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Delivering the Capability Tutorial

Welcome to delivering the capability tutorial offered by Simplilearn. The tutorial is part of the MSP® Foundation and Practitioner course. In the previous lesson, we discussed managing the tranches. In this tutorial, we will cover the fourth transformational flow, which is, ‘delivering the capability’.

Let us begin with the objectives of this lesson in the next section.

Objectives

By the end of this delivering the capability tutorial, you will be able to:

  • Describe the inputs, principle controls, key roles and the outputs of the process, ‘delivering the capability’

  • Explain the steps involved in the same process

  • Describe the responsibilities of various roles involved in ‘delivering the capability’

In the next section, let us find out the position of ‘delivering the capability’ in the MSP® framework.

MSP Framework

The MSP® framework diagram is shown below.

It aids in finding the exact position of ‘delivering the capability’, which is in the innermost ring of the MSP framework diagram.

The prominent features of ‘Delivering the capability’ process is that:

  • ‘Delivering the capability’ covers the activities for coordinating and managing project delivery according to the program plan.

  • This process works very closely with ‘realizing the benefits’ process.

  • Both these processes are being governed by ‘managing the tranches’ that provides high-level direction, guidance, and control.

In the next section, we will introduce the concept of ‘delivering the capability.’

Delivering the Capability Introduction

‘Delivering the capability’ is a process that delivers the capability defined in the blueprint through projects described in the projects dossier.

The inputs, controls, roles, steps, and outputs of this process are as follows:

Let us first discuss the inputs to this process.

Inputs to the Process, Delivering the Capability

The inputs to this process are:

  • Boundary baseline documentation

  • Management baseline documentation

  • Governance baseline documentation

  • A decision from the Program Board to start the planned projects in the tranche or decisions that are related to some constraints for this process.

  • In addition, if the projects are emergent programs, there are inputs like the details of current projects.

Principle Controls of the Process, Delivering the Capability

The principle controls of this process are mainly defined as:

  • Governance baseline controls.

  • They are aided by project quality, acceptance criteria, tolerance limits for risks and others.

  • Other principle controls of ‘delivering the capability’ process are dependency management, Program Board monitoring and project assurance and audits.

  • Constant monitoring from the Program Board ensures that projects are running as planned and there are no conflicts with other projects.

  • Project assurances and audits give confidence to stakeholders that outputs are delivered as planned.

  • The Project Executive is accountable to the Program Board for the success of the program.

Key Roles of the Process, Delivering the Capability

The key roles identified in this process are that of:

  • The Senior Responsible Owner or SRO,

  • The Program Manager,

  • The Business Change Manager or BCM and

  • The Program Office.

We will learn about their responsibilities in detail, later in this lesson. Let us now review the ‘delivering the capability’ process.

Steps in the Process, Delivering the Capability

The steps involved in the process are:

  • Start projects,

  • Engage stakeholders,

  • Align projects with benefits realization and with program objectives,

  • Governance: manage and control delivery, and

  • Close projects.

We will discuss each of these in detail, in the following sections. But first, let us discuss the outputs of this process.

Outputs of the Process, Delivering the Capability

The outputs of this process include:

  • The project outputs which are delivered and accepted, and

  • Project highlight and delivery reports.

  • They also include any escalations from projects,

  • Communication events and

  • Project definition documentation.

  • Lessons learned and evaluation reviews form a part of the outputs of this process.

  • Updated management baselines are also an output of the process.

In the next section, we will understand how to start projects.

Step 1: Start Projects

The Program Manager is responsible for commissioning the projects within the program. The various steps involved in starting the projects are as follows:  

First

The Program Manager ensures that appropriate individuals are appointed to key project roles as the Project Manager. The Project Executive or the Sponsor is accountable to the Program Board for a project’s success within time, scope, cost, risk and quality parameters.

As each project is about to begin, the Program Manager should ensure that each team fully understands the project brief, context of blueprint, tranches, benefits and project management standards.

Second

The project briefing should start with identifying the projects started with the program. The list of projects can be found in the projects dossier.

Third

How projects fit into the bigger picture, like strategy, needs to be confirmed.

