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Tailor IT Project Management Processes to Fit Your Projects

Right-size PMBOK for all of your IT projects.

  • Lack of upfront project planning can result in IT projects going over budget and time, resulting in poor stakeholder satisfaction and a widespread perception that IT is not delivering value.
  • While getting better at project management is the key, it’s common for organizations to overshoot and adopt best practices that far exceed their current levels of process maturity. This results in an excessive overhead that time-strapped project managers and teams typically can’t sustain for very long.
  • While it’s important that best practices be understood, it’s equally true that best practices aren’t always the best fit. These frameworks commonly set unrealistic expectations for resource-constrained IT departments, and in their clinical approach, fail to address the day-to-day challenges that project managers face on the frontlines.
  • A right-sized approach to your project management processes works best. Take what you need from those formal frameworks, and then tailor a process that’s going to work for your organization and for the variety of projects that come your way

Our Advice

Critical Insight

  • Lightweight is often just right. A lightweight approach to project management process suffices for the vast majority of IT initiatives. Establish different tiers of PM rigor to ensure that you’re not weighing down potential quick wins in too much process and that you’re applying the right amount of rigor to more complex, high-risk initiatives.
  • Apply the right tools to the job. Your project management processes will succeed or fail based on the quality of your artifacts and how they are applied. Build an actionable project management toolkit that can accommodate projects of all sizes and that will help facilitate optimized communications with project stakeholders.
  • Put your processes in context. Project management doesn’t exist in a vacuum. If your project management practices don’t inform effective decision making, then your investments in process discipline will be all for nothing. Develop processes that provide a gateway to the “big picture” and help facilitate effective portfolio management practices.

Impact and Result

  • The right amount of upfront planning is essential to improving project throughput and closure. Right-sized initiation and planning rigor will provide more reliable scope statements, more well-rounded requirements definition, and increased executive buy-in and engagement.
  • Investing in formal project execution processes is critical for projects of all sizes. Rigorous project execution processes will result in more successful projects that deliver greater value to the organization at a lower cost.
  • Consistent and repeatable processes will not only help reduce errors and inefficiencies during project planning and execution, but they will also improve collaboration and communication between project managers and IT decision makers. This will help facilitate better visibility into the big picture of all the organization’s project activity.

Tailor IT Project Management Processes to Fit Your Projects Research & Tools

Start here – read the Executive Brief

Read our concise Executive Brief to find out why you should tailor project management processes to your projects, review Info-Tech’s methodology, and understand the four ways we can support you in completing this project.

1. Lay the groundwork for project management success

Assess the current state to set the right amount of project governance and define levels of projects for which right-sized PM methodologies will apply.

2. Build a lightweight project management process for small initiatives

Optimize project management processes for small projects to increase project throughput and the processes’ effort-to-value ratio.


Member Testimonials

After each Info-Tech experience, we ask our members to quantify the real-time savings, monetary impact, and project improvements our research helped them achieve. See our top member experiences for this blueprint and what our clients have to say.

9.7/10


Overall Impact

$228,729


Average $ Saved

32


Average Days Saved

Client

Experience

Impact

$ Saved

Days Saved

Brosnan Risk Consultants, LTD

Guided Implementation

10/10

$30,999

44

Port of Long Beach

Guided Implementation

10/10

$25,000

20

TruckPro

Guided Implementation

9/10

$12,399

9

Oregon State University

Guided Implementation

10/10

N/A

60

Great Lakes Water Authority

Workshop

10/10

N/A

20

Pascua Yaqui Tribe

Workshop

10/10

$1.24M

120

California State University, Stanislaus

Guided Implementation

10/10

$61,999

10

Virginia Department of the Treasury

Guided Implementation

10/10

N/A

N/A

San Diego County Office of Ed

Guided Implementation

10/10

N/A

1

Leonardo DRS

Guided Implementation

9/10

N/A

N/A

Kansas City Chiefs Football Club

Workshop

9/10

$1,983

2

MicroPort Orthopedics Inc.

Guided Implementation

10/10

N/A

N/A

Chief Industries, Inc.

Guided Implementation

10/10

N/A

N/A

Ampacet Corporation

Workshop

10/10

$123K

20

Barry-Wehmiller

Workshop

10/10

$30,999

20

California State University, Stanislaus

Guided Implementation

10/10

$30,999

50

Leonardo DRS

Guided Implementation

9/10

$3,718

9

Administrative Office Of The Courts

Guided Implementation

3/10

$12,742

10

Holy Name Medical Center

Workshop

10/10

N/A

N/A

City Of Airdrie

Guided Implementation

10/10

$17,500

20

City of Virginia Beach

Guided Implementation

10/10

N/A

N/A

Town of Apex

Guided Implementation

10/10

$2,479

2

FortisTCI Limited

Workshop

10/10

$123K

50

Knowsys Group Ltd

Guided Implementation

9/10

$10,000

20

University of Texas - Arlington

Workshop

10/10

$29,139

41

Washington State Department of Ecology

Workshop

9/10

N/A

N/A

Key Food

Guided Implementation

10/10

N/A

N/A

City Of Airdrie

Guided Implementation

9/10

N/A

N/A

Prince George's Community College

Workshop

10/10

N/A

20

UC Irvine, Division of Continuing Education

Guided Implementation

10/10

N/A

N/A


Project Management

Position IT projects to finish on time, on budget, and within scope.
This course makes up part of the PPM & Projects Certificate.

Now Playing: Academy: Project Management | Executive Brief

An active membership is required to access Info-Tech Academy
  • Course Modules: 6
  • Estimated Completion Time: 2-2.5 hours
  • Featured Analysts:
  • Gord Harrison, Senior Vice President, Research
  • Matt Burton, Research Director, PPM Practice

Onsite Workshop: Tailor IT Project Management Processes to Fit Your Projects

Onsite workshops offer an easy way to accelerate your project. If you are unable to do the project yourself, and a Guided Implementation isn't enough, we offer low-cost onsite delivery of our project workshops. We take you through every phase of your project and ensure that you have a roadmap in place to complete your project successfully.

Module 1: Lay the Groundwork for Project Management Success

The Purpose

  • Set a governance framework for project management and define what a project is.

Key Benefits Achieved

  • Alignment of project governance to applicable industry best practice.

Activities

Outputs

1.1

Assess current state of project governance and management.

  • PM assessment report and maturity
1.2

Set a governance framework.

  • Project governance COBIT alignment
1.3

Differentiate project from non-project.

1.4

Set project levels.

  • Project Level Definition Matrix

Module 2: Right-Size PM for Small Projects

The Purpose

  • Optimize project management processes for small projects.

Key Benefits Achieved

  • Increased project throughput and effort-to-value ratio of project management processes for small projects.

Activities

Outputs

2.1

Set expectations for managing small projects.

2.2

Adapt Info-Tech's PM approach for small projects to managing your small projects.

  • Level 1 Project Management SOP and artifact templates

Module 3: Develop a Fully-Featured PM for Larger Projects

The Purpose

  • Create fully featured project management processes for larger projects.

Key Benefits Achieved

  • Injection of standardized, rigorous project management methodologies for large projects with high risks.

Activities

Outputs

3.1

Create initiation processes.

3.2

Create planning processes.

3.3

Create execution processes.

3.4

Create closing processes.

  • Level 2 & 3 Project Management SOP and artifact templates

Module 4: Implement Project Management SOP

The Purpose

  • Develop a rollout plan for the new project management methodologies.

Key Benefits Achieved

  • Implementation of the new process that will realize the benefits of tailored, right-sized project management.

Activities

Outputs

4.1

Create a rollout plan for new PM methodology.

  • Project management process roadmap
4.2

Create training material for staff.

  • Project management staff training material
4.3

Develop an implementation timeline.

  • Project Management Process Implementation Timeline

Tailor IT Project Management Processes to Fit Your Projects

Right-size PMBOK for all of your IT projects.

ANALYST PERSPECTIVE

If the process doesn’t fit your projects, change the process.

"Over the past two decades, the project management industry has become increasingly rife with best practices and formal frameworks for achieving project success. However, this proliferation hasn’t changed the fact that most organizations continue to struggle at projects. Indeed, statistics around project failure—especially IT projects—have remained consistently high since at least the mid-1990s, a time that coincides with the rise of the ‘best practices’ industry itself. While it’s important that best practices be understood, it’s equally true that best practices aren’t always the best fit. These frameworks commonly set unrealistic expectations for resource-constrained IT departments, and in their clinical approach, fail to address the day-to-day challenges that project managers face on the front lines. In my experience, I’ve found that a right-sized approach to your project management processes works best. Take what you need from those formal frameworks, and then tailor a process that’s going to work for your organization and for the variety of projects that come your way."

Matt Burton,

Research Director, Project Portfolio Management

Info-Tech Research Group

Our understanding of the problem

This Research Is Designed For:

  • PMO directors looking to standardize project management processes and get more consistent and reliable data from project teams to help increase visibility.
  • IT managers who need to encourage skills development in their project managers and team leads.

This Research Will Help You:

  • Develop a standardized project management process to help ensure that all project managers are feeding the portfolio with the appropriate KPIs and status updates.
  • Develop an ongoing project management training curriculum to help experienced project managers keep their skills fresh and new project leads build up their capabilities.

This Research Will Also Assist:

  • New or experienced project managers looking to follow industry best practices and who require a comprehensive set of project management tools and templates.
  • CIOs or other C-suite executives who need to improve the throughput and value of the organization’s project work.

This Research Will Help Them:

  • Follow COBIT and PMBOK informed project management processes—and pull from a project management toolkit—that can scale to projects of all sizes.
  • Provide organizationally appropriate project management standards to help minimize waste and improve project outcomes.

Executive summary

Situation

  • As an organization, you need to improve project success. Your current project management processes are poorly defined, and projects are commonly plagued by cost and scheduling overruns.
  • This lack of project management discipline contributes to stakeholder dissatisfaction and fuels the perception that IT does not deliver value.

Complication

  • You have access to formal project management frameworks and advice, but you’re not sure what to do with them all. Their advice isn’t immediately tactical, and there aren’t enough hours in the day to implement everything they suggest.
  • Your team is resource constrained, and for the most part, members lack any formal project management certification or experience.

Resolution

  • When it’s right, keep it light. A lightweight approach to project management process suffices for the vast majority of IT initiatives. Establish different tiers of PM rigor to ensure that you’re not weighing down potential quick wins in too much process, and to ensure that you’re applying the right amount of rigor to more complex, high-risk initiatives.
  • Apply the right tools to the job. Your project management processes will succeed or fail depending on the quality of your artifacts and how they are applied. Build an actionable project management toolkit that can accommodate projects of all sizes and that will help facilitate optimized communications with project stakeholders.
  • Put your processes in context. Project management doesn’t exist in a vacuum. If your project management practices don’t inform effective decision making, then your investments in process discipline will be all for nothing. Develop processes that provide a gateway to the “big picture” and help facilitate effective portfolio management practices.

Info-Tech Insight

  1. Tailor a project management framework to fit your organization. Best practices aren’t always the best fit. Take what you can use from formal frameworks and define a right-sized approach to your project management processes.
  2. Make it about project outcomes, not processes. Project management success doesn’t equal project success. Project management processes should be a means to an end (i.e. successful project outcomes), and not an end in themselves.

Successful projects are the #1 driver of satisfaction with IT

Info-Tech’s CIO Business Vision Survey (N=21,367) has identified a direct correlation between IT project success and overall business satisfaction with IT.

An image is shown that has two columns with listed projects. The left column is labelled: Reported Importance and the Right column is labelled: Actual Importance. Arrows are included in the image to show the IT services changing their rank from the reported list to the actual importance list.

Reported Importance: Initially, when asked to rank the importance of IT services, respondents ranked “projects” low on the list—10 out of a possible 12.

Actual Importance: Despite this low “reported importance,” of those organizations that were “satisfied” to “fully satisfied” with IT, the service that had the strongest correlation to this high satisfaction was “projects,” i.e. IT’s ability to help plan, support, and execute initiatives that help the business achieve its strategic goals.

Successful project outcomes depend on effective project management

There’s no getting around it: if you want consistently successful project results, then you need to invest in project management discipline.

Project management (PM) is a methodical approach to planning and guiding project processes from start to finish. Implementing PM processes helps establish repeatable steps and controls that enable project success. Documentation of PM processes leads to consistent results and dependable delivery on expectations. While an investment in PM discipline isn’t free, the time and money spent in developing repeatable processes will pay off in terms of improved project success rates and greater stakeholder satisfaction.

A double bar graph is shown to compare low and high performances that occurred in companies using project management discipline.

Data from the Project Management Institute (PMI) shows that organizations that have developed cultures around project management discipline are significantly better situated to succeed at projects.

Project management is the primary discipline separating top IT performers from the rest of the pack

Info-Tech’s research shows that the ability to effectively plan and execute projects is among the top activities that correlate with high IT performance.

A graph is shown to demonstrate the relationship with project management and high IT performance.

Our data shows that the ability to right-size project initiation and governance based on capacity forecasts, as well as the ability to drive throughput through project execution, are two of the top three activities that separate top IT performers from average performers.

Despite its importance, project management remains an Achilles’ heel for the vast majority of organizations

The statistics around project failure – especially IT projects – have remained consistently high for the last two decades, despite a proliferation of project management best practices.

29%: Only 29% of projects were delivered on time, on budget, and with a satisfactory results in 2015.

Hass and Fulmer

60%: On average, 2015 statistics show that 60% of projects are not aligned with organizational strategy.

Wrike

75%: 75% of IT executive stakeholders and business leaders believe their projects are “doomed from the start.”

Geneca

17%: 17% of large IT projects fail so badly they threaten the organization’s survival.

McKinsey & Co.

56%: Only 56% of strategic projects meet their original business goals.

PMI

$50-$150 billion: The US economy loses $50-$150 billion per year due to failed IT projects.

Gallup

While it’s true that project management failures are common and well reported year-after-year, Info-Tech finds that the barriers to project management success are relatively straightforward to diagnose and – with the right measures – surmountable with just a few tweaks to processes.

The biggest barrier to project success is often project management itself

Best practices aren’t always the best fit.

Formal project management frameworks like PMBOK and COBIT provide comprehensive approaches to planning, executing, and monitoring projects. While these frameworks can provide the right amount of rigor and controls for large, complex projects in environments that are optimally funded and resourced, they can prove to be less actionable when applied to medium-to-small initiatives—especially in resource-constrained project environments, like small enterprises or IT departments. When these formal methodologies are applied without specific tactics, they can lead to quick wins being weighed down by too much process or to project ROI being depleted by excessive PM administrative burdens.

