within the project office to ensure that resources are effectively used. In a virtual project office there will often be a separate planning resource available for the project manager

    2)Describe 5 typical responsibilities of a project sponsor

    The sponsor is responsible for approving the project management plan. The PMP serves as a contract between the PM and the sponsor.

    The sponsor chairs the steering group. The sponsor will ensure that the steering group is regularly updated throughout the course of the project.

    The sponsor is responsible for managing key stakeholders on a project. The sponsor will often be the individual that will aim to strike a rapport with the key stakeholders and will aim to act as the link between the project team and the key stakeholders involved on a project.

    The sponsor is responsible for delivering the project benefits. The benefits of the project should be clearly set out within the business case at the start of the project. The sponsor will keep a close eye on these end goals or benefits through stagegate reviews at regular interviews throughout the course of the project.

    The sponsor helps to manage the key risks on a project. The sponsor will work closely with the project manager to ensure that risks are either effectively managed or eradicated all together where possible. The sponsor will be involved during the concept phase of the project so he or she may well be able to put together a plan to effectively manage or eradicate these risks from the project all together early in the lifecycle.

  10. Student says:

    This is a better answer

    1 Acceptance (Handover)
    2. Commissioning (Handover)
    3. Transfer of Responsibility (Handover)
    4. Team Dissolution (Closeout)
    5. Post Project review (Closeout)

    Description:
    1. There needs to be an acceptance procedure and demonstration that the project has delivered everything required/contacted too. This would usually be signed off or documented along with the acceptance criteria for the products in the contract, but if no contract is in place the Project Management Plan would contain these criteria. Acceptance may be phased or progressive over time up to the end of the handover stage. It is the formal recognition that the project has discharged its obligations to the sponsor and the user.

    2. Following the acceptance, the commissioning stage will enable the users to understand how to operate the products and use them to obtain the benefits for which the project was undertaken. This can take a long period of time depending on the product, as with a software system, it may require loading/installation of various types of data and transferring information from superseded systems. O&M manuals would also be transferred at this point if they exist to help the commissioning procedure.

    3. Once the two previous stages are complete, the users will take full responsibility of the products meaning they will have to be happy and satisfied they have all the information required to operate the product. There may be arrangements in place after the handover such as a training service or maintenance contract, but this stage effectively completes the handover.

    4. Team dissolution follows the successfully handover of the product and requires that the team be disbanded. Any unemployment issues following this stage must be dealt with in a reasonable, coordinated and sympathetic way, and if the project had a long lifecycle, the team may worked together for a number of years and care and recognition of performance should take place.

    5. To ensure that the project has met its objectives and that the project team can be discharged of any further obligations to the project, a post project review is undertaken. This will generally instigate a lessons learned review as this will benefit future projects and give an overall review of the lessons learnt throughout the project from concept to handover/closeout.

  11. Student says:

    ANS4:
    ((Draw Handover diagram))
    A. Inform relevant stakeholder and team of entering handover and closeout phase.
    B. Prepare final documentation and product for release and for project closeout.
    C. Release final product and complete fine handover and closeout
    D. Close project and hold post project review
    E. Hold benefits realisation review.
    A. The project manager will inform all the stakeholders that the project is entering the final phase and will inform the team as well. This will allow the stakeholders to be prepared and informed. The team will plan the final stages, ensure all risks are identified and mitigated and any problems raised and closed.
    B. The team will prepare for release of the product to the customer and sponsor. This involves final testing and final inspection and preparing documentation for handover.In conjuction the Pm and team will prepare for closeout by reading documentation for archiving and filling out the necessary documentation.
    C. The decision for release is made. The product undergoes final acceptance testing the Customer/ops representatives. This will produce a snagging list. The Team will agree a plan to complete the remaining scope of work with the sponsor.
    D. The team works to complete the final snagging list and complete the final handover of the product with all the docuementation and configuration library. The project is now closed and all cost centre are closed, staff is released and a PPR is held. To ensure what went well and measure the project against the success criteria.
    E. The benefits realisation review is held to ensure if the products delivered the intended benefits. This review is scheduled before the project is closed to ensure the focus remains and the stakeholders aware of the importance of the benefits review.