Fourth

It needs to be ensured that projects are aware of each other and understand the inter-dependencies. This will minimize future conflicts, and risks can be identified.

Fifth

Acceptance criteria for project outputs must be defined. It should be explained how the project outputs will be used to build capability and enable transition, leading to outcomes and benefits realization. Projects need to be aware of the capability they have to deliver and how it will add to benefits realization.

Sixth

Information from “defining a program” can be used to provide projects with guidance on quality reporting, exceptions and escalations.

In the following section, we will discuss the next step of the process, which is ‘engage stakeholders’.

Step 2: Engage Stakeholders

Maintaining the engagement of stakeholders and keeping them informed of progress and issues are an important part of successful program engagement.

The advantages of stakeholder engagement are as follows:

  • It is necessary to engage stakeholders to gain their cooperation. For example, involving stakeholders in requirement analysis or reviewing designs would make the project more clear to them and align the outputs as per their needs.

  • This will also have an added advantage of giving stakeholders a sense of involvement, leading to better engagement and a more positive outcome.

  • The Program Manager may need to guide the communication, at times, with critical stakeholders and involve Business Change Managers or BCMs (Read as B-C-Ms) for the same.

In the next section, let us find out how to align projects with benefits realization.

Step 3: Align Projects with Benefits Realization

The Business Change Manager is responsible for ensuring that particular benefits relevant to each project can be realized by implementing the outputs of those projects.

The BCM has a key role in:

  • Project briefs should be aligned with benefits profiles and benefits realization plans in agreement with the Business Change Managers. They have a key role in the alignment of projects with planned benefits and program schedules.

  • They need to ensure that the inputs, business requirements and time constraints are in place for a project to deliver the outputs. The Business Change Manager (BCM) provides expertise with the help of operational staff in assessing designs, prototypes and so on.

  • It is also part of his responsibility to consider how well the proposals will work in the real environment.

  • The BCMs come from the operational area and have the necessary expertise to make the judgment.

  • They must sign off the project outputs that will provide the capability to deliver the outcomes and benefits.

In the next section, we will focus on aligning projects with program objectives.

Step 4: Align Projects with Program Objectives

Aligning projects with program objectives is a constant activity throughout the program for all its projects.

  • For projects started by the program, initial alignment is achieved via project brief and

  • Alignment is maintained through reporting lines between the project and the program.

The responsibilities of the Programme Manager in aligning projects are as follows:

  • It is the Program Manager’s duty to ensure that dependencies identified between the projects are managed effectively. The sign-off for a project plan by the Program Manager signifies that proposed outputs are in line with strategic requirements.

  • Sign-off should be based on assessing whether the proposed outputs and capabilities meet strategic requirements or not.

  • In case a project continues through more than one tranche, the management stages should be aligned with the end tranche.

  • This will ensure that maximum control can be exercised by the program towards the project direction.

Good governance is critical to success. When a program starts projects, a part of the brief provides the relationship between the project and its program.

The information that can be obtained from the programme brief are:

  • It can be found out when and how projects report to the program.

  • An idea of the reporting exceptions can be gathered, so that the project knows when a situation is beyond its authority, and

  • The acceptable tolerance limits, within which it can operate.

Effective governance can be realized only if there is coordination between the Program Board and the Project Board.

In the next section, we will understand how to monitor and control progress.

Step 5: Governance: Manage and Control Delivery

‘Manage control and delivery’ is divided into two parts, namely, ‘monitor and control progress’ and ‘manage and resolve risks’. Projects are monitored by focusing on key areas that are as follows:

First, we will focus on ‘monitor and control progress’.

Live projects are monitored by focusing on key areas such as outputs, timely delivery, estimates, costs and benefits, resources, scope, reporting formats and tracking program plan and schedule.

Let us now discuss these blocks shown in the image in detail.

Project Outputs

The project outputs should meet the requirements of the customers or program. Whenever a project is undertaken, it is assigned with some acceptance criteria. This ensures that project outputs will be accepted by the client or the program only if they satisfy the particular criteria.