"[PMBOK] offers a vast body of knowledge to Project Managers, but without the specific guidance to distil the knowledge into practical and actionable methods tailored to different situations. This has resulted in failures and practitioners spending too much time translating the knowledge and not enough time executing and delivering it."

—Lisa Hodges

When applied as a universal standard, PM best practices can stand in the way of the effective standardization of process

"PM started as a planning and scheduling tool and PM standards were limited to those areas. Planning and scheduling has since been built into step-wise models, providing an apparently perfect path to follow. That may be troublesome enough but the problem escalated further when new areas, such as people skills, human resources, and ways of dealing with complexity were added to the standards. When the developers of standards were directed to become more comprehensive and more up to date in terms of their practices, they added issues that were less easy to standardise. This trend was exacerbated when the application of the standard was expanded from covering a few industries in a few countries to all industries in all countries, and from large and complex systems development projects to all types of projects."

—Hällgren et al. “Relevance Lost! A critical review of project management standardisation”

With this history in mind, IT project managers should approach formal frameworks asking, “what can I take from these that will benefit my projects and my team?” rather than attempting to apply them verbatim, at all costs, when and where they might not be applicable.

The ability to right-size project planning and controls contributes significantly to IT project throughput

Find project management success by walking a middle path between too little and too much PM formality.

Project management planning and controls are necessary for all projects—they just shouldn’t look the same for all types of projects. Right-sized project management discipline will help you straddle the divide between two equally destructive poles of project chaos:

No PM Processes

This pole, common in small IT departments, is essentially the wild west of project execution, lacking a standardization of project management KPIs, tools, and reporting, and without communication and portfolio visibility.

Right-Sized PM Processes

Excessive PM Processes

This pole applies a standard methodology to all projects, regardless of type or size, leading to challenges around adoption and adherence, especially when applied to small projects or to a group of leads who lack PM experience.

"The trick to implementing sustainable project management is to tune process to the needs of the organization (right fit – which depends on culture and maturity) and to the needs of all projects (right scalability – which depends on differences in project scale and complexity)."

—Howard Vaughn

Use Info-Tech’s project management framework to tailor processes to fit your projects

This blueprint will help you build right-sized PM processes by defining different levels of projects and determining the right amount of rigor to apply at each level.

Our approach to right-sizing project management centers on five distinct phases:

  1. Lay the groundwork for PM success
  2. Build a lightweight PM process for small initiatives
  3. Establish a standard process for initiating and planning medium-to-large projects
  4. Establish a standard process for executing and closing medium-to-large projects
  5. Implement your project management SOP

Info-Tech’s five-phase framework is geared toward applying the right amount of rigor, as project risk and complexity dictate. Project throughput benefits from letting quick wins be quick wins and getting ROI out of planning activities by applying rigor only where it’s needed.

Our approach provides project managers with tailor-to-fit solutions to help them drive quality project results

Project management success doesn’t equal project success.

While formal methodologies can be a key ingredient to success for some projects and for some organizations, the fact is that the vast majority of projects in IT departments do not require such rigid and detailed processes. Our approach gives project managers the option to run with a lightweight method when it’s applicable, freeing them from a considerable administrative burden to focus on getting projects done. Then, as project level dictates, our framework provides options to apply more rigor to help mitigate risk and complexity.

  1. Lay the groundwork
  2. Results

    • A current state analysis
    • Definition of project levels and categories
  3. Build a lightweight process
  4. Results

    • Info-Tech’s PM approach for small projects
    • Lightweight templates
  5. Initiate and plan larger projects
  6. Results

    • Comprehensive project execution and closing processes
    • Fully-featured tools & templates
  7. Implement your PM SOP
  8. Results

    • A PM training plan to help standardize processes
    • Implementation roadmap

"Making the projects simpler is a worthwhile endeavor because complexity causes only confusion and increased cost."

—The Standish Group (quoted in Karch)

Info-Tech’s framework blends leading schools of thought with practical, tactical insider research

Our method allows you to customize an approach, taking as much or as little from PMBOK and COBIT as required to drive successful project throughput.

What we take from…
…PMBOK …COBIT …Insider research
  • An approach to projects that is based on the PMI’s conceptual framework of the project lifecycle and five process groups.
  • A toolkit informed by the 42 project management processes in PMBOK, including the required inputs and outputs for each process.
  • The ability to standardize planning and control processes across the organization to help ensure that all projects come in on-time, on-budget, and in-scope, and meet an acceptable level of quality.
  • A project framework that is structured upon the governance and management processes identified in COBIT BAI01.
  • A game plan to achieve project outcomes that are aligned with COBIT’s IT-related goals and metrics.
  • An approach to planning that will help ensure project management practices are informed by the right inputs, structured by the right activities, and governed by the appropriate organizational accountabilities and responsibilities.
  • A sensitivity to the capacity and appetites of project managers and teams to take on and effectively adopt more process.
  • An archive of harvested deliverables and practitioner advice, allowing us to craft a best-of-breed toolkit with proven results.
  • An approach to mastering planning and control mechanisms, as well as standardization of processes, that is informed by practitioner advice and lessons learned on the front lines.

Our approach is complemented by our diagnostic tools that measure your success in project management

Key performance indicators of project management methodologies
Desired Outcome Increase success of project outcome Increase on-time and on-budget project delivery Improve project managers’ adherence to standard processes Increase business / project stakeholder satisfaction with IT
Metric Project resources used for analyzing, fixing & redeploying Average schedule and cost overruns Team satisfaction with IT’s ability to manage projects Customer satisfaction with IT’s ability to execute projects
Method

Current State Scorecard

Screenshot of Info-Tech's Current State Scorecard.

Project Management Assessment

Screenshot of Info-Tech's Project Management Assessment.

Customer Satisfaction Report

Screenshot of Info-Tech's Customer Satisfaction Report.

Start measuring your PM success with Info-Tech’s Project Portfolio Management Diagnostic Program.

Our approach is rounded-out by a comprehensive and easy-to-customize project management toolkit

Success depends on using the right tools for the job.

Your project management processes will succeed or fail depending on the quality of your artifacts and tools and how they are applied. Each phase and project level in this blueprint is accompanied by a best-of-breed toolkit to help support your PM processes and ensure you develop the appropriate protocol for monitoring and controlling your projects.

Sample Toolkit options*:

Small Projects Medium Projects Large Projects
Project Charter Required Required Required
Stakeholder register Unnecessary Required Required
Risk management workbook Unnecessary Recommended Required
Status report Required Required Required
Change impact register Unnecessary Recommended Required
Benefits plan Unnecessary Required Required

In the spirit of right-sizing your efforts, the blueprint provides clear criteria for the artifacts that should be employed for different levels of projects, so your team of PMs will be clear at each stage what artifacts are required, what artifacts are strongly recommended, and what artifacts are unnecessary.

*Full toolkit requirements are developed in the standard operating procedure (SOP) template for this blueprint.

Put your project management processes in context

Project management doesn’t exist in a vacuum. Ultimately, the tools and processes you develop need to inform effective decision making at the executive layer.

Info-Tech takes a holistic approach to project management, putting PM processes in the context of strong project governance and effective portfolio management practices. Whether your department reports into a formal portfolio management function (i.e. a PMO or portfolio manager) or there’s simply someone doing ad hoc tracking of a project list, this blueprint will help you capture a more accurate and reliable view of the big picture. This big-picture view will in turn set your project managers up for more consistent project success.

A flowchart is displayed to see the levels in the Project Portfolio Management and its relationship with Project Management

"Project managers… are accountable for executing the processes necessary for successful portfolio management, and for providing accurate and unbiased information. Portfolio management can enable the project manager to reduce project failures, overruns, and redundancies—all of which are fundamental project management goals."

—PMI, 2015

Info-Tech helps a government agency find the right balance of project governance and process efficiency for its IT projects

CASE STUDY

Industry: Government

Source: Info-Tech Client

Situation

An IT department within a state agency was going through a period of rapid transition. While the former administration had required little governance and controls on the state’s projects, a new administration was demanding increased governance into how large IT projects were planned and executed.

Complication

The PMO was having trouble reconciling the old “low governance” culture with the new “heavy governance” one. Project managers were used to wearing multiple hats within the organization, and didn’t necessarily have the time to devote to rigorous processes or to focus on one project at a time. New contracting laws are very stringent, requiring the project manager to be involved at the project’s onset, specifically for statement of work and timeline design.

Resolution

Info-Tech came onsite and helped develop a right-sized governance structure. Analysts helped IT develop appropriate project levels, which helped increase PM consistency while minimizing the overhead of PM effort. An SOP was developed that gave IT best-practice processes and tools to aid in better upfront project planning and execution.

Case Study Highlights

Right-sized: Info-Tech introduced a right-sized PM governance framework based on effective project leveling in order to increase project management consistency while minimizing the overhead of project management effort.

PPM: Info-Tech identified the need for improved project portfolio management practices to assist with project outcomes and create more even project workloads.

$40,000: Info-Tech analysts received more than $40,000 in measured value for their work in developing a project management framework for the agency.

Info-Tech offers various levels of support to best suit your needs

DIY Toolkit

“Our team has already made this critical project a priority, and we have the time and capability, but some guidance along the way would be helpful.”

Guided Implementation.”

"Our team knows that we need to fix a process, but we need assistance to determine where to focus. Some check-ins along the way would help keep us on track.”

Workshop

“We need to hit the ground running and get this project kicked off immediately. Our team has the ability to take this over once we get a framework and strategy in place.”

Consulting

“Our team does not have the time or the knowledge to take this project on. We need assistance through the entirety of this project.”

Diagnostics and consistent frameworks used throughout all four options

Tailor IT Project Management Processes to Fit Your Projects (Phases 1 and 2)

1. Lay the groundwork for project management success

2. Build a lightweight PM process for small initiatives

Best-Practice Toolkit

  • 1.1 Assess the current state of your project management processes
  • 1.2 Set a governance framework for project activity
  • 1.3 Define project levels and categories
  • 2.1 Define a minimum-viable project management process to drive the throughput of small initiatives

Guided Implementations

  • Scoping call
  • Determine your current level of PM process maturity
  • Right-size your project governance structure
  • Differentiate between a project and a non-project for your organization
  • Set different levels of projects
  • Discover opportunities for streamlining PM for small, low-risk projects
  • Tailor Info-Tech’s PM approach for small projects to your organization

Onsite Workshop

Module 1: Lay the Groundwork for PM Success

Module 2: Right-Size PM for Small Projects

Phase 1 Outcome:

  • Project governance alignment with COBIT
  • Definition of project levels

Phase 2 Outcome:

  • Lightweight standard operating procedure (SOP) and artifact templates for managing small projects

Tailor IT Project Management Processes to Fit Your Projects (Phases 3 to 5)

3. Establish initiation and planning protocols for medium-to-large projects

4. Develop execution and closing procedures for medium-to-large projects

5. Implement your project management SOP

Best-Practice Toolkit

  • 3.1 Create initiation processes to keep sponsors and stakeholders engaged throughout the project lifecycle
  • 3.2 Develop planning procedures to ensure feasibility and quality
  • 4.1 Build controls to mitigate project risks and manage scope throughout the execution phase
  • 4.2 Create closing protocol to maximize project benefits and stakeholder satisfaction
  • 5.1 Finalize your project management SOP
  • 5.2 Prepare your project managers for project management success

Guided Implementations

  • Learn about Info-Tech’s recommended best practices for project initiation and planning
  • Tailor Info-Tech’s fully featured PM approach for medium-to-large projects to your organization
  • Learn about Info-Tech’s recommended best practices for project execution and closing
  • Tailor Info-Tech’s fully featured PM approach for medium-to-large projects to your organization
  • Create a single document for planning a medium-sized project
  • Estimate PM overhead cost
  • Develop a training plan for project managers
  • Build an implementation roadmap

Onsite Workshop

Module 3: Initiate & Plan Medium-to-Large Projects and Initiatives

Module 4: Execute & Close Medium-to-Large Projects and Initiatives

Module 5: Implement Project Management SOP

Phase 3 Results:

  • Fully-featured SOP and artifact templates for initiating and planning large projects

Phase 4 Results:

  • Fully-featured SOP and artifact templates for executing and closing large projects

Phase 5 Results:

  • Ready-to-deploy PM SOP
  • Training plan for project managers
  • Implementation roadmap

Implementation roadmap

Contact your account representative or email Workshops@InfoTech.com for more information.

Workshop Day 1

Workshop Day 2

Workshop Day 3

Workshop Day 4

Workshop Day 5

Activities

Lay the Groundwork for Project Management Success

  • 1.1 Assess current state of project governance and management
  • 1.2 Set a governance framework
  • 1.3 Differentiate a project from a non-project
  • 1.4 Set project levels

Right-Size PM for Small Projects & Initiate Medium-to-Large Projects and Initiatives

  • 2.1 Set expectation for managing small projects
  • 2.2 Adapt Info-Tech's PM approach for level 1 projects for managing small projects
  • 2.3 Create initiation processes for large projects

Plan Medium-to-Large Projects and Initiatives

  • 3.1 Establish scope baseline
  • 3.2 Establish schedule & cost baselines
  • 3.3 Create staffing plan
  • 3.4 Create stakeholder and communication management plans
  • 3.5 Create quality management plan
  • 3.6 Create benefits management plan
  • 3.7 Create risk management plan

Implement Project Management SOP

  • 4.1 Manage project team
  • 4.2 Report project status
  • 4.3 Manage changes in projects
  • 4.4 Control quality of project outcome
  • 4.5 Control project risks
  • 4.6 Ensure deliverable acceptance
  • 4.7 Conduct project post-mortem
  • 4.8 Handover and obtain final sign-off

Implement Project Management SOP

  • 5.1 Finalize project management SOP
  • 5.2 Create a rollout plan for new PM methodology
  • 5.3 Create training material for staff
  • 5.4 Develop an implementation timeline

Deliverables

  1. PM Assessment Report & Maturity
  2. Project Governance COBIT Alignment
  3. Project Level Definition Matrix
  1. Level 1 Project Management SOP
  2. Level 1 Project Management Artifact Templates
  3. Level 2 & 3 Project Initiation SOP
  4. Level 2 & 3 Project Initiation Tools & Templates
  1. Level 2 & 3 Project Planning SOP
  2. Level 2 & 3 Project Planning Tools & Templates
  1. Level 2 & 3 Project Execution SOP
  2. Level 2 & 3 Project Execution Tools & Templates
  3. Level 2 & 3 Project Closing SOP
  4. Level 2 & 3 Project Closing Tools & Templates
  1. Project Management SOP
  2. Project Management Staff Training Material
  3. PM Process Implementation Timeline

Phase 1

Lay the Groundwork for Project Management Success

Phase 1 outline

Call 1-888-670-8889 or email GuidedImplementations@InfoTech.com for more information.

