Organising projects to deliver.
By their very nature, each project is different, so whilst it is vital to ensure the generic roles and responsibilities are defined in such a way that they can be applied across all projects, as discussed in the previous blog “Building project management capabilities into people”. It is also necessary to define the responsibilities of any additional or project specific roles. For example, if there are a number of organisations involved in delivering a project (e.g. customer and supplier), then it is important to define the various responsibilities within each organisation.
These will be in terms of who is responsible for defining, agreeing and delivering the specifications (quality requirements) of each of the project deliverables as well as who has responsibilities relating to timing. Also, the commercial arrangements between the various organisations must be clear in terms of who has responsibilities relating to both project and post-project costs.
In this blog post I will explore the importance of defining the organisational structure of each project and how to employ regular project reviews to ensure the project is maintained on a path towards successful delivery.
There is therefore good value in defining the organisational structure of each individual project, within which the individuals who are fulfilling the various roles are identified. A one-pager list of responsibilities can then accompany the project structure, which can also be used to indicate the formal communication paths, as illustrated below:
It is important to define and agree the formal communication paths between organisations, so that it is understood who is authorised to provide information that affects the delivery of the project. The safest option on this is to agree that all formal communications are passed between the project managers only, so that anything that is passed between other individuals should be treated as ‘for information only’.
However, on large projects it may be important to ensure that the project managers do not become ‘bottlenecks’ that cause project delays, due to their lack of availability to process communication materials. To avoid this, it may be necessary to delegate communication paths to other individuals (as illustrated above).
To ensure that the project is maintained on a path towards successful delivery, it is important to ensure that the project team members communicate well. If possible, it is beneficial to physically locate the team within close proximity, ideally within the same office, but this is not always possible, especially if team members are involved on numerous projects at the same time.
Whichever, it is essential that all team members are kept up-to-date with the latest information and given the chance to discuss risks and issues. The best vehicle for this is regular project reviews (usually weekly or fortnightly). On large projects it may be more efficient to organise a hierarchy of reviews, whereby reviews at team level are held separately to higher level project reviews. In such cases, it is important that the Team Leaders are involved in both, to enable effective communications each way.
It is useful to provide a standard agenda to ensure that the correct items are discussed at all project reviews. Typically, this agenda should include the following:
|Status||Overall project performance (quality, schedule, cost) in relation to red, amber, green (RAG) indicators.|
|Plan||Check progress in relation to the plan.|
|Risks||Review each of the open project risks.|
|Issues||Review each of the open project issues.|
|Changes||Advise the status of any project changes that have been raised or accepted since the last review.|
|Actions||Review each of the open project actions.|
|Readiness for next gate||Discuss preparation for the next gate and add any additional actions.|
Are you currently building project management capabilities into your team? I’d be happy to discuss your current needs and challenges.
I am conveniently based in Milton Keynes and have a very good track record of implementing simple frameworks (of processes, tools and templates) into small and large businesses throughout the UK, across many industries, which greatly improve value from investments. Get in touch or call me on 07725 950775