PRINCE2 - Directing a Project Process Tutorial

13.1 Directing a Project Process

Hello and welcome to PRINCE2® Foundation Certification course offered by Simplilearn. This lesson is about ‘Directing a Project’ process.

13.2 Objectives

After completing this lesson, you will be able to: •Identify who is responsible for the ‘Directing a Project’ process •State the purpose and objective of ‘Directing a Project’ process •Identify and describe the activities in the ‘Directing a Project’ process

13.3 Directing a Project Process—Project Board

The Project Brief is prepared in ‘Starting up a Project’ process, however, the Project Manager needs approval from the Project Board to proceed. As per PRINCE2® methodology, the Project Board is responsible for making all the project decisions. It also sets out the level of control required to make the project run smoothly. Depending on the size and complexity of the project, the Project Board can control the project formally via written reports and a signed stage approval. The Project Board can also exercise control informally by verbal communication of information and decisions. Irrespective of the project size, it is important that there is a clear understanding of what is needed, in writing (if possible) and that the exception procedure and tolerances are set out. It is also important that the final product is formally accepted by the customer.

13.4 Purpose of Directing a Project

The purpose of the ‘Directing a Project’ process is to enable the Project Board to be accountable for the project’s success by making key decisions and exercising overall control while delegating day-to-day management of the project to the Project Manager.

13.5 Objective of Directing A Project

The objective of the ‘Directing a Project’ process is to ensure that there is authority to initiate the project, deliver the project’s products and close the project. It also ensures that management direction and control are provided throughout the project’s life, and that the project remains viable throughout its life. It is known that corporate or programme management is outside the project management team, however this process ensures that it has an interface to the project through the Project Board. Since there has to be an authority to initiate, manage and deliver the project; there must be an authority to close the project. This process ensures that the plans for realising the post-project benefits are managed and reviewed. The other objectives of this process are to ensure that the project information is available and visible to corporate or programme management and the Benefits Review Plan is managed and reviewed.

13.6 Directing a Project—Overview

The ‘Directing a Project’ process starts on completion of the ‘Starting up a Project’ process and is triggered by the request to initiate a project. The ‘Directing a Project’ process does not cover the day-to-day activities of the Project Manager, it covers the activities of those at the level of management above the project management. The image explains the interaction between various processes within ‘Directing a Project’ process. The activities are covered within blue dotted line rectangle in this process. The Project Board manages by exception. There should be no need for other progress meetings by the Project Board. The Project Board is responsible for assuring that there is continued business justification. The ‘Directing a Project’ process provides a mechanism for the Project Board to achieve such assurance without being overburdened by the project activity. One of the functions of the Project Board is to provide informal advice and guidance to the Project Manager as well as formal direction. The Project Manager should seek advice whenever necessary during the course of the project.

13.7 Directing a Project—Activities

Directing Project activities are Project Board oriented and comprise the following activities: authorise initiation, authorise the project, authorise a Stage or Exception Plan, give ad hoc direction and authorise project closure. The Project Board’s activity to authorise initiation ensures that an investment is worthwhile. Once a request to initiate a project is received from ‘Starting up a Project’, the Project Board must decide whether to allow the project to proceed to the initiation stage. The Project Board may appoint Project Assurance to undertake some of the reviewing and assessing actions, for example, inspecting the Initiation Stage Plan to confirm that it is viable.

13.8 Authorise Initiation

While authorising the initiation, the Project Board performs the following actions: reviews and approves the Project Brief and the Project Product Description, confirms the customer’s quality expectations and the acceptance criteria, verifies that the outline Business Case demonstrates a viable project, reviews and approves the Stage Plan for the initiation stage, obtains or commits the resources needed by the Stage Plan for the initiation stage, informs all stakeholders and the host locations that the project is being initiated and finally, authorises the Project Manager to proceed with the initiation stage.

13.9 Authorise the Project

The second activity that is performed during ‘Directing a Project’ process is to authorise the project. The Project Manager requests for authorisation to deliver the project. This task should be performed in parallel with authorise a Stage or Exception Plan. This activity helps to decide whether to proceed with the rest of the project. The Project Board must confirm that an adequate and suitable Business Case exists and that it demonstrates a viable project. At the same time, it also ensures that the Project Plan is adequate to deliver the Business Case. If the project is not authorised by the Project Board, then it should be prematurely closed. While authorising the project, the Project Board also confirms that the Quality, Risk, Communication and Configuration Management Strategy are sufficient. It also reviews and approves the Benefits Review Plan. Project Board is an interface between the project and outside world, it notifies corporate or programme management and other interested parties that the project has been authorised. It gives ad-hoc direction wherever required and provides guidance to the Project Manager whenever required.