Timely delivery

Delivery forecasts and report exceptions must be adhered to as soon as possible, to ensure alignment with the program plan and other dependencies. This will help in increasing the confidence of the involved stakeholders.

It is necessary that projects should adhere to the timelines, as any delay might have a cascading impact on dependent projects and on the overall program.

Estimates, Costs, and Benefits

Now let us discuss the estimates, costs and benefits part. The program defines the tolerance limits of each project.

  • If the issues of cost, risk, and other parameters are within the tolerance limits, the project can take corrective actions without escalating it to the Program Board. This ensures that there is a certain level of autonomy for the projects.

  • But in scenarios where tolerance limits are breached, the issues need to be escalated to the Program Manager.

Tracking tolerance, estimating contribution towards benefits realization and reporting exceptions help the management teams assess the impact.

Resource Suitability

The suitability and availability of resources including the suppliers’ performance must be confirmed. This helps the program and projects plan more efficiently.

Scope

Any change needs to be formally managed to avoid scope creep. Any increase in scope means that the program will need a longer time to complete, along with increased effort and cost. So, adding scope without formal approval might lead to issues related to finance and resource conflicts in the future.

Reporting Formats

The projects should report in an agreed format to help aggregate the information at the program level, in line with the monitoring and control strategy. Any progress against the program’s plan and the schedule is monitored and tracked.

Any variation beyond the tolerance limit is analyzed for its impact on the program.

Tracking Programme Plan and Schedule

The Program Manager is responsible for:

  • Reviewing the projects and obtaining the information for benefits reviews and assessments.

  • He is also responsible for dealing with escalations and exceptions from the projects.

  • Managing dependencies and interfaces between the projects and

  • Checking alignment with requirements that are defined in the blueprint are other important tasks assigned to the Program Manager.

  • The Program Manager working with the Business Change Manager or BCM has to ensure that the project outputs are of good quality and they will work well in the full-scale operational environment.

In the next section, we will focus on managing and resolving risks.

Manage and Resolve Risks

The points that need to be considered during management of risks are as follows:

  • The identified risks should be reviewed and challenged on a regular basis.

  • New risks should be identified and responses must be planned for them. This should be done in accordance with the risk management strategy.

  • As the program progresses, there will be inevitable delays which are unforeseen. There may be other situations that might threaten the progress of the program.

  • The Program Manager should recognize and deal with anything that affects the successful delivery of a program. This may also include managing the risks escalated by projects.

  • Projects should also identify risks from their own perspective. They must be clear as to when the identified risks need to be managed at the project level and when they must be escalated to the Program Manager.

  • For each project, guidance for managing risks and issues should be described in the project brief prepared by the Program Manager.

  • For the overall program, rules are included in risk and issue management strategy.

There are circumstances when the project escalates risks to the Program Manager. These include the scenario when:

  • Dependent projects or programs are impacted. The risks need to be escalated to ensure that the impacted project is aware of the risk.

  • A scenario for escalation might be when the project does not have sufficient authority for managing a risk like the one caused due to a highly influenced stakeholder.

  • The risks need to be escalated in cases where the planned actions will exceed the defined tolerances for cost, quality or time.

  • It is quite possible that the project may not have the necessary skills or expertise to resolve the risk; in such a case, escalating it will be the only option available.

  • If the project fails to deliver its outputs in line with the benefits realization plan, it should immediately highlight this to the Program Manager.

In the following section, we will focus on closing projects.

Close Projects

As each project prepares for a planned closure, there should be a formal delivery of project output to the program. The points to be taken care of are as follows:

The points to be taken care of are explained as -

  • It should be ensured that the project output meets the acceptance criteria. It is important that the closing of projects is carefully controlled by the Program Manager.

  • If combined outputs from projects do not support the effective transition and do not lead to the required operational improvement, the expected benefits may not be realized.

  • The project closure also includes a plan for post-project review to assess benefits realization. These reviews should be scheduled to fit into the program’s review schedule and may also need independent scrutiny.

  • One of the most important aspects of project closure is to capture the lessons learned. The knowledge and experiences provided by these lessons can be shared across other projects in the program.

In the next section, we will review the roles and their responsibilities in ‘delivering the capability’.