Complete these steps on your own, or call us to complete a guided implementation. A guided implementation is a series of 2-3 advisory calls that help you execute each phase of a project. They are included in most advisory memberships.

Guided Implementation 1: Lay the groundwork for project management success

Proposed Time to Completion (in weeks): 2 to 4 weeks

Step 1.1: Assess Current State

Start with an analyst kick-off call:

  • Scoping call
  • Determine your current level of project management process maturity

Then complete these activities…

  • SWOT analysis
  • Process maturity assessment

With these tools & templates:

  • Project Management Triage Tool
  • Activity 1.1.1: Swot Analysis

Step 1.2: Set a Governance Framework

Work with an analyst to:

  • Discuss the importance of project governance to project management success
  • Right-size a governance structure for your projects

Then complete these activities…

  • A COBIT alignment exercise

With these tools & templates:

  • COBIT BAI01 (Manage Programs and Projects) Alignment Workbook

Step 1.3: Define Project Levels and Categories

Work with an analyst to:

  • Define the difference between a project and non-project for your organization
  • Set different levels of projects to better assist with PM right-sizing

Then complete these activities…

  • Define the minimum-threshold criteria for small projects
  • Set your thresholds for level 2 and level 3 projects

With these tools & templates:

  • Project Level Definition Matrix
  • Project Management SOP Template

Step 1.1: Assess the current state of your project management processes

Phase 1: Lay the groundwork for project management success

1.1

Assess the current state of your PM processes

1.2

Set a governance framework for project activity

1.3

Develop project levels and categories

This step will walk you through the following activities:

  • Perform a SWOT analysis
  • Assess your current state
  • Set target goals for your project management implementation

This step involves the following participants:

  • PMO Director/Manager
  • Project Managers
  • Other relevant IT staff

Outcomes of this step

  • An assessment of strengths, weaknesses, challenges, and threats associated with improving project management at your organization.
  • An analysis of your current state of process maturity across the project management lifecycle.
  • A defined target state for process maturity to help guide your project management implementation.

A defined target state for process maturity to help guide your project management implementation.

At their most basic, project management processes should accomplish three tactical goals:

  1. Planning and controls should help drive progress and mitigate risk.
  2. Reporting should help communicate KPIs and inform decision makers.
  3. Project governance should help ensure that process accountabilities are clearly defined and followed.

As with any new process or tool, the success of PM processes achieving these goals will largely depend on user adoption.

Strong leadership taking an active role in encouraging compliance is important; however, of equal importance is the creation of processes that balance the need to mitigate risk and obtain relevant project data with the need to be fair and reasonable in the expectations they impose.

"If you can implement a repeatable project management process—one that is created specifically for your organization—you’ll be able to drastically improve team efficiency and improve project quality."

—Patrick Icasas

Info-Tech Insight

Process success depends on team buy-in. Don’t underestimate the change management aspect involved in making project management discipline a success. Factor the human side of your processes in early. You need to get buy-in and commitment to the processes from everyone involved to make PM discipline work.

The definition of “sustainable processes” will depend on the organization

Introducing increased project management rigor needs to be approached with a sensitivity to the impact of new processes on those who will be required to support them.

PM processes should provide an ROI in terms of project visibility and throughput. But how much process is enough to achieve these returns? And how much process is too much?

The answers to these questions will vary from organization to organization, and from project to project. Part of your immediate challenge in tailoring processes that work will be determining your thresholds of “enough” and “too much” for your project managers and teams, as well as for your projects.

The steps in this phase will help you define these thresholds and determine a baseline for what “sustainable” means for your organization’s PM processes.

  1. Steps 1.1 and 1.2 will help assess your current PM processes and governance frameworks to help establish credible target states for your project managers and other project stakeholders.
  2. Step 1.3 will help define project levels and categories to set clear process thresholds for your projects based on risk and complexity factors.

"It is critical to the success of any process to understand how much you initially need to bite off. The risk of trying to do too much too soon with a process can be as risky as not doing anything at all, especially if you are a more agile company trying to make the transition to being more process oriented. Overloading your team with a new set of responsibilities and methods they are not accustomed to, or ready for, can easily derail you."

—Randy McGowan

Perform a project management SWOT exercise

1.1.1 Estimated Time: 30-60 minutes

The purpose of a SWOT analysis is to begin to define process goals by cultivating alignment around the most critical opportunities and challenges. Gather relevant IT, PMO, and project management staff and perform a SWOT analysis to help inform your current state analysis.

Follow these steps to complete the SWOT analysis:

  1. Have participants discuss how well current processes are facilitating project success and identify some of the barriers to project success.
  2. Spend roughly 60 minutes on this. Use a whiteboard, flip chart, or PowerPoint slide (see next slide) to document results of the discussion as points are made.
  3. Make sure results are recorded and saved either using the template provided on the next slide or by taking a picture of the whiteboard or flip chart.

Participants

  • PMO Director/CIO
  • Current project managers
  • Other relevant IT staff

INPUT

  • Feedback concerning current PM strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.

OUTPUT

  • A SWOT analysis

Materials

  • Whiteboard or 1.1.1 slide

Use the SWOT Analysis Template on the next slide to document results. Use the examples provided in the SWOT analysis to kick-start the discussion.

Sample SWOT Analysis

Strengths

  • Knowledge, skills, and talent of IT and project staff.
  • Good working relationship between IT and business units.
  • Even with a lack of process, we always seem to get things done.
  • Motivation to get things done when priorities, goals, and action plans are clear.

Weaknesses

  • Project managers lack formal ongoing training.
  • We tried to introduce PM processes in the past, but we failed. Staff were unsure of which templates to use and how/when/why to use them.
  • With our shifting priorities, we have trouble allocating time to project management activities on specific projects.
  • We’ve had some fairly significant project failures in the past and some skepticism and pessimism has taken root in the business units.

Opportunities

  • The PMO is strong and well established in the organization, with a history of facilitating successful process discipline.
  • The incoming CEO has already paid lip service to project management discipline. We should be able to leverage her support as we formalize these processes.
  • We’re implementing a new PPM software that should help facilitate project visibility and improve process discipline.
  • A lot of our project management staff are new to the organization and enthusiastic.

Threats

  • Additional processes and documentation around project management could be viewed as burdensome overhead. Adoption is uncertain.
  • We lack sufficient resources to execute all the projects that have been approved.
  • Project managers wear multiple hats, meaning that some things get done and others don’t. Not sure how a formal process will change that.
  • Historically, the department has operated with little formal documentation around projects.

Project management process goals should be informed by current process maturity levels

When implementing increased PM rigor, it’s important to keep in mind that you can’t go from crawl-to-run overnight. In many cases, “run” might not even be a goal worth seeking.

The activities in the slides ahead will help you accurately assess your current state in order to set realistic targets based on Info-Tech’s Project Management Process Maturity Scale.

Maturity Level

Maturity Level Description

Maturity Level 5: Managed

There are integrated and continuously improving planning and control processes that are adhered to by project managers. Process requirements and project metrics are standardized, and project management functions facilitate effective portfolio management.

Maturity Level 4: Repeatable

There are systematic project planning and control processes that are moderately adhered to by project managers across the organization. Process requirements are established, documented, and repeatable, and they help inform portfolio management functions.

Maturity Level 3: Defined

There is a defined standard for project management and a common toolkit to pull from, but adherence is moderate and compliance is not enforced. Processes cover the basics, and overall, projects are executed via a mix of process compliance and ad hoc practices.

Maturity Level 2: Initial

There are some nascent expectations for all projects, but requirements and standards are for the most part ill-defined. Processes are mainly ad hoc, with individual PMs managing projects as they see fit.

Maturity Level 1: Absent

There are no formal processes or governance structures in place. Projects are planned and carried out by individual project managers in isolation, with no oversight or standardization of initiation, planning, execution, or closure processes.

Use Info-Tech’s Project Management Triage Tool to determine your current process maturity

Perform an in-depth analysis of your project initiation, planning, execution, and closure processes.

  • Many IT departments struggle with project management when they attempt to impose a level of rigor that exceeds the experience and current capabilities of IT project managers.
  • In fast-paced, rapidly changing, interruption-driven environments like IT, not only do PMs typically lack the time for the ongoing training that such rigor requires, but they also lack the time to sustain such rigor on all of their projects for the long term.
  • Use Info-Tech’s Project Management Triage Tool to quickly assess the completeness of your current PM processes in order to set realistic targets and timelines.

Download Info-Tech’s Project Management Triage Tool.

A screenshot of Info-Tech's Project Management Triage Tool is shown.

Info-Tech Insight

Set process goals need to match maturity levels. Attempting to impose a high amount of project management rigor on a team of inexperienced project managers is a recipe for failure. Take a crawl-walk-run approach and ensure your processes evolve to match the comfort and maturity levels of your team.

Assess your current processes

1.1.2 Estimated Time: 60 minutes

  1. Go through each of the four process tabs in turn—Project Initiation, Project Planning, Project Execution, and Project Closing. Assess the degree to which the “Required Activities” associated with each phase are currently present in your project management processes.
  2. Use the drop-down lists to designate whether the activity is currently Absent, Initial, Defined, Repeatable, or Managed.

    A screenshot of Info-Tech's Project Management Triage Tool is shown.
  3. Once you have completed your inputs into the four process tabs, the “Results” tab will provide an on overview of your current state of process completeness for each of the different process areas. In addition, you will get an overall PM maturity process rating.
  4. Your overall maturity level ranking will align with the five maturity levels in Info-Tech’s Project Management Process Maturity Scale. Use your current level to inform the scope of your PM process implementation—see the next slide for more details.

    A screenshot of Info-Tech's Project Management Triage Toolis shown.

Participants

  • PMO Director
  • CIO
  • Project managers
  • Other relevant IT staff

INPUT

  • Assessment of current state of PM activities from project initiation through to project closure

OUTPUT

  • A breakdown of your current maturity level across key PM process areas

Materials

  • Info-Tech’s Project Management Triage Tool

Set achievable targets for your project management implementation

1.1.3 Estimated Time: 10 minutes

Use the outputs of your current state analysis to inform your process targets for implementing this blueprint.

Use the table below to document your targets for each of the process areas covered in the Project Management Triage Tool. Be sure that these are informed by your current maturity levels.

Keep in mind, these are high-level goals for now and may need to be revisited as your processes develop in subsequent phases of this blueprint.

Process Area

Current Maturity Level

Target Maturity Level

Initiate the Project

i.e. Initial

i.e. Defined

Define Project Scope and Develop WBS

i.e. Repeatable

i.e. Sustained

Manage Risks, Quality, Benefits

i.e. Managed

i.e. Sustained

Communication and OCM

i.e. Managed

i.e. Repeatable

Manage Stakeholders and Team

i.e. Repeatable

i.e. Sustained

Manage Scope Changes

i.e. Repeatable

i.e. Sustained

Manage Risks and Quality

i.e. Absent

i.e. Repeatable

Close the Project

i.e. Initial

i.e. Repeatable

Overall Maturity

i.e. Defined

i.e. Repeatable

Step 1.2: Set a governance framework for project activity

Phase 1: Lay the groundwork for project management success

1.1

Assess the current state of your PM processes

1.2

Set a governance framework for project activity

1.3

Develop project levels and categories

This step will walk you through the following activities:

  • Review the relationship between project governance and project management
  • Perform a COBIT BAI01 alignment exercise
  • Review the core accountabilities of all project managers

This step involves the following participants:

  • PMO Director/Manager
  • CIO and other C-Suite Executives and Senior Managers
  • Project Managers
  • Other relevant IT staff

Outcomes of this step

  • Assignment of accountabilities and responsibilities for programmatic project management governance.
  • A current state assessment of the supporting processes that are required to uphold rigorous project management practices and your organization’s ability to support them.
  • A high-level understanding of the three core accountabilities of all project managers.

Effective project management needs to be rooted in strong project governance

For project management processes to be sustained long term, the organization needs appropriate project governance structures in place.

Project governance is the framework, functions, and processes that guide project management activities. Good project governance should ensure that accountabilities and responsibilities for key areas of oversight are set in advance of specific project management tasks, helping to create an organizational culture that supports successful project outcomes. While project governance structures will ultimately be specific to each project, and therefore should be revisited on a project-per-project basis, senior directors and leadership will need to be involved in governance in a programmatic way. In this step, we will employ the COBIT 5 framework for managing projects and programs to help assign governance accountabilities and responsibilities and lay a solid foundation for your PM processes.

"It’s important to have all senior executives on board to define specific roles for governance. A mature governance process will safeguard project managers from running into projects that were created out of ‘squirrel’ moments. Then, project managers won't have to spend time fighting things like project prioritization or lack of resource availability."

—Project Manager, IT Department

Info-Tech Insight

Safeguard project investments. Good governance is about leadership taking accountability and properly managing the organization’s project investments. An effective governance framework will help ensure that investments are managed and tracked from the initial investment decision through to benefits attainment.

While intricately related, project governance and project management have distinct concerns

Don’t blur the lines between governance and management; each has its own role to play.

Governance

Management

Purpose

  • Ensures that stakeholder needs, and organizational conditions and options are evaluated to determine balanced objectives for the enterprise and facilitate compromise.
  • Sets direction through prioritization and decision making.
  • Monitors performance and compliance against agreed-on direction and objectives.
  • Plans, builds, runs, and monitors activities in alignment with the direction set by the governance body to achieve the enterprise objectives.

Summary

  • Determines how the jobs are to be done
  • Gets the job done

Role

  • Direction and accountability
  • Action and responsibility

"Project governance is about increasing the success rate of projects. It provides a way for directors and senior management to exercise effective oversight and ensure their strategies are implemented and their benefits realised. Project governance sits above and outside of the project management domain."

—Raymond Young (quoted in Rowlings)

Info-Tech’s approach to project management governance is informed by the COBIT 5 framework

The COBIT5 Governance and Management Key Areas framework is shown in the image.

