PRINCE2 Foundation and Practitioner - Progress Theme Tutorial

10.1 Progress Theme

Hello and welcome to PRINCE2® Foundation Certification course offered by Simplilearn. This lesson is about Progress, which is one of the seven themes of PRINCE2® methodology. Progress theme provides mechanisms to monitor project progress against the plan. This is the seventh and the last theme of PRINCE2®.

10.2 Objectives

After completing this lesson, you will be able to: ?Define Progress theme ?Explain PRINCE2® approach to Progress theme ?Define the roles and responsibilities in Progress theme

10.3 Purpose of Progress Theme

The purpose of the Progress theme is to establish mechanisms to monitor and compare actual achievements against those planned; provide a forecast for the project objectives and the project’s continued viability; and control any unacceptable deviations. Tolerances set the limits of acceptable variation from the baseline before escalation to higher levels of management. For example, time plan to complete the current stage of the project is defined as 100 days with 10 percent tolerance. This means that the stage should take anywhere from 90 to 110 days. This theme supports the principle of ‘Managing by Stage’ and ‘Continued Business Justification’.

10.4 Progress Terms—Definition

The key definitions related to this theme are as follows: PRINCE2® defines that “Progress is the measure of the achievement of the objectives of a plan. It can be monitored at Work Package, stage and project level.” Progress controls ensure that for each level of the project management team the next level of management can monitor progress, compare level of achievement with plan, review plans and options against future situations, detect problems and identify risks, initiate corrective action and authorize further work.

10.5 Progress Terms—Definition (contd.)

An exception is a situation where it can be forecast that there will be a deviation beyond the agreed tolerance levels. Tolerances are the permissible deviation above and below a plan’s target for time and cost without escalating the deviation to the next level of management. There may also be tolerance levels for quality, scope, benefit and risk. The allocation of tolerances follows the four levels of project organisation. Corporate or programme management sits outside the project but sets the overall requirements and tolerance levels for the project. Project Board has overall control at a project level, as long as forecasts remain within project tolerance, and will allocate tolerances for each management stage to the Project Manager. Project Board has the ability to review progress and decide whether to continue, change or stop the project. Team Manager has control of a Work Package within the Work Package tolerances agreed upon with the Project Manager.

10.6 Six Tolerance Areas by Level

The table shown illustrates the tolerances for time, cost, scope and risk.

10.7 Six Tolerance Areas by Level (contd.)

The table shown illustrates the tolerances for quality and benefits. As seen in the table, for the quality area, only the project and product level tolerances are applicable. This is for Project Product Description and Product Description respectively. In case of benefits only project level tolerances are set for Business Case area. Note that the scope of a plan is defined by the set of products to be delivered. Scope tolerance, if used, should be in the form of a note on or reference to the product breakdown structure for the plan. Scope tolerance at the Stage or Work Package Level is of particular use if applying a time-bound iterative development method such as Agile. Another important consideration is that more specific stage level risk tolerances may be set by the Project Board when authorising a stage or by the Project Manager when commissioning Work Packages, especially from external suppliers. Quality tolerances are not summarily defined at the Stage or Work Package level however are defined as per Product Description within the scope of the plan.

10.8 PRINCE2® Approach to Progress

There are multiple ways through which PRINCE2® recommends progress control in a Project. First is delegating authority from one level of management to the level below it, where four level of management concepts is applicable. Corporate or programme management level sets project level tolerance and hands over the project to Project Board and so on. The next way of controlling progress is by dividing a project into management stages. Unless the current stage is completed satisfactorily and there is a clear plan for the next stage, the project work is not authorised. This means the project work is authorised one stage at a time. In addition to these two ways of progress reporting, there are other ways like either time-driven, event-driven or raising exceptions. The project’s control is defined and documented in the Project Initiation Documentation or PID, which is prepared during ‘Initiating a Project’ process.

10.9 Delegating Authority

Let us understand how the tolerances are set in a descending order and how the controls are exercised in an ascending order. The allocation of tolerances follows the four levels of project organisation. Corporate or programme management sits outside the project but sets the overall requirements and tolerance levels for the project. Project Board has overall control at a project level, as long as forecasts remain within project tolerance, and will allocate tolerances for each management stage to the Project Manager. Project Board has the ability to review progress and decide whether to continue, change or stop the project. Project Manager has day-to-day control for a management stage within the tolerance limits laid down by the Project Board. Team Manager has control of a Work Package, however, only within the Work Package tolerances agreed with the Project Manager.