  12. Student says:

    ANS 6:
    A. Having a structured method in the project and programmes of an organisation ensure consistency across the organisation. This is important as it allows senior management to review and understand preformances of different areas of the business and having similar templates and outputs makes the review process easier. For example in Selex ES the monthly board reviews different programmes and each programme presents is reports in a similar manner to allow easier understand and decisions to be made.
    B. Having a structured method allows the clear roles and responsibilities to be identified and issued. This makes it clear when team roles and responsibilities are allocated and are recognised across the business. For example a Project Engineering Lead in a team is clear as the lead engineer for the project’s technical delivery. And is accepted across the business
    C. Having a structured method allows gates and reviews points to be held through a project life cycle. This is crucially important as it allows steering boards and senior management to take stock of the project and to make GO/NO decisions through key points in the project. For example at the handover and closeout phase the customer and sponsor will be involved to go through the acceptance testing of the final product before release.
    D. A structured method encourages teams to strive for continuous improvements that can be deployed easier across a number of projects and programmes. This is important as it ensure good practice is easily flowed across a company. For example lessons learnt from one project on managing a certain supplier can be made easily available for other project to refer to when they come to manage the same supplier at a later date.
    E. Finally a structured method allows project information to be easily archived and for other projects and functions to access this information is required. This is important to allow similar projects to understand the successes and pitfalls past projects went through. A structured method would allow for a strong change control process ensuring all changes are properly captured and base lined in an easily access system.

  13. Paul says:

    Nuitisha
    This answer below is not so good. For each paragraph try to describe what the function, why it is important and then provide an example.

    1) One of the functions of a project office is support to administrative duties such as the configuration management process. This is an important function for the project office because many project need one centralised team to coordinate the changes made by the different design teams in a project. An example of configuration management support a project office team can provide is support for the configuration library, checking documents in and out as a result of approved change requests.

    Five more like this and you should get good marks. I am think of making a video about this structure for answering the questions. Do you think this would help?

    For example

    Q1. The five functions that the office can perform are:
    1. Assurance of the project manager and team
    2. Administrative support and guidance
    3. Collection, Analysis and Reporting of Project Information
    4. Be the home of the project management community
    5 Continuous Improvement and Centre of Excellence

    The functions are described as below:
    1. Assurance of the project manager and team –
    a. Go through the procedures in the project management plan and make sure they are being adhered to
    b. Undertake role in the phase gate reviews and other reviews to ensure that the benefits are on target to be realised.

    2. Administrative Support and Guidance –
    a. Be responsible for the configuration management activities
    b. Have experts in the areas of risks, planning and estimates in the order to guide the project managers.
    c. Support the project manager during absences
    d. Be involved in the entire meetings cycle – arranging meetings, issue agendas and minutes, follow up notes from the meetings, re-arrange meetings if required.

  14. Paul says:

    Natasha I love your answer, it shows good understanding and sufficient detail to get the marks in the exam

  15. Student says:

    Hello Paul, please find answers below to Question 1 & 2. (Sorry just asking a basic question – Do we need to re-write the entire question in the exam before starting the answer, or just the reference to the proper Question number will be sufficient?)

    Q1. The five functions that the office can perform are:
    1. Assurance of the project manager and team
    2. Administrative support and guidance
    3. Collection, Analysis and Reporting of Project Information
    4. Be the home of the project management community
    5 Continuous Improvement and Centre of Excellence

    The functions are described as below:
    1. Assurance of the project manager and team –
    a. Go through the procedures in the project management plan and make sure they are being adhered to
    b. Undertake role in the phase gate reviews and other reviews to ensure that the benefits are on target to be realised.

    2. Administrative Support and Guidance –
    a. Be responsible for the configuration management activities
    b. Have experts in the areas of risks, planning and estimates in the order to guide the project managers.
    c. Support the project manager during absences
    d. Be involved in the entire meetings cycle – arranging meetings, issue agendas and minutes, follow up notes from the meetings, re-arrange meetings if required.

    3. Collection, Analysis and Reporting of Project Information-
    a. Collate and Tabulate the timesheet and other accounting information from the team and report them to the project manager and sponsor
    b. Attend the specialist workshops liket he risk workshop and gather detailed information
    c. Maintain a schedule for providing various reports to the project manager and sponsor- can schedule to provide it weekly, monthly or quarterly basis.

    4. Be the home of the project management community –
    a. Be responsible for allocating a project manager to a project
    b. Be responsible for the professional development and trainings
    c. Where project office has expert resource in the project management field, provide coaching and mentoring to the project managers

    5. Continuous Improvement and Centre for Excellence-
    a. Make sure that all the lessons learnt from the project are properly documented.
    b. Act as a repository for the strategic implementation not only for the project but also for the portfolio. This is also referred to as the EPMO – Enterprise Project Management Office.