"Enterprises have many stakeholders, and ‘creating value’ means different—and sometimes conflicting—things to each of them. Governance is about negotiating and deciding amongst different stakeholders’ value interests. By consequence, the governance system should consider all stakeholders when making benefit, risk and resource assessment decisions. For each decision, the following questions can and should be asked: For whom are the benefits? Who bears the risk? What resources are required?"

—COBIT 5

Use Info-Tech’s COBIT BAI01 Alignment Workbook to evaluate your project governance structure

Define in-scope processes for your governance framework and set target accountabilities and responsibilities.

  • While governance structures will differ from organization-to-organization, COBIT 5 offers a comprehensive jumping off point to help you right-size a framework.
  • Info-Tech’s COBIT BAI01 (Manage Programs and Projects) Alignment Workbook allows you to easily customize the COBIT 5 framework by giving you the tools to assess your current structures and define a target framework to help support project success.
  • In addition to helping clarify roles and responsibilities for project management governance, the workbook will also help you assess your organization’s maturity levels for all of the management and governance areas that feed and support the individual management practices within COBIT BAI01.

Download Info-Tech’s COBIT BAI01 (Manage Programs and Projects) Alignment Workbook.

A screenshot of Info-Tech's COBIT BAI01 (Manage Programs and Projects) Alignment Workbookis shown.

Info-Tech Insight

Uncover the web of interdependences that make up your project ecosystem. Going through the formal exercise of establishing governance roles with key stakeholders will help spark breakthroughs concerning the parts that stakeholders play up-and-down the org chart to help realize benefits and optimize risk and resources.

Determine your current and target states of project management accountabilities and responsibilities

1.2.1 Estimated Time: 20-60 minutes

This slide provides directions for: Tabs 3, 4, and 5 of the COBIT BAI01 Alignment Workbook.

Use tab 3 to determine your current state of accountabilities and responsibilities across each management practice in COBIT BAI01.

  • If you currently have no role definition for a management practice, simply leave that row blank.
    • COBIT BAI01 covers program management in addition to project management. The specifics of effective program management are out of scope for the purposes of this blueprint. If the organization does not practice program management, or any of the other process areas, and has no plans to practice them during this implementation, simply leave the accountabilities and responsibilities blank.

Use tab 4 to set a target state for the accountabilities within each BAI01 management practice.

  • Make sure each management practice has only one “A.” That entry can have “A/R” if the individual/role is also responsible.

Tab 5 is an output tab showing the differences between your current and target states.

  • The benefit of having the current and target states identified is to help plan your communications around project governance changes and to assist with the transfer of knowledge as required.
  • If this visualization indicates significant changes to project and program governance, consider a measured approach to that change with Info-Tech’s blueprint, Drive Organizational Change from the PMO.
  • Less significant changes can still require unambiguous communication from senior decision makers to ensure the change is understood and accepted.

Screenshot of tab “5. BAI01 RACI Results”

Screenshot of Info-Tech's COBIT BAI01 Manage Programs and Projects Alignment Workbook, Tab 5. BAI01 RACI Results

COBIT BAI01 covers program management in addition to project management. The specifics of program management are out of scope for the purposes of this blueprint. If the organization does not practice program management, or any of the other process areas, and has no plans to practice them during this implementation, simply leave the accountabilities and responsibilities blank.

Changes to the accountabilities and responsibilities for your portfolio management processes are highlighted in green. Prepare a communication strategy for those affected.

The list of stakeholders in row 4 is taken directly from COBIT. Customize as needed.

"[T]he next time you see IT Managers and Project Managers working worlds apart, take the opportunity to tell them all about project management in a COBIT 5 world!"

—Mike Lane

Assess the extent to which the organization currently executes on the capabilities in BAI01

1.2.2 Estimated Time: 15 minutes

This slide provides directions for: Tab 6 of the COBIT BAI01 Alignment Workbook.

Where tabs 3-5 help to assign organizational accountabilities for project management governance, the questionnaire on tab 6 of the workbook will help you gauge the maturity of the organization to support those governance processes. This tab covers the 14 management practices within COBIT BAI01 and asks you to consider the extent to which those practices are fully or partially implemented at your organization. This assessment will help to round out the roles that have been assigned in the previous tabs by establishing the extent to which those roles are evolved or nascent within the organization.

Screenshot of Info-Tech's COBIT BAI01 Manage Programs and Projects Alignment Workbook, Tab 6. BAI01 Maturity Assessment.

Starting at the top of tab 6, select the drop-down list option in column D that you think best describes the state of each COBIT project management governance process at your organization (Fully Achieved, Largely Achieved, Partially Achieved, or Not Achieved).

Evaluate the completeness of each of the process inputs for project management governance

1.2.3 Estimated Time: 15 minutes

This slide provides directions for: Tab 7 of the COBIT BAI01 Alignment Workbook.

  • Within COBIT 5, project management governance structures are part of a wider governance ecosystem, and are supported by other key considerations and capabilities outside of what might be strictly called project portfolio management concerns.
    • The lesson here from COBIT 5 is that successful project management governance—and, indeed, successful project management—depends on the right decisions being made and the right supports being in place long before the project management lifecycle begins.
  • Use tab 7 of the workbook to assess the organization’s maturity level for these supports.
    • By assessing the inputs for each of the management practices within BAI01, the assessment on tab 7 will help you diagnosis the degree to which other COBIT processes that support portfolio management are in place at your organization. (If your organization has completed Info-Tech’s IT Management & Governance Diagnostic, you can use the answers there to help inform these selections.)
    • These processes are not part of project management, but many of them provide necessary inputs from the business to it (e.g. strategic goals, budgets, resource capacity, etc.). Project management leaders will likely not have any direct control over these processes, but they can (and should) advocate for improved maturity in these areas to help ensure that project management is a success.

Screenshot of tab 7, “Assess Maturity of Inputs"

Screenshot of Info-Tech's COBIT BAI01 Manage Programs and Projects Alignment Workbook, Tab 7. Assess Maturity Inputs.

Column B of tab 7 looks at each of the process inputs for all 14 of the management practices within COBIT BAI01. This inputs mostly come from other management and governance areas within COBIT 5 (e.g. Ensure Benefits Delivery, Manage Portfolio, Manage Human Resources, etc.). The assessment on this tab covers a total of 23 process inputs. Not all of the management practices in BAI01 are assigned inputs by COBIT (and some of the inputs overlap across multiple management practices in BAI01), which is why not all of the management practices are assigned inputs in the assessment on tab 7.

As with tab 6, select the drop-down list option in column D that you think best describes the state of each COBIT project management sub-process at your organization.

Review your results and gauge your capability to support a rigorous project management governance framework

This slide provides directions for: Tab 8 of the COBIT BAI01 Alignment Workbook.

Tab 8 is a results tab showing graphical representations of the data entered into tabs 6 and 7. The tab contains a graph showing the maturity of your processes within COBIT BAI01 (the first stacked bar chart on the tab), as well as multiple graphs showing the maturity of supporting COBIT processes relative to the applicable BAI01 management practices (the stacked column charts from row 44 down). The graphs provide a quick reference intended to help organizations keep their appetites for governance in check. Without the right supports in place, imposing project management governance can be a superficial solution that doesn’t get at the root of what can actually hinder successful project outcomes.

A graph is shown to demonstrate what to expect on Tab 8 from the COBIT BAI01 Alignment Workbook.

The horizontal black lines running through each of the supporting COBIT processes represent the maturity level of the BAI01 project management process. This comparison will help you gauge the relative maturity of the supporting processes to each BAI01 management practice, in order to help you prioritize your governance optimization efforts.

Effective project management benefits from effective portfolio management – and vice versa

Project management and project portfolio management are interdependent and complement each other.

When it comes to project management, the value of COBIT and Info-Tech’s BAI01 Alignment Workbook is that they drive home the fact that project management does not occur in a vacuum. To succeed programmatically at project management, you must have the proper governance and decision-making structures in place. Portfolio management—as the discipline that selects the right projects to work on, the right time and the right people to work on them, and that monitors their status and completion—is the most essential companion discipline to project management in terms of facilitating project success.

Info-Tech's PPM/PM framework is shown.

As Info-Tech’s PPM/PM framework shows, the two disciplines interact with, and speak to, one another throughout the project lifecycle. Portfolio intake and resource management influence project initiation and planning, while status reporting throughout project execution is the lynchpin around portfolio and capacity planning.

"There is nothing so useless as doing efficiently that which should not be done at all."

—Peter Drucker (quoted in Lessig)

With this interdependence in mind, project managers need to satisfy three core accountabilities

While project management is often conceptualized as being primarily a planning and monitoring activity, Info-Tech’s approach makes feeding the portfolio a core component of project management in order to ensure that project management success isn’t happening in a vacuum. Within Info-Tech’s framework, project managers need to satisfy three core accountabilities:

Feed the Portfolio

Plan the Project

Manage the Project

Core accountability

Feed the portfolio with current status, issues, risks, etc.

Allocate people to the needed work, hopefully well in advance of the work starting.

Ensure allocated resources are on task, engage stakeholders as needed, and mitigate risks.

What does it look like?

Collecting information and sending reports.

Working alone.

Interacting with others.

When does it occur?

As often as required by the PMO or management.

Ideally: up-front, before the project starts. Reality: throughout.

Almost daily.

How does it occur?

Meeting, email, or portal.

Ideally: with a PM tool. Reality: often with Excel, whiteboard, etc.

On-the-ground; in collaboration with team members.

In the steps ahead, we will develop a project management standard operating procedure (SOP) that will help define project management accountabilities across each of these areas.

Step 1.3: Define project levels and categories

Phase 1: Lay the groundwork for project management success

1.1

Assess the current state of your PM processes

1.2

Set a governance framework for project activity

1.3

Develop project levels and categories

This step will walk you through the following activities:

  • Define the minimum-threshold criteria for small projects
  • Set your thresholds for level 2 and level 3 projects
  • Configure Info-Tech’s Project Level Definition Matrix
  • Begin to customize Info-Tech’s Project Management SOP Template

This step involves the following participants:

  • PMO Director/Manager
  • Project Managers
  • Other relevant IT staff

Outcomes of this step

  • An organizationally specific definition of three levels of projects to better assist with the right-sizing of project management processes.
  • An Excel-based leveling tool that will assist in new project definition going forward.
  • The first steps in customizing your Project Management SOP Template, which will be fully customized throughout the course of the remainder of the blueprint.

The application of a universal PM methodology is troubled by one simple truth: not all projects are created equal

Before you right-size your project management processes, you’ll need to size your projects.

The ability to tailor project management rigor and processes is contingent on the ability to quickly size projects during the request and initiation phases. Being able to classify projects according to such factors as size, risk, budget, etc. will help you put projects in the appropriate queue for scoping, planning, and execution rigor as you move on to develop your PM SOP in the phases ahead. In this step, we will set the groundwork for right-sizing your project management processes by accomplishing two goals:

  1. Establish proper thresholds for what is a project and what is not a project.
  2. Develop organizationally appropriate project levels (level 1 for small, level 2 for medium, and level 3 for large) to help you effectively tailor your project management processes in your standard operating procedure.

"[T]here is rarely a perfect fit for project management (PM) methods unless they are tailor-made. But, just as with clothing, few companies have the budget for the tailor-made PM option. This just means we have to learn how to choose our PM processes carefully."

—Michelle Symonds

Info-Tech Insight

The ability to right-size projects benefits projects and the portfolio. Giving proper definition to project thresholds and sizes helps portfolio managers properly forecast resource availability and prioritize when work can take place. The activities in this step will help pave the way for both improved project and portfolio management.

What is a project, exactly?

Bring color to the grey area that can exist in IT between those initiatives that fall somewhere in between “clearly a service ticket” and “clearly a project.”

Perhaps the most fundamental question in project management isn’t one about process or governance; rather, it’s an ontological question about the nature of projects themselves: what constitutes a project? Another way of asking this question that gets more to the point for this blueprint, for what types of initiatives is project management rigor required? This is especially true in IT, where for some smaller initiatives, there can be uncertainty in many organizations during the intake and initiation phase about what should be included on the formal project list and what should go to help desk’s queue.

As the definitions in the table below show, formal project management frameworks each have similar definitions of “a project.”

Source

Definition

PMI

A temporary endeavor undertaken to create a unique product, service, or result.” (553)

COBIT

A structured set of activities concerned with delivering a defined capability (that is necessary but not sufficient, to achieve a required business outcome) to the enterprise based on an agreed‐on schedule and budget.” (74)

PRINCE2

A temporary organization that is created for the purpose of delivering one or more business products according to an agreed business case.

For each, a project is a temporary endeavor planned around producing a specific organizational/business outcome. The challenge of those small initiatives in IT is knowing when those endeavors require a business case, formal resource tracking, and project management rigor, and when they don’t.

Separating small projects from non-projects can require a consideration of approval rights, not just size, timeline, or cost

While conventional wisdom says to base your project definition on an estimation of cost, risk, etc., you also need to ask, “does this initiative require formal approval?”

In the next step, we will go on to define a suggested minimum threshold for a small, “level 1” project. While these level thresholds are good and necessary for a number of reasons—including right-sizing your project management processes—you may still often need to exercise some critical judgment in separating the tickets from the projects. In addition to the level criteria that we will develop in this step, use the checklist below to help with your differentiating.

Service Desk Ticket

Small Project

  • Approval seems implicit given the scope of the task.
  • No expectations of needing to report on status.
  • No indications that management will require visibility during execution.
  • The scope of the task suggests formal approval may be required.
  • You may have to report on status.
  • Possibility that management may require visibility during execution.

Info-Tech Insight

Guard the value of the portfolio. Because tickets carry with them an implicit approval, you need to be wary at the portfolio level of those that might possess a larger scope than their status of ticket implies. Sponsors that, for whatever reason, resist the formal intake process may use the ticketing process to sneak projects in through the backdoor. When assessing tickets and small projects at the portfolio level, you need to ask: is it possible that someone at an executive level might want to get updates on this because of its duration, scope, risk, cost, etc.? Could someone at the management level get upset that the initiative came in as a ticket and is burning up time and driving costs, without any visibility?

Use risk factors to distinguish between service desk & maintenance efforts and project efforts

1.3.1 Estimated Time: 30 minutes

Use the criteria below to draw a firm line between support work and small projects.