Roles and Responsibilities

We will focus on the roles, namely, the Senior Responsible Owner, Program Manager, Business Change Manager and Program Office.

The roles and their responsibilities in ‘delivering the capability’ are as follows:

  • Senior Responsible Owner (SRO): The Senior Responsible Owner is accountable for all the steps involved in ‘delivering the capability’.

  • Programme Manager: The Program Manager drives the process and is responsible for all the steps in the process.

  • Business Change Manager (BCM): The Business Change Managers are consulted at all steps except when it comes to aligning projects with benefits realization. This is where they share responsibility with the Program Manager.

  • Programme Office: The Program Office supports the process and provides necessary information, thus acting as an information hub.

In the next section, we will focus on an example based on the concepts discussed.

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Delivering the Capability Problem Statement

Kylie Honkele, the CFO of Nutri Worldwide Inc., is the Senior Responsible Owner or SRO of the program, Nutri Snack. Initially, the program she outlined had three projects to ensure its successful completion.

Now, a fourth project is added to address the complaints about the defective packaging. The current list of projects are as follows:

Project 1: Creating a new recipe

Project 2: Advertisement and marketing

Project 3: Identifying the sellers

Project 4: New production unit

Let us find out which of the following statements are incorrect with reference to the steps in ‘delivering the capability’.

  • Statement 1: When closing project 1, the Program Manager should assist in reviewing the effectiveness of communications between the project team and the suppliers.

  • Statement 2: The Project Manager of project 4 should be aware of conflicts with project 3.

  • Statement 3: Each project management team should fully understand the project brief, its context of blueprint, tranches, and benefits. This is the responsibility of the SRO.

  • Statement 4: The Program Manager should be updated on a daily basis about the progress of the project and informed of any issue or risk.

We will discuss the appropriateness of these statements in the next section.

Delivering the Capability Solution

The appropriateness of each statement discussed in the previous section are:

Statement 1:

The statement, ‘when closing project 1, the Program Manager should assist in reviewing the effectiveness of communications between the project team and suppliers’, is correct.

The Program Manager can review the effectiveness to ensure that other projects can learn from the first project.

Statement 2:

The second statement, ‘the Project Manager of project 4 should be aware of conflicts with project 3’, is correct. Being aware of the conflicts with other projects will help project 4 to be ready in case of delays due to project 3.

Statement 3:

The third statement that each project management team should fully understand the project brief, its context to blueprint, tranches and benefits, and that it is the responsibility of the SRO, is an incorrect statement.

This is because it is the responsibility of the Program Manager to ensure that the team understands the project brief.

Statement 4:

The last statement, ‘the Program Manager should be updated on a daily basis about the progress of the project and should be informed of any issue or risk’ is incorrect. The Program Manager should not be involved in the micro-management of projects.

Summary

Let us summarize what we have learned in this tutorial:

  • ‘Delivering the capability’ is a process that delivers the capability defined in the blueprint through the projects described in the projects dossier.

  • Some of the inputs to this process are boundary, management and governance baseline documentation and decisions from the Program Board.

  • The principle controls of this process are mainly defined governance baseline controls.

  • Some of the outputs of this process include the project outputs delivered and accepted, and project highlight and delivery reports.

  • The steps involved in the process, ‘delivering the capability’, are ‘start projects’, ‘engage stakeholders’, ‘align projects with benefits realization’, ‘align projects with program objectives’ and so on.

  • The Senior Responsible Owner is accountable for all the steps involved in ‘delivering the capability’.

  • The Program Manager drives the process and is responsible for all the steps in the process.

  • The Business Change Managers are consulted at all steps except during aligning projects with benefits realization.

  • When aligning the projects with benefits realization, the responsibility is shared between the Program Manager and the Business Change Manager.

  • The Program Office supports the process and provides necessary information.

Conclusion

With this, we come to an end to the tutorial delivering the capability. In the next chapter, we will focus on Realizing the benefits.

  • Disclaimer
  • PMP, PMI, PMBOK, CAPM, PgMP, PfMP, ACP, PBA, RMP, SP, and OPM3 are registered marks of the Project Management Institute, Inc.

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