10.10 Delegating Authority (contd.)

The image shown is one of the most popular PRINCE2® images that illustrates how different types of tolerances are set in the project and how progress reporting is done.

10.11 Delegating Authority (contd.)

Project Board uses the ‘Directing a Project’ progress to authorise initiation, project, each stage and finally, project closure. When the Project Board has agreed upon stage tolerances with the Project Manager, it is kept informed of progress by means of Highlight Reports and End Stage Reports. There is no need for regular progress meetings during this stage. Project Board is kept up-to-date of the exceptions and changes through exception and issue reports. Project Board may request that the Project Manager produce an Exception Plan to replace the plan that was forecast to exceed tolerance. Project Board may also remove the cause, accept and adjust tolerance or request more time to consider or reject the recommendations in the Issue Report. If the forecast is for project tolerances to be exceeded, Project Board no longer has the authority to manage the project and must refer the matter to corporate or programme management for a decision. They may request the Project Manager to produce an Exception Plan for the project. Management stages are partitions of the project with management decision points. A management stage is a collection of activities and products whose delivery is managed as a unit. Management stages provide review and decision points, which gives the Project Board the opportunity to assess the project viability at regular intervals. Project Board only authorises the next management stage if there is sufficient business justification to continue. If the project no longer has a valid Business Case, the Project Board has the authority to close it prematurely.

10.12 Delegating Authority (contd.)

Project Manager’s authorisations occur during the ‘Controlling a Stage’ process. Project Manager will be responsible for agreeing and authorising Work Packages and Work Package tolerances. Near the end of each stage, during the ‘Managing a Stage Boundary’ process, the Project Manager will review the Business Case and the Project Plan. The output from reviewing progress is a decision of whether the Work Package, Stage Plan or Project Plan remain, or forecast to remain, within agreed upon tolerances. If a Work Package is forecast to exceed its tolerances, Team Manager should inform Project Manager by raising an issue. If the Stage-level exceptions are forecast to exceed its tolerances the Project Manager should produce an Issue Report to capture and analyse the details of the deviation. An Exception Report for the Project Board is also prepared by the Project Manager. Progress updates include checkpoint reports produced by Team Managers or team members. Project Registers and Logs are used to review progress and identify issues and risks that may need to be resolved.

10.13 Use of Management Stages for Control

A management stage is a collection of activities and products whose delivery is managed as a unit. Management stages provide review and decision points, and give the ability to ensure that key decisions are made prior to the detailed work. Project Board authorises one management stage of the project at a time. Towards the end of each stage, an End Stage Report and Stage Plan for next stage are created to request authorisation to commence the next management stage. The End Stage Report, together with the Stage Plan for the next stage should contain all the information necessary to enable the Project Board to conduct an end stage assessment and make a decision of whether to proceed.

10.14 Number of Stages

The use of management stages in a PRINCE2® project is mandatory, however the number of stages is flexible and depends on the scale and risk of the project. Every PRINCE2® project consists of at least two management stages, first is Initiation Stage and one or more further delivery stages. An important criterion is how confident the Project Board and Project Manager are in proceeding.

10.15 Number of Stages (contd.)

Defining management stages is a process of balancing between increasing the project management overhead with too many short management stages versus reducing the level of control with few lengthy ones. Additionally, the milestones of the project and the planning horizon and the amount of risks present also need to be balanced.

10.16 Length of Stages

Every PRINCE2® project consists of at least two management stages. Stages should be shorter when there is greater risk and complexity. They can be longer when risk is lower, usually in the middle of the project. Some of the factors that influence this decision include: the planning horizon at any point of time, the technical stages within the project, alignment with programme activities and the level of risk.

10.17 Length of Stages (contd.)

The image shown illustrates the relationship between management and technical stages. The first management stage and the first technical stage are aligned to each other, whereas the second technical stage spans across three management stages.

10.18 Technical Stages

Technical stages are a method of grouping work by the set of techniques used or the products created, and are a separate concept from the management stage. Technical stages often overlap but management stages do not. Technical stages are typified by the user of a particular set of specialist skills. Management stages equate to commitment of resources and authority to spend. Where a technical stage spans a management stage boundary, the extent to which the product(s) of the technical stage should be complete at the stage boundary should be clear in the Product Description(s) concerned. Let us take the example of two technical stages, first stage is specifying product requirement and second stage is designing of the product. There can be some overlap in these stages, however as soon as the product requirement is specified and there is some clarity on requirement, product designing can start. While product design is underway, a better clarity on requirement can be obtained and the design can be refined. In this case, there is some overlap between these two technical stages.