  1. Using your project list and ticketing system, identify a handful of small projects, large service desk tickets, and especially those items that fall somewhere in the grey area in between (anywhere between 10 to 20 of each).
  2. Use the risk criteria on the next slide to firmly distinguish the two categories of work.
    • Go through each request or discuss each initiative’s scope using the risk criteria checklist on the next slide.
    • As you go through each type of work and assess the risk categories associated with it, define the minimum risk threshold that will constitute the need for project management rigor at your organization.
    • For some organizations, the threshold will be as low as 1; for others, it could be higher.
    • For some organizations, a certain category of risk being present (e.g. cost or security) could mean automatic escalation to the category of “project.”
    • The key is to look at your scores across different types of work and see if this helps to differentiate work categories.
  3. By the end of the exercise, you should have two firmly defined columns: one for projects and another for non-projects.

Participants

  • PMO Director/CIO
  • Current project managers
  • Other relevant IT staff

INPUT

  • Project list
  • Service requests
  • Considerations of risk

OUTPUT

  • Clear distinction between: “keep the lights on” work and small projects

Materials

  • Risk table (see next slide)

Risk criteria table

Don’t worry too much about the specifics of the risk for the purposes of this exercise. Remember, we are just trying to categorize work, not plan it. If the risk criteria is present at a high level, give it a score of 1.

Risk Type

Description

Score

Scope Risk

The defined scope of the initiative is unstable and will need to be managed.

1

Time Risk

The investment of resource hours is significant and will need to be managed.

1

Cost Risk

Certainty of cost containment is suspect and will need to be managed.

1

Quality Risk

Other risks could potentially impact the quality of the final outcome.

1

Human Resources Risks

HR constraints (workload, availability of skills, etc.) could impact our ability to do this work and will need to be managed.

1

Communications Risks

The communications requirements for effective execution are complex enough that they will need to be managed.

1

Security Risks

There are security implications to the initiative or aspects of integration with other projects, systems, infrastructure, or organizations.

1

Stakeholder Risks

Stakeholder management aspects of the initiative are complex enough that they will need to be managed.

1

Total

8

Define the minimum-threshold criteria for small projects

1.3.2 Estimated Time: 30 minutes

Follow the steps below to define the specifics of a “level 1” project for your organization.

  1. Using the list of projects established in the previous step, determine the organizationally appropriate considerations for defining your project levels.
    • While Info-Tech’s levels and leveling tool (see subsequent slides) are structured around predefined categories, these can be customized. Now is the time to solidify the leveling criteria that matter to your organization. Options include:
      • Duration
      • Budget/Cost
      • Technology requirements
      • Customer involvement
      • Integration
      • Organizational impact
      • Complexity
      • Number of cross-functional workgroups and teams involved
  2. Using the list of projects established in the previous step, determine the organizationally appropriate considerations for defining your project levels—anywhere from 4 to 6 considerations is a good number.
  3. Using these criteria and your list of small projects, define the minimum-threshold for your level one projects across each of these categories. Record these thresholds in the table on the next slide.

Participants

  • PMO Director/CIO
  • Current project managers
  • Other relevant IT staff

INPUT

  • Data concerning small projects and service desk tickets, including size, duration, etc.

OUTPUT

  • Clarity around how to define your level one projects

Materials

  • Whiteboard
  • Info-Tech’s Project Level Assessment Tool

Project/Non-Project Table

Non-Project

Small Project

e.g. Time required

e.g. < 40 hours

e.g. 40 > hours

e.g. Complexity

e.g. Very low

e.g. Moderate – Low Difficulty: Does not require highly developed or specialized skill sets

e.g. Collaboration

e.g. None required

e.g. Limited coordination and collaboration between resources and departments

e.g. Repeatability of work

e.g. Fully repeatable

e.g. Less predictable

e.g. Frequency of request type

e.g. Hourly to daily

e.g. Weekly to monthly

"If you worked for the help desk over time you would begin to master your job since there is a certain rhythm and pattern to the work…. On the other hand, projects are unique. This characteristic makes them hard to estimate and hard to manage. Even if the project is similar to one you have done before, new events and circumstances will occur. Each project typically holds its own challenges and opportunities."

—Jeffrey and Thomas Mochal

Set your thresholds for level 2 and level 3 projects

1.3.3 Estimated Time: 30 minutes

Now that the minimum threshold for your smallest projects has been identified, it’s time to identify the maximum threshold in order to better apply project management rigor where it’s needed.

  1. Looking at your project list, isolate the medium and large projects. Examine the two categories in turn.
  2. Start with the medium projects. Using the criteria identified in the previous activity, identify where your level one category ends.
    • What are the commonly recurring thresholds that distinguish medium-sized projects from smaller initiatives?
    • Are there any criteria that would need to take on a greater importance when making the distinction? For instance, will cost or duration take on a greater weightings when determining level thresholds?
    • Once you have reached consensus, record these in the table on the next slide.
  3. Now examine your largest projects. Once again relying on the criteria from Activity 1.3.2, determine where your medium-sized projects end and your large projects begin.
    • What are the commonly recurring thresholds that distinguish large and extra-large projects from medium-sized initiatives?
    • Once you have reached consensus, records these in the table on the next slide.

Participants

  • PMO Director/CIO
  • Current project managers
  • Other relevant IT staff

INPUT

  • Leveling criteria from previous activity
  • Data concerning medium and large projects

OUTPUT

  • Clarity around how to define your level two and three projects

Materials

  • Whiteboard
  • The project level table on the next slide

Project Levels Table

Project Level

Level 1

Level 2

Level 3

Duration

40-100 hours

100-500 hours

500+ hours

Budget

$100,000 and under

$100,000 to $500,000

$500,000 and over

Technology

In-house expertise

Familiar

New or requires system-wide change/training

Complexity

Well-defined solution; no problems expected

Solution is known; some problems expected

Solution is unknown or not clearly defined

Cross-Functional Workgroups/Teams

1-2

3-5

>6

Put your project levels to work

Now that you’ve established your project levels, download Info-Tech’s Project Level Definition Matrix and configure it with your project level criteria.

The Project Level Definition Matrix is designed to be easy to customize with the project level criteria established in the previous activities. The following two slides will instruct you how to configure the matrix. While the Project Level Definition Matrix is our most easily customizable project-leveling tool, Info-Tech has other project level offerings, depending on your appetite for ease-of-use versus your appetite for risk analysis rigor.

Download Info-Tech’s Project Level Definition Matrix.

A screenshot of Info-Tech's Project Level Definition Matrix is shown.

Alternative #1: Project Level Selection Tool

  • The Project Level Selection Tool is our best ease-of-use option.
  • It is out of the box ready to use, consisting of six criteria and a six-question questionnaire.

Alternative #2: Project Level Assessment Tool

  • The Project Level Assessment Tool is our most rigorous treatment of project level.
  • It determines project level based on eight categories of risk and a 24-question survey.

Customize Info-Tech’s Project Level Definition Matrix with your new project levels

1.3.4 Estimated Time: 15 minutes

This slide provides directions for: Tab 2 of the Project Level Definition Matrix.

A screenshot of Info-Tech's Project Level Definition Matrix Tab 2

1. Transpose the results of Activity 1.3.3 into Tab 2 of the Project Leveling Matrix. There are six rows available for criteria. If you do not need all six, simply leave the unused rows blank and set the weighting for them as “N/A.”

2. Use the weighting column to establish the importance of the criteria in determining the project level. If all criteria are equal, set these to “Of Equal Importance.” If one or more criteria take priority, set those criteria to “Of Greater Importance.” If you're not using all of the rows available for criteria, set the weighting to “N/A.”

Test your project level criteria to determine viability before standardizing

1.3.5 Estimated Time: 5-10 minutes (ongoing)

This slide provides directions for: Tab 3 of the Project Level Definition Matrix.

Once you have configured tab two of the Leveling Matrix, you’re ready to pilot the criteria and assess the levels of new projects on an ongoing basis. Follow the directions below.

A screenshot of Info-Tech's Project Level Definition Matrix Tab 3

1. As new projects enter the queue, enter the project name in column B.

2. Rows 4 and 5, columns C through H will populate automatically, based on the inputs of Tab 2.

3. Score each project across the relevant criteria from columns C through H. For each individual criteria, if the project meets the standard of a level 1 project, as defined in tab 2, score it as a 1; if it meets the criteria of a level 2 project, score it as a 2; if it meets the criteria of a level 3, score it 3.

4. Columns J and K keep track of your scores and assign a level. Level thresholds update dynamically, based on the number of criteria and weightings.

Your project levels will form the building blocks of your project management standard operating procedure

Minimize improvisation: have a standardized, end-to-end approach for project management.

Creating a Project Management Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) is a critical step for giving your project managers (PMs) a common frame of reference.

  • The key to optimizing project management is to establish a strong set of standard operating procedures that provide direction on how your organization should be executing project management processes. This SOP guide should be a holistic document that walks your team of PMs through the management of projects from start to finish.
  • In the spirit of right-sizing your projects, your SOP should provide direction on where to apply project management rigor depending on the size and complexity of projects.
  • An SOP that is put aside is useless; it must be well communicated to project managers. It should be treated as the veritable “manifesto of project management” in your organization.

Info-Tech Insight

Make your standardization comprehensive. The SOP guide should cover all of the major bases of project management. In addition to providing a walk-through of the process, an SOP also clarifies project governance by clearly defining roles and responsibilities.

Use Info-Tech’s SOP Template to develop a standardized project management methodology for your organization

1.3.6 Project Management SOP Template

Info-Tech’s Project Management SOP Template forms the basis of this blueprint. It’s a structured document that you can fill out with defined procedures for how projects must be managed at your organization. Info-Tech’s template provides a number of sections that you can populate to provide direction for project managers. Sections include:

  • Project Level Selection
  • Level 1 Project SOP
    • Create a charter
    • Monitor and report status
    • Control changes
  • Level 2 and 3 Project SOP
    • Establish project governance and control
    • Conduct requirements gathering
    • Manage stakeholders

The template has been pre-populated with an example of project management procedures. Feel free to customize it to fit your specific needs.

Download Info-Tech’s Project Management SOP Template.

A screenshot of Info-Tech's Project Management SOP Template is shown.

Update page 6 of the SOP with your project levels and criteria.

The remainder of this blueprint will help you customize Info-Tech’s Project Management SOP Template section by section

1.3.6 Project Management SOP Template

Each project management task in this blueprint has a corresponding section in the SOP Template. When you see this icon over the course of the blueprint, follow the steps below to build your organization’s Project Management SOP.

  1. Review your existing steps, tools and templates used for this task. Alternatively, review the example provided in the SOP Template.
  2. Designate the responsible party/parties for this process. Who carries out the task?
  3. Document the inputs and outputs for the task: artifacts, consulted and informed parties.
  4. If applicable, document the tools and templates used for the task.
  5. Designate the accountable party for this task. Only a single party can be accountable.
  6. Describe the “how” of the task below the Task-at-a-Glance table.

A screenshot of Info-Tech's Project Management SOP is shown.

Telecommunications firm improves capability levels with project management training and certification

CASE STUDY

Industry: Technology

Source:PMI

“We have a heritage of strong technical capability, but we are aiming for a consistent understanding of all the other things that make a great project manager.”

Challenge

Telstra, a telecommunications firm with employees in over 20 countries, was going though a period of rapid growth. The firm had just hired over 1,500 new employees, and project managers and teams were handling an average of approximately 2,000 projects a day, ranging from small routine projects to large multi-year innovation projects. While the Telstra had a strong talent pool to draw from, project management roles were not clearly or consistently defined. It needed a project management process to ensure that projects of all sizes would be delivered in a consistent and dependable manner.

Solution

The leadership team recognized the need to create core project management accountabilities and a standardized understanding of how projects should be run. Leadership wanted PMs to be able to assuredly manage customer and team expectations and to align their goals as project managers with the goals of the business. Telstra embarked on a formal project management training and certification initiative for over 400 of its project managers. This training focused on achieving consistency in planning and execution across the organization and across projects of all sizes.

Results

After the first wave of training was complete, Telstra saw immediate results in its project management outcomes. Leadership identified immediate improvements in commercial results as well as in customer satisfaction. As their project management capabilities have evolved, the company has noticed capabilities improving organization-wide, with improved relations between the PMO and the business. The project management framework is being refined and simplified as it gets scaled and rolled out globally.

If you want additional support, have our analysts guide you through this phase as part of an Info-Tech workshop

Book a workshop with our Info-Tech analysts:

A picture of an Info-Tech analyst is shown.
  • To accelerate this project, engage your IT team in an Info-Tech workshop with an Info-Tech analyst team.
  • Info-Tech analysts will join you and your team onsite at your location or welcome you to Info-Tech’s historic Toronto office to participate in an innovative onsite workshop.
  • Contact your account manager (www.infotech.com/account), or email Workshops@InfoTech.com for more information.

The following are sample activities that will be conducted by Info-Tech analysts with your team:

1.1.1

A screenshot of 1.1.1 Sample SWOT Analysis is shown.

Perform a project management SWOT analysis

Work with an analyst to assess your organization’s current strengths and weaknesses in regards to project management as well as opportunities and threats to improvement.

1.1.3

A screenshot of 1.1.3 Set achievable targets for your project management implementation is shown.

Set achievable targets for your project management implementation

Get industry expert insights in assessing your current state and defining realistic goals for your project management process implementation.

1.2.3

A screenshot of 1.2.3 Assess maturity of inputs for BAI01 is shown.

Evaluate the completeness of each of the process inputs for project management governance

Work through COBIT BAI01 with an analyst to ensure the right supports are in place to support a rigorous project governance framework.

1.3.1

A screenshot of 1.3.1 where you use risk factors to distinguish between service desk and maintenance efforts and project efforts, is shown.

Draw a firm line between non-project support work and small projects

Enable proper right-sizing of your project management processes by delineating a firm scope for what constitutes a project and what falls outside this scope.

1.3.3

1.3.3 Projects Level Table is shown.

Define organizationally appropriate project levels

Get an analyst perspective on the right criteria and thresholds for organizationally specific project levels.

Phase 2

Build a Lightweight PM Process for Small Initiatives

Phase 2 outline

Call 1-888-670-8889 or email GuidedImplementations@InfoTech.com for more information.

Complete these steps on your own, or call us to complete a guided implementation. A guided implementation is a series of 2-3 advisory calls that help you execute each phase of a project. They are included in most advisory memberships.

