The following post is part of a chapter in our upcoming book on The Customizable and Adaptable Methodology for Managing Projects
Establishing an OPM System for Foreign Ministry
Let us assume the organization is the ministry of foreign affairs for a given government. The project is about building a sustainable Organizational Project Management System. This OPM System will be implemented in the home country across the various divisions and globally for any projects led by the various embassies, such as ‘aid’ projects.
As the new minister take charge after a government reshuffle, she recognized that the ministry has numerous projects all over the world, but the reports on these projects were entirely different.
The reports did not have consistency in term of format and content. Further, it was not clear where do these projects stand or how they were performing. After, further investigation, she found out that the ministry did not have a standardized process for managing projects and programs. Since the minister came from a project management background, she asked one of the ministry’s senior staff to draft the Project Brief for building a comprehensive and sustainable Organizational Project Management System, as was described earlier. She approved the Project Brief and appointed a project sponsor to lead the effort.
The sponsor implemented the ‘select project manager’ process (Chapter 29), which led to hiring an expert project manager that is certified in the CAMMP
Since the project manager has the authorization (a feasibility stage charter), the next step was to mobilize a project management team to help him develop the Stage Management Plan. At this stage a couple of people could have been enough, a senior planner and a deputy project manager with experience in the ministry type of work. To develop the Stage Management Plan, the project manager followed the maangement planning processes in Chapter 29 (Table 5), which includes all of the processes necessary to manage the stage work.
Once the Stage Management Plan is complete, the project manager mobilized a team of lead experts from the various divisions within the ministry; these would include senior professionals from strategic planning, planning and budgeting, facilities, international affairs, information technology, human resource, sustainability, health and safety, among others. This team with senior professionals developed the Stage Detailed Plan – for the feasibility study, only. The Stage Detailed Plan includes all of the detailed planning processes of Chapter 29 (Table 6), such as the comprehensive scope, cost and schedule estimates for the feasibility stage, the resource requirements, defined the applicable quality standards, identified and analyzed the stage risks and developed response strategies.
Next, it is time for the project team to conduct the feasibility study, which would consider the various factors addressed in Chapter 18. The team also shall follow the processes from Table 7, Chapter 29.
Throughout this study, the project management team monitored and controlled the stage work to ensure that the team did not lose focus and were not doing more than required or less than it is needed. The controlling processes were defined via Table 8, Chapter 29.
Once the feasibility study is complete, it is time for a stage gate and the sponsor approval.
After consulting with the minister, the project was approved, and the sponsor issued the Project Authorization Document. The minister approval was the first approval point; refer to the next chapter. With this approval, it was time to close the stage with the aid of Table 9 processes.
It would be valuable to reflect for a moment.
Except for the feasibility study itself, all of the work, such as the Stage Management Plan and Stage Detailed Plan were peculiar to the stage; estimates for the stage; risk for the stage; procurement for the stage; quality for the stage. This approach represents thinking (and working) at the stage level.
Let’s shift focus to thinking on the project level; the feasibility study was about the project. Part of this study were cost and schedule estimates, these were for the project, Class 1 Estimate, as will be discussed in Chapter 37. The study also includes the sustainability considerations, risk, and other factors. All of these actions focus on the project. All of the feasibility considerations will lead to the final recommendation for management decision.
Development Phase – Requirements Stage
The project authorization document approved this stage, and unless something is out of the norm, that authorization is enough to start the stage work.
The next step would be for the project manager to develop the Stage Management Plan. It might be necessary to add staff to the project management team but not necessarily. Same as before, this plan is unique to the stage – only. It includes all of the relevant processes.
From SMP the team will continue work to develop the Stage Detailed Plan. Same story, the SDP is focused on the requirements stage, and it is based on all of the relevant processes.
With the SDP completed, the project manager will mobilize the necessary team members that will conduct (implement) the stage’s main scope, which is to develop the project requirements document per the implementing processes.
Obviously, control is throughout the stage and stage closure once all is acceptable.
Once again, the process groups and their applicable processes would be specific to the stage whereas the requirements document focus is on the project. At the stage gate, management would be concerned with the project requirements document and that it complies with the project authorization; this is a control function on the project level.
The Rest of the stages
Per the previous text, the project manager will continue to lead the project to completion and delivering success. Note the following:
- Along the project life, the project manager could have been changed and maybe more than once. Although this is not preferred, it might be necessary.
- The project management team will consist of a couple of members early on but later it could grow, reaching a peak during definition and implementation stages. This team includes planners and schedulers, cost specialists, procurement personnel, among others.
- The technical team is multiple teams. The leads may be the same throughout the project, but the staff conducting the feasibility study are likely different than those developing the definition package or implementing the work.
- An operational readiness team should be working early to maintain the communication in the organization about the change and champion the initiative. This team will also be identifying the various steps for the handover and operating the product of the project. This team could become the project management office for the ministry in the long run.
- Initial operations can be utilized for this project with the implementation of the new system in one division in the home country before roll out in other divisions and globally.
- Repeating, the process groups and their applicable processes would apply at every stage.