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Feedback please – project context practice exam question

Paul Naybour Paul Naybour

Published: 8th July 2018

Explain what is meant by the term “project context”. Explain 4 distinct factors that may influence project context.

The project context is the environment in which the project will be operating. This is important because no project exists in isolation, unaffected by factors in the context / environment and these will need to be factored in to the design, planning & running of the project in order to ensure that the project meets its objectives in the specified timeframe, meet the requirements of the users & any applicable external standards.

Four factors that influence context are:
1) Politics
2) Economic
3) Sociological
4) Legal

1) Both politics internally in the organisation and externally will influence the context. Internal politics might affect the relationship between teams affected by the project, or perhaps the importance of the project and the risk that is deemed acceptable. External politics are likely to be applicable in any situation where public money is being spent.
2) The economic context will affect how much money is available for the project, the risk that the organisation is willing to accept, and the necessary timeframe of payments and the cost flow.
3) Sociological factors are those that relate to people. Public perception of the project might play a role in either supporting or hindering the project. A new railway, for example, will be desired by the potential users of the train, but a disbenefit to those whose lives are affected by the construction. These opinions and views need to be taken into account for smooth running of the project & to ensure that the end results meet the expectation and success criteria defined by the users.
4) There are certain laws which cover all projects (such as health & safety regulations, public interest disclosure, working time directives, data protection) and will need to be factored into the planning and adhered to. In addition, specific projects are likely to have to adhere to other laws and regulations specific to that field, such as hospitals meeting government standards, charities adhering to regulations of charity commission, or public organisations being required to adhere to the freedom of information act.

(15 mins)

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