Guided Implementation 2: Build a lightweight PM process for small initiatives

Proposed Time to Completion (in weeks): 1 week

Step 2.1: Define a minimum-viable PM process to drive the throughput of small initiatives

Work with an analyst to:

  • Define the fundamental questions that a project manager must address when managing a project
  • Discover opportunities for streamlining project management work for small, low-risk projects

Then complete these activities…

  • Set realistic expectations for managing small projects
  • Tailor Info-Tech’s project management approach for small projects to your organization

With these tools & templates:

  • Project Management SOP Template (Chapter 3)
  • Level 1 Project Charter Template
  • Level 1 Project Status Report Template
  • Level 1 Project Closure Checklist Template

Step 2.1: Define a minimum-viable PM process to drive the throughput of small initiatives

Phase 2: Build a lightweight PM process for small initiatives

2: Minimum-viable PM process for small projects

This step will walk you through the following activities:

  • Set your realistic expectation for managing small projects
  • Learn about Info-Tech’s project management approach for small projects
  • Review and customize the project management SOP and templates for artifacts

This step involves the following participants:

  • Project Managers
  • PMO Director
  • Project Sponsors / Business Unit Owners
  • Other relevant IT staff

Outcomes of this step

  • An optimized, minimum-viable, lightweight project management methodology for small, low-risk projects
  • Customized artifact templates to drive the lightweight methodology
  • Standardized operating procedure that, if implemented, will increase the throughput of small projects

At minimum, what are the fundamental questions a project manager should ask when managing a project?

In PMBOK, project management processes are organized into ten knowledge areas. Since each knowledge area is a specific area of concern in project management, it can be translated into a set of fundamental questions that a project manager should ask when managing a project.

Knowledge area

Addresses the question of “How do I…

Integration

… combine and coordinate various project management processes and activities to create project success?”

Scope

… ensure that the project includes all the work required, and only the work required, to complete the project successfully?”

Time

… manage the timely completion of the project?”

Cost

… complete the project within the approved budget?”

Quality

… ensure that the project will satisfy the needs for which it was undertaken?”

Human Resource

… organize, manage, and lead the project team?”

Communication

… ensure timely and appropriate creation, flow, and deposition of information about the project?”

Risk

… increase the likelihood and impact of positive events while decreasing the likelihood and impact of negative events in the project?”

Procurement

… acquire products, services, or results from outside the project team smoothly?

Stakeholder

… achieve stakeholder satisfaction with, and through, the project?”

Set your realistic expectation for managing level 1 projects

2.1 Estimated Time: 30 minutes

As a whole, small projects can represent a significant portion of IT projects. Is this the case in your organization? How much time should be spent on managing those projects? What are the priorities in project management for small projects?

  1. Based on your definition of level 1 projects (results of activity 1.3.1), compile a list of level 1 projects in your organization from your list of completed projects in the last 12 months.
  2. Calculate the average hours that were required to complete a level 1 project (e.g. 80 hours). Out of those hours, how many hours ought to be spent on managing the project? 5%? 10%? 20%?
  3. Given the above hours, discuss a reasonable amount of hours that should be spent on addressing the ten project management questions from the previous slide, from the start to the finish of a project. Note that zero hours can be a perfectly valid answer: e.g. no external procurements for level 1 projects = 0 hours on procurement management.
  4. Discuss: is the distribution of hours realistic?

Question

Hours

Integration

Scope

Time

Cost

Quality

HR/Team

Communication

Risk

Procurement

Stakeholder

Participants

  • Project Managers
  • Business Analysts
  • PMO Director

INPUT

  • Definition for level 1 project
  • List of projects

OUTPUT

  • Expected time to spend on project management for level 1 projects

Materials

  • List of PMBOK knowledge areas
  • Whiteboard

Right-size project management processes for level 1 projects

There is little time to plan and manage small projects. Spend your time wisely to maximize the benefits of project management.

Project management increases the probability of project success at a cost of administrative overhead. According to the CHAOS Report, a large majority of small IT projects do succeed, with a 7% failure rate (right). Since level 1 projects are short-lived, there is little time to plan and manage projects. Therefore, time must be spent judiciously to avoid the consequences of too little or too much planning.

"The organization and/or project management team is responsible for determining what [project management process] is appropriate for any given project."

– PMBOK, 5th edition

"Project management team [must] consider the special characteristics of each project and tailor PRINCE2® – a best practice framework – to fit the needs of the project, rather than to force the project to fit PRINCE2®."

– PRINCE2

A pie graph is displayed to show the outcome of small IT projects. 7% failed, 30% were challenged, and 63% were successful.

Too little

Right-sized

Too rigorous

  • Lack of time to think and plan
  • Unrealistic deadlines
  • Communication neglect
  • Sponsor disengagement
  • Muddled project closure to mixing operational work and scope creep
  • Reasonable time to think and plan
  • Realistic deadlines
  • Engaged sponsors and staff
  • Properly closed projects to better resource management and allocation
  • Lack of time to execute projects
  • Unrealistic deadlines
  • Too much talking, not enough doing
  • Staff disengagement

Focus on providing visibility into level 1 projects

Prevent death by a thousand cuts. Provide visibility into the army of small projects that, as a whole, occupy a significant portion of your resource availability.

If the success of the project itself isn’t a challenge, what is it? The challenge lies in providing visibility into the projects due to the short-lived nature of the schedule.

42%: Identify “getting reliable and accurate information on projects” as a major challenge facing project portfolio management (PM Solutions, 2013).

A pie graph is shown and is titled: Number of projects by size. 8% of projects are Grand, 15% are large, 22% are medium, 26% are moderate, and 29% are small.

With over half of the projects being identified as “small” or “moderate” in size, even incremental improvements in project visibility will compound into a major improvement in the organization’s portfolio management.

Too little

Right-sized

Too rigorous

Cannot provide visibility to key stakeholders

  • Stakeholder dissatisfaction
  • Difficulty securing resources for completing projects
  • Failure to meet business needs

Efficient provision of project visibility to stakeholders

  • Stakeholders are satisfied because they see projects getting done
  • Accurate portfolio reporting leads to sufficient resourcing
  • Maximize project throughput

Project takes too long doing “busy work”

  • Project sponsors are discouraged from initiating small projects
  • Failure to meet business needs, stakeholder dissatisfaction, difficulty securing resources for completing projects

Info-Tech’s project management approach for small projects provides optimized value for effort

Backed by research and best practices, Info-Tech has created a practical, lightweight approach to managing small projects.

By focusing on providing visibility and reducing the amount of “busy work” involved with project management, project management processes can be right-sized for level 1 projects. Info-Tech’s project management approach for small projects has three aims:

  1. Maximize the added value of project management for small projects
  2. Project management increases the probability of project success at a cost of producing planning documents and administrative overhead. Info-Tech’s project management approach for small projects is designed to maximize the ratio of cost to benefits by exploiting the low failure rate and short timeline of small projects.

  3. Prioritize feeding the portfolio during project execution and closing
  4. Info-Tech’s project management approach for small projects focuses on feeding the project portfolio, which provides clarity on the resources demanded by small yet numerous projects. This also provides clarity for key stakeholders by providing visibility into the project, allowing the project manager to respond to getting IT the due credit for performing project work.

  5. Address all facets of project management efficiently
  6. The fundamental questions for project management, represented by PMBOK knowledge areas, are universally applicable to projects of all sizes. Info-Tech’s project management approach for small projects addresses all ten knowledge areas with minimal formal project management work.

Four key artifacts drive Info-Tech’s project management approach for small projects

Standard Operating Procedure

Project Charter: Initiation & Planning

Status Report: Execution

Closure Checklist: Closing

Document

Goal

Frequency of Work

Standard Operating Procedure

  • Directs the level 1 project workflow
  • Documents common processes for all level 1 projects

Once, with periodic review

Project Charter

  • Formally authorizes the existence of the project
  • Commits scope, schedule, and budget
  • Commits necessary resources
  • Commits acceptable quality criteria for project outcome

Once each project

Status Report

  • Provides visibility
  • Communicates with key stakeholders

Frequently, as set in SOP

Project Closure Checklist

  • Ensures acceptance of deliverable
  • Closes the project

Once each project

In the following slides, each document will be presented and customized to fit your organization.

Create a project charter for your level 1 projects

2.2 Level 1 Project Charter Template

A project charter is a document that formally authorizes the existence of a project, and provides direction on the project’s objectives and management. Info-Tech’s Level 1 Project Charter Template is a four-page document with the following components:

Section

Components

Addressing

Scope

Feature requirement

Scope

Deliverables & acceptance criteria

Quality

Constraints and assumptions

Scope

Exclusions

Scope

Logistics

Roles and responsibilities

Schedule and budget

HR/Team

Time, Cost

The project charter represents a commitment to the project’s scope, time, and budget, given the constraints and assumptions, and the resources required for the project.

A screenshot of Info-Tech's Level 1 Project Charter Template is shown.

Document your process to create a project charter for your level 1 projects

2.2 Estimated Time: 20 minutes

Review and customize section 3.1 “Create a Project Charter” in Info-Tech’s Project Management SOP Template.

The template has example text to be used as a starting point. Customize the example for your organization by following these steps:

  1. Identify sources from which to collect the inputs for the project charter.
    • Project intake form: goals, benefits, schedule, budget
    • Project sponsor: requirements, deliverables, acceptance criteria
  2. Prescribe steps to complete the project charter.
    • Add or modify sections as appropriate for your organization. E.g. If a business case is required for every project regardless of project size, add it to the template either as a section or as an appendix.
    • Reflect the changes to the project charter template, if any.
  3. Prescribe a method for validating and obtaining sign-off for the project charter.
  4. Based on the time allocation from Activity 2.1, determine whether to require any further project planning. Keep in mind that the effort must be proportional to the value. Document this in the SOP.

Participants

  • Project Managers
  • Business Analysts
  • PMO Director

INPUT

  • Level 1 Project Charter Template

OUTPUT

  • Customized SOP for initiating and planning level 1 projects

Materials

  • SOP Template

Report status and control change as you execute your level 1 project

Status Report: Status reporting must be standardized across all levels of projects to properly feed the portfolio. A properly-kept portfolio builds the trust of executive leadership. When the project is ready for execution, report the status of the project as started. During project execution, ask yourself whether change is necessary in the project before each regular project portfolio reporting period. If not, report the status of the project as in progress.

A flowchart is shown to show the relation between report status and control change.

Control Changes In spite of level 1 projects having narrow, well-defined project scope, it may become clear that change to the project may become necessary. If you suspect that the scope, time, and budget of the project may expand past the confines of a level 1 project, consider escalating the project to level 2.Elevating the project to level 2 can provide the necessary project governance for completing the project. This also prevents the “zombification” of poorly-defined level 1 projects. If escalation is not needed, document and report changes along with the status report.

Download Info-Tech’s Level 1 Project Charter Template.

Document your process to report level 1 project status and control changes

2.3 Estimated Time: 20 minutes

Review and customize sections 3.2 “Monitor and Report Project Status” and 3.3 “Control Changes to the Project” in Info-Tech’s Project Management SOP Template.

A flowchart is shown to show the relation between report status and control change.

The template has example text to be used as a starting point. Customize the example for your organization by following these steps:

  1. Prescribe steps to report project status.
    • How often? To whom? What should be reported?
    • Simplify status report by indicating project status as either green, yellow or red.
  2. Prescribe steps for change control.
    • Who is responsible? Who is accountable?
  3. Based on the time allocation from Activity 2.1, determine whether to require any further project management activities (e.g. keeping an issues log). Keep in mind that the effort must be proportional to the value. Document them in the SOP.

Participants

  • Project Managers
  • Business Analysts
  • PMO Director

INPUT

  • Level 1 Project Status Template

OUTPUT

  • Customized SOP for executing level 1 projects

Materials

  • SOP Template

Document the rest of your execution processes for level 1 projects

2.4 Estimated Time: 15 minutes

Review and customize sections 3.4 “Control Project Risks and Quality” and 3.5 “Review the Project” in Info-Tech’s Project Management SOP Template.

The template has example text to be used as a starting point. Customize the example for your organization by following these steps:

  1. Discuss how PMs will incorporate risk and quality control into level 1 projects.
    • Constraints and Assumptions section of the charter should provide the basis for risk control.
    • Project Deliverables and Acceptance Criteria section of the charter should provide the basis for quality control.
  2. Discuss how project reviews will be carried out.
    • Info-Tech recommends a simple start-stop-continue exercise with the project team to brainstorm and refine the lessons learned in the project.
  3. Based on the time allocation from Activity 2.1, determine whether to require any further project management activities during project execution. Keep in mind that the effort must be proportional to the value. Document them in the SOP.

Participants

  • Project Managers
  • Business Analysts
  • PMO Director

INPUT

  • Example text in SOP Template

OUTPUT

  • Customized SOP for executing level 1 projects

Materials

  • SOP Template

Use the project closure checklist to close projects with the context of project portfolio in mind

2.5 Level 1 Project Closure Checklist Template

The project closure process starts when projects are initiated. Every project should have four key elements of scope clearly defined before a project manager takes responsibility for completion:

  • Sponsor
  • Business justification
  • Objectives and deliverables
  • Completion criteria

These elements are documented in the project charter. Project managers are responsible for ensuring that all i’s are dotted and t’s are crossed with a project closure checklist. Prematurely closed projects cause resource waste by creating the need for analyzing, fixing, and redeploying faulty deliverables. Project managers are also responsible for reporting project closure to the portfolio manager in a timely manner. The portfolio manager will be able to assign freed up project resources to other projects. A smooth transition is key to minimizing resource downtime.

Download Info-Tech’s Level 1 Project Closure Checklist Template.

A screenshot of Info-Tech's Level 1 Project Closure Checklist Template.

Document your closing processes for level 1 projects

2.5 Estimated Time: 30 minutes

Review and customize section 3.6 “Sign-Off and Accept Final Deliverable” in Info-Tech’s Project Management SOP Template.

The template has example text to be used as a starting point. Customize the example for your organization by following these steps:

  1. Review and customize the Level 1 Project Closure Checklist Template.
    • Add or modify sections as is appropriate for your organization. E.g. if a business case is required for every project regardless of project size, add a line under “PM Checklist” to be completed.
    • Ensure that the checklist is compatible with your organization’s portfolio management closing process.
  2. Based on the time allocation from Activity 2.1, determine whether to require any further project closing. Keep in mind that the effort must be proportional to the value. Document this in the SOP.

Section

Addressing

PM Checklist

Integration

Deliverables

Scope, Quality

Project Goals & Benefits

Scope, Stakeholder

Outstanding Issues

Integration

Participants

  • Project Managers
  • PMO Director
  • CIO

INPUT

  • Level 1 Project Closure Checklist

OUTPUT

  • Customized SOP for closing level 1 projects

Materials

  • SOP Template

Time-strapped project manager achieves results by becoming more efficient at project planning

CASE STUDY

Industry: Municipality

Source: Info-Tech

"I have PRINCE2, but rarely use the full methodology as I simply do not have the time."