    Q2. the five responsibilities of a project sponsor are:
    1. A project sponsor owns the business case and is also responsible for the realisation of the benefits. As the sponsor is the owner of the business case, any changes to the business subsequent to the agreement of the original business case will be required to have approval from the sponsor. The changes can then be commuincated to the project managers and users. Sponsors role is benefits focused, thus he is responsible for proper identification of benefits and managing them throughout the life cycle. There after he will be responsible for realisation of benefits.

    2. A project sponsor chairs the steering group. This group is made of senior managers and peers of the sponsor. The steering group will provide the delegated authority to the sponsor who will then ensure that the group is kept up to date on any progress or proceedings and will make sure that they are aware of all risks and issues that might emerge into the project.

    3. A project sponsoor is also responsible for arbitrating between different user communities. While different users require different things, it will be the sponsor and not the project manager who will be called upon to arbitrate.

    4. A project sponsor helps the project manager to manage key stakeholders. A project manager may not be given complete authority to deal with all the stakeholders for example journalists. Thus the project manager has to seek advise, guidance and support of the sponsor.

    5. A project sponsor helps identify key strategic and business riskd. They will be responsible to manage these risks and will ensure that any risks in the project are eradicated at the concept phase, before proceeding to the definition and implementation phase.

  16. Student says:

    Hi Paul please find answers to questions 1&2.

    Regards,
    Elaine

    1) List and describe five functions that a project office can perform?
    A Project office aim is to serve the organisations project management needs. A project office can range from simple support functions for the project manager to responsibility for linking corporate strategy to project execution.

    The five functions that a project office can perform are as follows;
    1. Provide assurance of the project manager and the team.
    2. Provide administrative support and guidance.
    3. Collect, analyse and report the project information.
    4. Provide a platform for continuous improvement by way of lessons learned and expert resources in project management fields.
    5. Centre of excellence which acts as a repository for strategic implementation and developer of processes for projects and portfolio.

    The five functions may be described as follows;
    1. The project office serves to monitor the procedures written in the PMP and ensure that they are adhered to, while ensuring that benefits are still on target to be realised by undertaking roles at the gate/phase reviews.
    2. Devise processes and procedures for meetings, agendas and minutes as well as chasing actions. Be responsible for configuration management ensuring that products conform to specifications. The project office offers the Project Manager the tools and techniques and information by having subject matter experts available to assist the Project Manager in making informed decisions in delivering the project
    3. Collect and collate the timesheets and other accounting information from the team that is required by the project manager or sponsor. The project office provides a schedule in which reports are produced and validated whilst facilitating specialist workshops on risk etc. to gather information for the project.
    4. The project office is a functional home for project managers, responsible for the professional development of project managers. The PO as a developer of processes may also be used to measure individual performance allowing the organisation to learn and grow and develop its project management potential. The project office as a base may provide mentoring and coaching in the application of management tools and techniques.
    5. The project office enables senior management to specialise in exception management and by being a “Centre of Excellence” is responsible for linking corporate strategy to project execution, sometimes referred to as the EPMO (Enterprise project management office). The project office ensures that the lessons of the project are well documented and implemented across the organisation.

    2) Describe five typical responsibilities of a project sponsor?
    Project sponsorship is an active senior management role responsible for identifying the business need or problem of opportunity. A key responsibility of the sponsor is to direct the project with the benefits in mind, whilst a project manager directs a projects with delivery in mind. The sponsor ensures the project remains a viable proposition and that benefits are realised, resolving issues outside the control of the project manager and the responsibilities of the sponsor may be identified as follows;
    1. The sponsor would chair steering group committee meetings which would provide delegated authority to the sponsor, making sure that the group is kept up to date on progress made, making them aware of future potential risks or issues.
    2. The sponsor will manage the risks on the project and may need to ensure that key risks are closed out and resolved at concept stage before proceeding to the definition and implementation phase; an example here would be the issue of the potential closure of the Saudi border with Qatar as a result of political influences outside of the projects control – this would have a major impact on the delivery of construction materials etc. into Qatar.
    3. The sponsor will assist the project manager in managing the stakeholders. Generally the project manager will not have the authority to deal directly with stakeholders e.g. journalists for instance and must defer to the sponsor for advice, guidance and support.
    4. The sponsor signs off and approves the project management plan (PMP), a document which represents a contract between the sponsor and the project manager, describing exactly what is needed and wanted in response to the needs of the business case.
    5. The sponsor is extremely benefits driven and will ensure that the appropriate actions will be taken in order for a successful outcome to be achieved. These benefits must be properly managed throughout the lifecycle so as to support their realisation into the business.