10.19 Technical Stages (contd.)

The PRINCE2® approach is to concentrate the management of the project on the management stages and not on technical stages. The reason is that the management stages form the basis of the planning and control and are defined by PRINCE2® processes. Technical stages can be formed based on specialist work. Some popular models include Systems Development Lifecycle, Spiral model, Agile model and Rapid Action Development Model.

10.20 Event-Driven and Time-Driven Controls

PRINCE2® provides two types of progress controls throughout the life of a project, event and time-driven controls. Event-driven controls are implemented at the occurrence of specific events. For example: completion of PID, end of a stage and occurrence of an issue. Time-driven controls are implemented at pre-defined periodic intervals. For example: weekly Checkpoint Report and monthly Highlight Report. Monitoring and reporting requires a time-based approach, whereas control or decision making is an event-based activity.

10.21 Event-Driven and Time-Driven Controls (contd.)

Let us go through the management products that assist Project Manager in establishing baselines for progress control. Project Plan will include the project-level performance targets and tolerances. Stage Plan forms the basis of the day-to-day control of the stage. It should contain details of the activities to be conducted during a management stage, its timeframes and the resources needed to carry it out. Project Board may request an Exception Plan during ‘Directing a Project’ process. The Exception Plan should be produced at the same level of details as the plan that it replaces. Project Manager authorises a Work Package to trigger an individual or Team Manager to undertake a piece of work during a stage. This means work cannot be undertaken unless the Project Manager has specifically authorised it. The individuals or teams, monitor progress against the Work Package and report to the Project Manager via Checkpoint Reports. As part of the Controlling a Stage, the Project Manager will regularly review the progress of work through Checkpoint Reports and maintain a set of project registers and logs. The Project Manager will use this information to update the Stage Plan with actual progress achieved.

10.22 Event-Driven and Time-Driven Controls (contd.)

The management products that assist the Project Manager in reviewing progress are: Daily Log, which is a useful tool for recording actions, informal issues, other notes or observations that are not captured by any other registers or logs. Issue Register, which contains details of all formal issues raised during the project, which could take the form of requests for change, off-specifications or problems or concerns. Product Status Account provides a snapshot of the status of products within the project, management stage or a particular area of the project. The Product Status Account is derived from the Configuration Items Records. Quality Register, which is a record of all planned and implemented quality activities. Risk Register, which is a record of all identified risks. The Project Manager should review the Risk Register as a part of reviewing stage status. Lessons Report, as a minimum, it should be produced during the ‘Closing a Project’ process. However, actions to learn lessons can be taken at any time. Finally, Issue Report, which is a report containing the description, impact assessment and recommendations for a request for change. It is only created for those issues that need to be handled formally.

10.23 Capturing and Reporting Lessons

One of the principles of a PRINCE2® project is that the project management team learns from experience. Lessons are maintained in a lessons log. Lessons are sought, recorded and actioned throughout. If a lesson identified during the current project involves taking action during the same project, they should be incorporated in the corresponding plans or work packages. The purpose of Lessons Report is to provoke action so that the positive lessons from a project become embedded in the organisation’s way of working and the organisation is able to avoid the negative lessons on future projects. If a lesson is significant and has relevance for future projects, it should be included in the Lessons Report. The Lessons Report is created at any appropriate time during a project. As a minimum, however, a Lessons Report should be produced during the ‘Closing of a Project’ process.

10.24 Reporting Progress

Let us discuss various reports that PRINCE2® recommends. The frequency of reporting should reflect the level of control required, and this is likely to vary during the project. The management products that are used for progress reporting are as follows: Checkpoint Report is produced by the Team Manager with details of progress against the Work Package. This is reviewed by the Project Manager. All the Checkpoint Reports of a stage are collected to review the status of a stage The Project Manager produces Highlight Report on management stage progress which is reviewed by the Project Board. The Highlight Report allows members of the Project Board to manage by exception. Frequency of reporting is defined by the Project Board and documented in Communication Management Strategy.

10.25 Reporting Progress (contd.)

End Stage Report is produced by the Project Manager towards the end of each management stage. This is reviewed by the Project Board and this report provides the Project Board with the information on the progress date and the overall project situation. End Stage Report should have sufficient information to request for a decision from Project Board on the next step of the project, whether to stop or start the next stage of the project. End Project Report is produced by the Project Manager towards the end of the project, during the ‘Closing a Project’ process, and is used by the Project Board to evaluate the project and authorise closure.