13.10 Authorise a Stage or Exception Plan

One of the important activities of ‘Directing a Project’ process is to authorise a Stage or Exception Plan. PRINCE2® project is based on the ‘Manage by Stages’ principle. The Project Manager prepares a Stage Plan for the next stage towards the end of the current stage. The Project Board authorises a management stage by reviewing the performance of the current stage and approving the Stage Plan for the next stage. The Project Manager manages the day-to-day work. During the project, at any point, the tolerances may be forecast to exceed for different reasons such as sudden change in the gas prices, import duty on raw material and policies by federal bank. In such cases, an exception is raised. If an exception has occurred during the stage, the Project Board may request the Project Manager to produce an Exception Plan for Project Board’s approval. It is to be noted that deviations from the Project Plan may require corporate or programme management approval. However the deviation within Work Packages is managed by the Project Manager using the ‘Controlling a Stage’ process. If the Exception Plan is approved by the Project Board, it will replace the plan that is an exception and will become the new baselined plan. The following actions are taken while performing the activity of authorising a Stage or Exception Plan: review and approve the End Stage Report, review the Stage Plan or Exception Plan for which the Project Manager is seeking approval, approve the plan and authorise the Project Manager to proceed with the submitted plan, set tolerances for the plan being approved and communicate the status of the project to corporate or programme management and keep other interested parties informed about project progress.

13.11 Give Ad Hoc Direction

The activities of ‘Directing a Project’ process are performed by the Project Board. As per PRINCE2®, the Project Board is accountable for the success or failure of the project. They are the decision makers. They may seek advice from the corporate or programme management while managing the issues. As per PRINCE2®, an issues could be a problem or concern, a request for change or an off-specification. In case of a problem or concern the Project Board may ask Project Manager to prepare Exception Plan or provide guidance. If there is a request for change, they may approve, defer, reject or ask for more information and also checks whether Exception Report is required. In case of an off-specification, the Project Board may grant a concession; defer, reject or ask for more information. Checks whether Exception Report is required. An issue can be raised any time during the project and the project may seek ad-hoc directions from the Project Board. The Project Board provides guidance for responding to requests (for example, when options need clarification or where areas of conflict need resolving), responding to external influences (for example, changes in corporate priorities). The Project Board should notify the Project Manager of any changes in the corporate or programme environment that may impact the project, and ensure appropriate action is taken. It may also be possible that corporate or programme management revises the project mandate in response to events external to the project, or instructs the Project Board to close the project. Project may end as per the plan.

13.12 Authorise a Project Closure

As per PRINCE2®, the controlled closure of a project is as important as the controlled start. There must be a point when the objectives set out in the original and current versions of the Project Initiation Documentation and Project Plan are assessed to understand whether the objectives have been achieved. There must be some mechanism to understand how the project has deviated from its initial basis and whether the project has anything more to contribute. Without this approach, the project may never end; a project can become business as usual and the original focus on benefits will be lost. Authorising closure of the project is the last activity undertaken by the Project Board, prior to its own disbandment, and may require endorsement from corporate or programme management. During this activity, one of the important steps to be taken is to review the original and current versions of the Project Initiation Documentation to understand the project’s initial baseline and current strategies and controls. The End Project Report is prepared by the Project Manager when the project is about to end, it helps to understand the project’s actual performance against its initial basis. The Project Board reviews and approves the End Project Report. In some cases although the project is over, some issues may remain unresolved or the issue may require to be addressed by a member of the organisation. For example, one of the team members has requested for the transfer 2 months ago and decision is still pending. Though the project is over, the Project Board should confirm who should receive each follow-on action recommendation as summarised in the End Project Report. The Project Board also reviews the Lessons Report and agrees upon who should receive it. The Project Board should also review and gain approval for the updated Benefits Review Plan. Prior to the formal closure of the project, a project closure notification is sent across to the concerned stakeholders by the Project Manager.

13.13 Directing a Project Process—Exercise

Three exercises are given to test the comprehension of ‘Directing a Project’ process. Please take some time to understand the questions and note the answers.

13.14 Quiz

The quiz section will help to check your understanding of the concepts covered.

13.15 Summary

Here is a quick recap of what we have learnt in this lesson: •The purpose of the ‘Directing a Project’ process is to make the Project Board accountable for the project’s success. •The ‘Directing a Project’ process starts on completion of the ‘Starting up a Project’ process and is triggered by the request to initiate a project. •‘Directing a Project’ activities are Project Board-oriented. •The activities include authorise initiation, authorise the project, authorise a Stage or Exception Plan, give ad-hoc direction and authorise the project closure.

13.16 Thank You

In the next lesson, we will discuss the next process, which is ‘Initiating a Project’.

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