Challenge

An HR Systems Project Manager with a municipality was juggling too many projects. While the city had a project office and dedicated project managers for larger projects, this project manager was part of a smaller business unit that balanced a variety of smaller projects in addition to providing day-to-day service delivery. While she had autonomy to manage projects as she pleased, she had struggled to manage multiple responsibilities and keep up with all the project work being allocated to her.

Solution

The municipality was in a period of great organizational change. Due to a new commercial objective, business units were taking on more and more projects but they were not afforded additional resources. Because of her experience, the HR Systems PM was perpetually pulled into service delivery and support work—so much so that her project work came to seem ad hoc. Non-project requests came to fill her days, and she had no way of accounting for where her project hours were going.

Results

In the face of organizational change and insufficient resources, the HR Systems PM looked for more efficient and effective ways of project planning (than MS Project, which is what she was then using). As an easy and visual way of getting ideas down, she used mind maps to scope and come to agreement on tasks with her manager. She also kept a simple paper project “to-do” list with her and updated it as tasks were completed or issues arose. While she still used Server, she did so in a much more “light” way, referring to it once a week or so to ensure she was working to plan.

If you want additional support, have our analysts guide you through this phase as part of an Info-Tech workshop

Book a workshop with our Info-Tech analysts:

A picture of an Info-Tech analyst.

  • To accelerate this project, engage your IT team in an Info-Tech workshop with an Info-Tech analyst team.
  • Info-Tech analysts will join you and your team onsite at your location or welcome you to Info-Tech’s historic Toronto office to participate in an innovative onsite workshop.
  • Contact your account manager (www.infotech.com/account), or email Workshops@InfoTech.com for more information.

The following are sample activities that will be conducted by Info-Tech analysts with your team:

2.1

A screenshot of activity 2.1.

Set your realistic expectation for managing level 1 projects

Set priorities in project management for small projects and budget hours spent on managing them.

2.2-5

Screenshots of activities 2.2-2.5 are shown.

Tailor project management processes for your level 1 projects

Adapt Info-Tech’s project management approach for small projects to your organization’s needs.

Phase 3

Establish Initiation and Planning Protocols for Medium-to-Large Projects

Phase 3 outline

Call 1-888-670-8889 or email GuidedImplementations@InfoTech.com for more information.

Complete these steps on your own, or call us to complete a guided implementation. A guided implementation is a series of 2-3 advisory calls that help you execute each phase of a project. They are included in most advisory memberships.

Guided Implementation 3: Establish initiation and planning protocols for medium-to-large projects

Proposed Time to Completion (in weeks): 1-3 weeks

Step 3.1: Create initiation processes

Work with an analyst to:

  • Evaluate your current project initiation processes
  • Learn about Info-Tech’s recommended best practices on project initiation

Then complete these activities…

  • Review and customize the project initiation section of the Project Management SOP
  • Review and customize the artifact templates to drive the project initiation processes

With these tools & templates:

  • Project Management SOP Template (Chapter 4.1)
  • Project Stakeholder and Impact Assessment Tool
  • Level 2 & Level 3 Project Charter Templates

Step 3.2: Create planning processes

Work with an analyst to:

  • Evaluate your current project initiation processes
  • Learn about Info-Tech’s recommended best practices on project planning

Then complete these activities…

  • Review and customize the project planning section of the Project Management SOP
  • Review and customize the artifact templates to drive the project initiation processes

With these tools & templates:

  • Project Management SOP Template (Chapter 4.2)
  • Scope Statement Template
  • Project Staffing Plan Template
  • Communication Management Plan Template
  • Quality Management Workbook
  • Benefits Management Plan Template
  • Risk Management Workbook

Step 3.1: Create initiation processes to keep sponsors and stakeholders engaged throughout the project lifecycle

Phase 4: Establish initiation and planning protocols for medium-to-large projects

3.1: Create initiation processes

3.2: Create planning processes

This step will walk you through customizing the following sections of your SOP:

  • Establish Project Context
  • Determine a High-Level Solution
  • Identify Key Project Stakeholders
  • Establish Project Governance
  • Develop a Detailed Charter
  • Hold a Project Kick-off Meeting

This step involves the following participants:

  • Project Managers
  • Business Analysts
  • PMO Director
  • Project Sponsors / Business Unit Owners
  • Other IT staff

Outcomes of this step

  • Steps for initiating medium-to-large projects are tailored to your organization’s needs and culture.
  • These steps form a standardized protocol for project initiation that can be applied to medium-to-large scale projects.
  • A comprehensive template for a project charter is built for your large-scale projects.
  • A concise template for a project charter is built for your medium-scale projects.

Establish the project context

Managing a large project is like driving a bus down a busy street: you need to check your surroundings before driving off.

Review project status and inputs.

The project initiation process starts after project approvals have been obtained from the project intake process. However, between the time when a project is approved and when the project is initiated, there may have been changes to the project inputs. Prior to starting a project, it is important to review the status and inputs of the project to confirm that the project is still viable. Reviewing inputs also ensures that you don’t miss anything, and it maintains continuity with what’s been proposed and approved from the initial approval phase.

Define project context and dependencies.

Consider two external factors when planning for your project’s success: the context surrounding your project and any dependencies on which your project relies.

  • Understand the best timing for project development within your business.
  • Consider factors outside your organization, e.g. market forces.
  • Survey other IT projects currently in progress, as they may use the resources you need for your project.

Document your process to establish the project context

3.1.1 Estimated Time: 30 minutes

Review and customize section 4.1.1 “Establish Project Context” in Info-Tech’s Project Management SOP Template.

  1. Identify sources from which to collect project inputs, context, and dependencies.
  2. Source

    Collected information

    Project intake

    Business case, schedule, budget, dependencies, risk, allocated resources, constraints

    Business case

    Business need, cost-benefit analysis, benefit, budget

    PMO

    Project status, concurrently undertaken projects, available resources, input, constraints, dependency

    Project sponsor

    Relevant business goals, benefit, schedule, budget, context

    Strategic plan

    Business goals, strategic initiatives, timeline, context

    Business leaders

    Context, dependency

  • Prescribe a method for discussing and validating project inputs, context, and dependencies.
  • Record the validated project context into a document to be later used in creating the project charter.
  • "Understanding what else is happening in the environment of your project can help you establish open communication with other projects so they don’t get into each other’s way."

    —Terry Jones, Project Manager, State of Oregon

    Info-Tech Insight

    Projects can get cancelled or thrown off course because external factors that have an impact on your project resources or schedule were not considered. Ensure you have the right resources and skills available at the right time.

    Identify key project stakeholders

    A project is about change. Changes impact people. Invest the time to analyze the impact that the project will have on them – your stakeholders.

    Who is a project stakeholder?

    A project stakeholder is any person, group, or organization that:

    • Is affected by the project or perceives that they might be affected by the project.
    • Can affect the project.

    When assessing an individual or group, ask whether they can impact/be impacted by any decision, change, or activity executed as part of the project. This might include individuals outside of the organization.

    Use a power map to identify key project stakeholders

    A key project stakeholder is a stakeholder that will be able to influence the project or be impacted by project outcomes (e.g. sponsor, business executives, CIO).

    Download Info-Tech’s Project Stakeholder and Impact Assessment Tool.

    A screenshot of Info-Tech's Project Stakeholder and Impact Assessment Tool

    Info-Tech Insight

    Don’t overlook the project manager as a key project stakeholder. Their commitment, buy-in, and engagement are essential for project success. The intended project manager should be involved in the early stages of the planning before the details of the project are finalized.

    Enter high-level project information in the “Set Up” tab

    3.2.1 Project Stakeholder and Impact Assessment Tool

    The “2. Set Up” tab of the Project Stakeholder and Impact Assessment Tool is where you enter project-specific data pertaining to the project. The inputs on this tab are used to populate drop-down lists on subsequent tabs of the tool.

    A screenshot of Info-Tech's Project Stakeholder and Impact Assessment Tool, the Set Up Tab is shown.

    Document the stakeholders (by individual or group) associated with the project who will be impacted. Try to make this list comprehensive. Missing any key stakeholders will threaten the value of this activity as a whole.

    The final tab of the tool gives you a way to structure an impact management strategy. Record any IT/PMO staff who may be responsible for managing individual impacts in this box on the Set Up tab.

    “As a general principle, project teams should always treat every stakeholder initially as a recipient of change. Every stakeholder management plan should have, as an end goal, to change recipients’ habits or behaviors.”

    —Miller & Oliver, Engaging Stakeholders for Project Success, 2015

    Find your key project stakeholders with the stakeholder power map

    3.2.1 Project Stakeholder and Impact Assessment Tool

    Use the insight gathered from the stakeholder impact analysis to develop the list of key stakeholders. The assessment tool will provide you with a table to rate each stakeholder’s influence on, interest in, and potential contribution to the project in tab 3, and the stakeholder power map is in tab 4.

    A screenshot of Info-Tech's Project Stakeholder and Impact Assessment Tool, Tab 3 is shown.

    The stakeholder groups entered on the Set Up tab are automatically populated in this column.

    Rate the stakeholder’s influence between 1 (least influential) and 10 (most influential).

    Rate the stakeholder’s interest between 1 (least interested) and 10 (most interested).

    Rate the stakeholder’s potential contribution between 1 (least) and 10 (most).

    A screenshot of Info-Tech's <em data-verified=Project Stakeholder and Impact Assessment Tool, Tab 4 is shown.">

    This is the stakeholder power map. This helps you visualize each stakeholder’s influence, interest, and potential contribution. Your key stakeholders appear on this quadrant. Engage these stakeholders during your project initiation process.

    Document your process to identify key project stakeholders

    3.2.1 Estimated Time: 30 minutes

    Review and customize section 4.1.2 “Identify Key Project Stakeholders” in Info-Tech’s Project Management SOP Template.

    The process of identifying and characterizing stakeholders is challenging because existing literature lacks practical advice on how to collect the needed data (Jepsen & Eskerod, 2009). To avoid wasted effort, the SOP should clearly outline how key project stakeholders are identified, so that appropriate stakeholders can be engaged in the initiation phase.

    Common candidates for project stakeholders:

    • Sponsors
    • Project management team
    • End users or customers
    • User groups
    • Business units
    • Business subject matter experts (SMEs)
    • Other IT teams
    • Any departments affected by outcome of the project
    • Governance committees (steering, operating)
    • Externals (vendors, customers, partners, legal)

    Since IT projects aim to deliver on business goals, there needs to be full engagement from business units. Secure the commitment of the business SMEs for the project.

    How to identify key project stakeholders

    1. Identify appropriate SMEs and business SMEs to consult.
    2. Generate a list of potential project stakeholders.
    3. With their inputs, rate each stakeholder’s influence, involvement, and potential contribution.
    4. Identify key project stakeholders with the Project Stakeholder and Impact Assessment Tool.

    Info-Tech Insight

    For impacted user groups, engage an individual to act as a representative. This individual will become the primary point of contact when making decisions that impact the group and will receive relevant project information, such as project status reports.

    Document your process to determine a high-level solution

    3.1.3 Estimated Time: 15 minutes

    Review and customize section 4.1.3 “Determine a High-Level Solution” in Info-Tech’s Project Management SOP Template.

    In some projects, there needs to be an initial idea of what the project might look like. To help guide the rest of project initiation and planning, devise a high-level solution in the form of a plan that includes the approach and optimal steps to achieve the project outcome. High-level solutions are necessary for projects that:

    • Are very different from previous projects.
    • Are fairly complex or not business as usual.
    • Have specific program pieces and specific work breakdown structure.

    Additional benefits of creating a high-level solution:

    • Helps clarify what hidden expectations there might be.
    • Clearly defines what needs to be fixed and prevents jumping straight into project work.
    • Ensures you don’t miss project steps in a unique or complex project.

    How to determine a high-level solution

    1. Assess if the project requires an initial high-level solution.
    2. Ask the sponsor what this might look like.
    3. Get input from other key project stakeholders.
    4. Outline project activities in a one-page plan that includes:
      • Phases and high-level tasks.
      • Approach that you’re taking for the project.

    Example phases for construction project:

    Phase 1: Foundation. Include assumptions made.

    Phase 2: Execution. Include sequencing and progression.

    Info-Tech Insight

    Projects don’t fail simply because of bad project management processes. They fail because of bad project plans as you end up missing steps.

    Project governance complements project management

    Project governance roles:

    Phase

    Project governing body roles

    Initiation

    • Assess governance structure, policies, and procedures
    • Define membership and authority

    Planning

    • Establish governance structure
    • Establish decision making, risk escalation, and change request process
    • Approve project management plan

    Execution

    • Control and monitor
    • Ensure compliance with reporting and control processes
    • Review project changes
    • Provide performance reviews and audits
    • Support stakeholder engagement and communication

    Closing

    • Perform project review
    • Ensure project acceptance by stakeholders
    • Approve project closure

    A typical project governing body includes executive-level individuals from the organization that support the project and the project sponsor. Large projects can have tiered governing bodies that include an executive steering committee, a governance committee, and an operating committee. A steering committee provides top-level accountability, while an operating committee takes on a more active management role to handle many small changes in the project.

    A flowchart is shown as an example of a governing body that includes a steering committee and governance committee.

    Info-Tech Insight

    The governance-management interaction is a two-way street. Increase the project’s visibility for stakeholders with large influence and small involvement by inviting them to the governing body. Increase their involvement and level of support to increase the chances of your project success.

    Document your process to establish proper level of governance to projects

    3.1.4 Estimated Time: 30 minutes

    Review and customize section 4.1.4 “Establish Project Governance and Control” in Info-Tech’s Project Management SOP Template.

    1. Collect inputs to be used for prescribing project governance:
    2. Source

      Collected information

      Governing bodies

      Membership, authority, meeting frequency

      Governance policies and structure

      Policies, organizational structure, hierarchy of decision-making authority, reporting requirements

      PMO or business leaders

      Organizational culture, types of projects, needs of organization

    3. For each project level, determine the governing bodies to be involved:
      • Existing bodies: document steps to secure their involvement in the project, following their policies.
      • Ad hoc: prescribe a method to determine membership, e.g. project manager nominates five key stakeholders to the sponsor.
    4. Place a step to ensure that governance has sufficient authority to enable the execution of the project.
    5. Prescribe the roles and responsibilities of the governance committee.