10.26 Raising Exceptions

The output from reviewing progress is a decision whether the Work Package, Stage Plan or Project Plan remain or forecast to remain within agreed upon tolerances. Work Package Level Exceptions—if a Work Package is forecast to exceed its tolerances, the Team Manager should inform the Project Manager by raising an issue. The Project Manager then advices corrective action. Stage-level exceptions—if the stage is forecast to exceed its tolerances, the Project Manager should produce an Issue Report to capture and analyse the details of the deviation and provide an Exception Report for the Project Board based on the Issue report. Project Board may ask the Project Manager to prepare an Exception Plan to replace the plan that was forecast to exceed tolerance. Project Board may also remove the cause, accept and adjust tolerance or request more time to consider or reject the recommendations in the Issue Report. It is the responsibility of the Project Board's to assess the Exception Plan, review and approve it The sequence followed here is Project Manager first prepares the Issue Report and then an Exception Report and finally an Exception Plan. Exception Plan replaces the Current Plan, which was in Exception. So, if the issue was with Stage Plan, than the Exception Plan becomes the new Stage Plan. So this Exception Plan would be similar to the stage plan, exception being that it resolves the issue that was reported. Project Level Exceptions—if the forecast is that the project tolerances will exceed, the Project Board no longer has the authority to manage the project and must refer the matter to corporate or programme management for a decision. The Project Manager generates Exception Plan as per the guidance from Project Board. Once approved, this Exception Plan will replace the Project Plan.

10.27 Example of Raising Exceptions

A photographer from Photographs Ltd., a professional photographic company, has accepted the role of Team Manager after understanding the requirements of the project. The Team Manager must arrange a meeting with the Site Manager to establish a schedule for the photographic sessions to minimise the impact on the factory’s production. However, the Site Manager has not responded to the emails or calls from the photographer. This means the Team Manager will not be able to finish the work on schedule leading to an exception for the Work Package. This was raised as an issue to the Project Manager. The Project Manager called up the Site Manager and asked to send the photographic schedule to the photographer in 2 days.

10.28 Example of Raising Exceptions (Contd.)

At the PRINCE2® Implementation Project (P2IP), City of Edinburgh Housing Services; after the 3-month long initiation stage, the Project Manager observed in the Issue Report to the City of Edinburgh Council Housing Department that the pilot was not progressing well as other high-profile issues were being given priority than on implementation of the project. This was forecasted to lead to an exception at the stage level. On advice from the Project Board, the scope of the project changed quite considerably to include the whole of Housing Services.

10.29 Roles and Responsibilities in Progress Theme

The table shown depicts the responsibilities of corporate or programme management in Progress theme. Corporate or programme management provide project tolerances and document them in the project mandate and make decisions on Exception Plans when project-level tolerances are forecast to be exceeded. Executive provide stage tolerances and ensure that progress towards the outcome remains consistent from the business perspective. Executive also make decisions on Exception Plans when stage-level tolerances are forecast to be exceeded and recommend future action on the project to corporate or programme management if the project tolerance is forecast to be exceeded. Senior Users ensure that progress towards the outcome remains consistent from the user perspective. Senior Suppliers ensure that progress towards the outcome remains consistent from the supplier perspective. Project Managers authorise Work Packages, monitor progress against Stage Plans and produce Highlight Reports, End Stage Reports, Lessons Reports and End Project Report. Project Managers also produce Exception Reports for the Project Board when stage-level tolerances are forecast to be exceeded and maintain the project's registers and logs. Team Managers agree Work Packages with the Project Manager and inform Project Support of completed quality activities. Team Managers also produce Checkpoint Reports and notify the Project Manager of any forecast deviation from Work Package tolerances. Project Assurance plays a crucial role and should verify the Business Case against external events and the project progress. Project Assurance should also verify changes to the Project Plan to see whether there is any impact on the needs of the business or the Business Case and confirm stage and project progress against agreed tolerances. Project Support assist with the compilation of reports and contribute specialist toll expertise, for example, planning and control tools. Project Support also number, record, store and distribute Issue Reports and Exception Reports, assist the Project Manager in maintaining the Issue Register and Risk Register and maintain the Quality Register on behalf of the Project Manager.

10.30 Quiz

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

10.31 Summary

Here is a quick recap of what we have learnt in this lesson: ?The allocation of tolerances follows the four levels of project organisation. They are: corporate or programme management, Project Board, Project Manager and Team Manager. ?The project’s control should be documented in the Project Initiation Documentation or PID. ?The use of management stages in a PRINCE2® project is mandatory, but the number of stages is flexible and depends on the scale and risk of the project.

10.32 Thank You

In the next lesson, we will discuss the Introduction to PRINCE2® Processes

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