  17. Student says:

    Q. 1 List and describe five functions that a project office can perform?
    The project office performs five functions – assurance of the project manager and teams; administrative support and guidance; collection, analysis and reporting of project information; location of expert resources in project management fields; and continuous improvement.

    The project office functions by providing the role of assurance to the project manager and teams through controlling procedures written in the project management plan and ensuring they are being adhered to. By operating in this manner the project office can undertake roles such as the review to make sure that benefits are still on target to be realised. When building a highway for example, there will be a project team based in the office that will have monthly meetings to ensure the key performance indicators are being met.

    The project office functions by providing administrative support and guidance by being responsible for configuration management activities, for example making sure that all products within a project work correctly with the products they interact with. It also provides expert services in fields such as planning, risk and estimating. Furthermore it offers some degree of support to the project manager during absences of the project team. Finally the project office provides support by organising the meetings cycles, issuing agendas and minutes, and chasing outstanding actions.

    The project office provides the function of collecting, analysing and reporting project information through collating and tabulating timesheets and other accounting information from the team, and providing such reports that the project manager and sponsor may require – for example a site progress and financial report. Additionally the project office may maintain the schedule to which reports are produced, for example when a certain stage in the project lifecycle has been met. Furthermore the project office analyses information by sitting in on specialist workshops to help gather information on risks and other detailed information.

    The project office functions as the location of expert resources in the project management field. By doing this the project office can provide coaching and mentoring to the project managers in the application of tools and various techniques, such as requirements management, estimating and configuration management.

    The project office functions by ensuring continuous improvement is occurring. The project office for example, is instrumental in ensuring the lessons from the project are properly documented and embedded across the organisation.

    Q2 Describe five different types of project reviews?
    There are five key project reviews, project evaluation reviews, gate reviews, audits, post project reviews, and benefits realisation reviews.

    A project evaluation review (PER) operates as an internal review to ensure that activities are progressing as planned against the recorded key performance indicators; the review is carried out during the project. The PER is convened by the project manager and supported by the team and users, chaired by the sponsor. Not only do they ensure that key indicators are being met, but they also analyse the effectives of the project management tools and processes being utilised. Minutes taken during the review will record progress against time, benefits and risk, cost and quality parameters. Actions will be then be taken to ensure that the project remains on track and measures will be put in place to mitigate any observed significant risks. The number of PERs throughout the project will be dependent upon the length of the project, the risk presented if the project is not reviewed often enough and the effects of the organisation’s governance framework. An example of this would be a monthly progress meeting.

    A gate review is a formal review usually commissioned by the sponsoring organisation as part of its governance structure. It will have a formal agenda supported with a checklist of products and critera, and will occur at the end of each project lifecycle stage – concept, definition and implementation. The first gate review, for example may be a formal funding gate, granting permission for the project to proceed. Outcomes of a gate review are pass, pass with reservation and fail.

    An audit is generally external to the project and will be enforced as part of the sponsoring organisation governance structure to ensure the project outcomes are being reported correctly. An audit may be focused on areas such as project finance, procurement, equal opportunities, diversity and risk. The reports are formal, and are for the sponsoring organisation, however they may be available to the general public and other stakeholders. For example during a clinical trial an audit will occur to make sure information being reported by the project team is accurate.

    A post project review is carried out after the project has finished, providing a forum for a lessons learnt exercise. Not only will a post project review consider the success of its criteria, but also a thorough analysis of the effectiveness of the project management methods, tools and practices and team performance. The organisation will receive the assurance that the project has been successful, so that it can make adjustments to its working practices and systems. Finally the post project review will demonstrate that the project has actually finished and all materials and information have been recorded appropriately.

    After all products have been completed and handover has carried out, a benefits realisation review will take place to ensure that an evaluation of the benefits achieved takes place. The project sponsor manages and chairs this review; with the business analysing the achieved benefits against those defined in the business case. It is the sponsor’s responsibility to ensure this review is carried out. The outcome of the review will be for the business to understand whether the project was a success and delivered the necessary products that achieve the benefits highlighted in the business case.

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