    A control point is a place where a decision needs to be made that requires specific approval or sign-off from defined stakeholders involved with the project. Control points result in accepted or rejected deliverables and documents.

    Larger projects benefit from formalized and rigorous control processes, so that issues are addressed in a timely manner. However, excessive controls can also result in project schedule delay and missed milestones.

    For a more in-depth discussion, consult PMI’s Governance of Portfolios, Programs, and Projects: A Practice Guide (2016)

    Document your process to develop the project charter

    3.1.5 Estimated Time: 45 minutes

    Review and customize section 4.1.5 “Create a Project Charter” in Info-Tech’s Project Management SOP Template.

    Recall that the project charter defines the project and lays the foundation for all subsequent project planning. It formalizes the existence of the project and represents your commitment.

    1. Review the sections of the charter for Level 2 and 3 projects in the template (see next slide).
    2. With the definition of project levels in mind, add, modify, rearrange, or remove the section as appropriate for your organization.
    3. In the SOP template, map the inputs for filling out each section of the charter. Example: stakeholders to outcome of key stakeholder identification from SOP section 4.1.2
    4. In the SOP template, customize the charter review and approval process to your organization.

    Download Info-Tech’s Level 2 Project Charter Template& Level 3 Project Charter Template.

    Screenshots of Level 2 Project Charter Template and Level 3 Project Charter Template are shown.

    Example table of sections for project charters by level

    Section

    Level 2

    Level 3

    Section

    Level 2

    Level 3

    Definitions

    Required

    Required

    Project organization

    Partially Required

    Required

    Background & overview

    Required

    Required

    Project governance

    Required

    Project purpose: goals and benefits

    Required

    Required

    Project roles and responsibilities

    Required

    Required

    Business case

    Partially Required

    Required

    Project management approach

    Partially Required

    Required

    Project scope: inclusion, exclusion, deliverables, constraints & assumptions

    Required

    Required

    Project tracking

    Required

    Required

    Managing change requests

    Required

    Key stakeholders

    Required

    Required

    Issues/risks/changes tracking

    Required

    Projected timeline

    Required

    Required

    Quality control procedure

    Required

    Required

    Projected budget

    Required

    Required

    Validating/approving deliverables

    Required

    Critical success factors

    Required

    Required

    Sign-off & acceptance

    Required

    Required

    High-level risk assessment

    Required

    Required

    Project closure

    Required

    Required

    Project closure

    • Project governance for level 2 projects
    • Managing change requests for level 2 projects
    • Issues/risks/changes tracking for level 2 projects
    • Validating/approving deliverables for level 2 projects

    Document your process for project kick-off meetings

    3.1.6 Estimated Time: 30 minutes

    Review and customize section 4.1.6 “Hold a Project Kick-Off Meeting” in Info-Tech’s Project Management SOP Template.

    A kick-off meeting serves as the official launch for the project. It has three objectives:

    1. Provides a clear scope and objectives.
    2. Introduces the project team, sponsors, and stakeholders.
    3. Ensures that all project stakeholders are on the same page at the start of the project.

    For large projects, a preparatory meeting with the project team and/or key stakeholders may be useful.

    1. Determine the criteria for holding a pre-kick-off meeting, and document them in the SOP.
    2. Customize the procedure for scheduling kick-off meetings: who is to schedule, minimum notice, when to hold meetings, etc.
    3. Clarify the roles in the template’s RACI chart: scheduler, presenter, note-taker, etc.

    Download Info-Tech’s Project Kick-Off Meeting Agenda Template.

    A screenshot of Info-Tech's Project Kick-Off Meeting Agenda Template.

    Step 3.2: Develop planning procedures to ensure feasibility and quality

    Phase 3: Establish initiation and planning protocols for medium-to-large projects

    3.1: Create initiation processes

    3.2: Create planning processes

    This step will walk you through customizing the following sections of your SOP:

    • Conduct requirements gathering
    • Draft a scope statement
    • Create a work breakdown structure
    • Create a time management plan
    • Create a cost management plan
    • Create a staffing plan
    • Create a stakeholder management plan
    • Create a communications management plan
    • Create a quality management plan
    • Create a benefits management plan
    • Create a risk management plan

    This step involves the following participants:

    • Project Managers
    • Business Analysts
    • PMO Director
    • Project Sponsors
    • Business Unit Owners
    • Other IT staff

    Outcomes of this step

    • Steps for planning medium-to-large projects are tailored to your organization’s needs and culture.
    • These steps form a standardized protocol for project planning that can be applied to medium-to-large scale projects.
    • A comprehensive set of tools and templates for various management plans are prepared for your large-scale projects.

    Requirements define scope

    Project scope management includes the processes required to ensure that the project includes all, and only, the work required to complete the project successfully. Therefore, managing project scope is about defining and controlling what is and is not included in the project. PMBOK defines requirements as “conditions or capabilities that are to be met by the project or present in the product, service, or result to satisfy an agreement or other formally imposed specification.” Detailed requirements should be gathered, and elicited, in order to provide the basis for defining the project scope.

    37%: Failed projects in 2016 cited “inaccurate requirements gathering” as a primary cause (PMI Pulse of the Profession 2016).

    47%: of unsuccessful projects fail to meet goals due to poor requirements management (PMI Requirements Gathering 2014).

    4th: highest correlation to high IT performance is requirements gathering (Info-Tech CIO Business Survey).

    Well-executed requirements gathering results in:

    • Consistent approach from project to project, resulting in more predictable outcomes.
    • Solutions that meet the business need on the surface and under the hood.
    • Reduced risk for fast-track projects by establishing a right-sized approach.
    • Requirements team that can drive process improvement and improved execution.
    • Confidence when exploring solution alternatives.

    Poorly executed requirements gathering results in:

    • IT receiving the blame for any project shortcomings or failures.
    • Business needs getting lost in the translation between the initial request and final output.
    • Inadequate solutions or cost overruns and dissatisfaction with IT.
    • IT losing its credibility as stakeholders do not see the value and work around the process.
    • Late projects that tie up IT resources longer than planned, and cost overruns that come out of the IT budget.
    • Inconsistent project execution, leading to inconsistent outcomes.

    Conduct requirements gathering

    Stakeholder requirements explain what is needed. Functional requirements explain how this will be achieved. Together, requirements define how users will interact with the product or service. The level of detail must be sufficient to cover each action that a user must take to complete required tasks.

    Info-Tech Insight

    During requirements gathering, periodically validate with stakeholders that you understand their expectations. This will help you catch and address misaligned expectations earlier.

    Requirement types: Definitions & examples

    Type

    Definition

    Example

    Business

    • Objectives that projects will achieve
    • Needs of the business at an enterprise level; not for specific stakeholders or groups
    • Provide better customer service and significant cost savings for business banking call centers

    Stakeholder (Use Case)

    • What the user needs to do
    • Define the interaction of the user with the system
    • Customer service reps (CSRs) need to look up previous customer interactions

    Functional

    • How the user will do the work
    • Define specific steps to achieve the task defined in the use case
    • CSRs will access a customer database, retrieve a list of past transactions, and view a report that lists customer account details and all previous touchpoints

    Technical

    • Constraints under which the system must operate
    • Such as capacity, performance, security, availability, data architecture
    • Customer lookup must work on a Windows operating system
    • Customer lookup must work with existing database architecture / implementation

    A screenshot of Info-Tech's Build a Strong Approach to Business Requirements Gathering is shown.

    For further discussion, use Info-Tech’s blueprint, Build a Strong Approach to Business Requirements Gathering.

    Document your process for requirements gathering

    3.2.1 Estimated Time: 20 minutes

    Review and customize section 4.2.1 “Conduct Requirements Gathering” in Info-Tech’s Project Management SOP Template.

    1. Prepare for requirements gathering and elicitation.
      1. Review the project charter and high-level solution
      2. Conduct an interview with the project sponsor to clarify project context
      3. Identify stakeholders to be contacted
    2. List the options for elicitation techniques, and guidelines and/or procedures for each technique.
    3. Analyze and validate the requirements.
      1. Validate: is the requirement complete? Clear? etc.
      2. Categorize: business, stakeholder, functional, technical, etc.
      3. Prioritize: must have, should have, could have, and won’t have
    4. Document the validated requirements into a Requirements Traceability Matrix, inside the Scope Statement Template.

    Elicitation Technique

    Types

    Observation

    Casual, Formal

    Document review

    Business rules, terminology, policy, legacy system manuals, historical projects

    Surveys

    Closed-response, open-response

    Interviews

    Structured one-on-one, unstructured one-on-one, focus groups

    Use Info-Tech’s blueprint, Build a Strong Approach to Business Requirements Gathering, to create a solid requirements gathering process.

    Distill your requirements into a scope statement

    Requirements are about the what and the how. Scope specifies the features of the product or service – what is in and what is out.

    Type

    Requirements

    Scope

    Audience

    • Project Management Team
    • Business Analysts
    • Design Team
    • Developers
    • Business stakeholders
      • Governing body
      • Senior management
      • User groups

    Content

    • Define the interaction of the user with the system
    • Provide common understanding of the features of the product or service
    • Define what’s included and what’s excluded

    Inputs

    • Business Case / Project Charter
    • Requirements Gathering
    • Statement of Work / Project Charter
    • Requirements Document

    Output

  • Requirements Document
    • Scope Statement

    Download Info-Tech’s Scope Statement Template.

    The Scope Statement Template includes:

    • Scope description (features, how it interfaces with other solution components, dependencies).
    • Exclusions (what is not part of scope).
    • Deliverables (product outputs, documentation).
    • Acceptance criteria (what metrics must be satisfied for the deliverable to be accepted).
    • Constraints and assumptions (any major factors that could limit project team during execution).
    • Change control guidelines (criteria for change request escalation; who will request be escalated to – steering committee, change control board, or sponsor; when can the decision be made by the project manager).

    Document your process to draft a scope statement

    3.2.2 Estimated Time: 20 minutes

    Customize section 4.2.2 “Draft a Scope Statement”in Info-Tech’s Project Management SOP Template.

    1. Based on the requirements, draw a scope diagram that describes all the features of the product or service, and how they connect to each other (examples to the right).
    2. Based on the scope diagram, write down features of the product or services, as well as dependencies with other interfaces.
    3. Write down exclusions to guard against scope creep.
    4. Describe project deliverables and high-level acceptance criteria.
      1. Will this scope provide a common understanding for all stakeholders, including those outside of IT, as to what the project will accomplish and what it excludes?
      2. Should any detail be added to prevent scope creep later?
    5. Consider the constraints and assumptions, and identify the impact of each assumption/constraint changing.
    An example of a scope diagram is shown.

    "Defining the scope takes a lot of business knowledge. That is the main challenge that makes it initially difficult. You need IT folks with business knowledge."

    —Juan Riesgo, EMEA SAP Service Delivery Manager, El Dupont De Nemours and Company

    Document your process to create a work breakdown structure

    3.2.3 Estimated Time: 20 minutes

    PMBOK defines work breakdown structure (WBS) as “a hierarchical decomposition of the total scope of work to be carried out by the project team to accomplish the project objectives and create the required deliverables.” WBS divides project deliverables and work into smaller, more manageable components, which can be more easily estimated for time and cost. This provides the basis for schedule and cost management. WBS, its associated dictionary (a document to provide detailed descriptions of each WBS item), and the scope statement form the project scope baseline.

    Review and customize section 4.2.3 “Create a Work Breakdown Structure” in Info-Tech’s Project Management SOP Template.

    1. Review the criteria for a task, i.e. point at which no further breakdown is required: e.g. 2 weeks of time, $10,000 budget, or a single component of a deliverable.
    2. Specify the required information for each WBS task in the WBS dictionary: e.g. description of work, responsible organization, assumptions and constraints.
    3. Prescribe a validation method for WBS: e.g. obtain sign-off from the project sponsor.
    4. Prescribe requirements for reviewing the WBS: e.g. every two weeks before weekly status report.

    Level 0

    Project

    Level 1

    Phase 1

    Phase 2

    Level 2

    Step 1

    Step 2

    Step 3

    Step 4

    Level 3

    Tasks a, b, c..

    Tasks d, e, f..

    Tasks g, h, i..

    Tasks j, k, l..

    Info-Tech Insight

    There’s more than one way to skin a turnip, or in our case, break down a project into phases and tasks. Choose one that yields tasks with the most easily identifiable or quantifiable schedule, cost, or deliverable.

    Create a project schedule from the WBS

    The project schedule includes project tasks estimated for effort/duration and organized in sequence, and a schedule of milestones. Benefits of having a project schedule:

    • A comprehensive schedule will make things easier during project execution.
    • Decomposing and sequencing work will make it easier to estimate costs more accurately for the budget based on time and resource estimations for each activity.
    • The schedule is used as a baseline from which to monitor and control project progress and success.

    How to create a project schedule

    1. Using WBS tasks, compile a list of activities and milestones.
    2. Sequence the activities based on their dependencies.
    3. Estimate the resources and duration required to perform each task in the WBS.
    4. Based on the task sequences and the required resources/time, develop the project schedule.
    5. Analyze the project schedule and adjust the schedule as necessary.

    Sequence Tasks

    The sequence of tasks is based on dependencies:

    • Mandatory – e.g. quality review must occur before progressing to next phase.
    • Discretionary – e.g. sponsor must sign off on prototype before it can be tested.
    • External – e.g. business must complete software purchase agreement with vendor before development can begin.

    Estimate Resources and Duration

    • Estimate the resources required to complete each task.
    • Base duration of task on the availability of necessary skilled resources.
    • Consider constraints and assumptions from the scope statement, such as contract obligations.
    • Include contingency time in the estimates.

    Analysis of Project Schedule

    • Critical path method (CPM) determines the earliest project finish time, and the amount of time a task or an activity may be delayed without delaying the entire project.
    • Critical chain scheduling (CCS) takes into account scarcity of resources needed to complete the project.
    • Program evaluation and review technique (PERT) takes into account scheduling uncertainty.

    Document your process to create a time management plan

    3.2.4 Estimated Time: 20 minutes

    • Milestones are useful for easily identifying if the project is on track. Choose them in such a way that it emphasizes important events or accomplishments on projects. Milestones should be SMART: specific, measurable, assignable, realistic, and time-framed.
    • It is a good practice to add a buffer in scheduling estimates. Normally, add 10-15% buffer to hours and resources. For a high-risk engagement, this buffer can increase.
    • In addition to the Gantt chart tool Info-Tech provides, many software tools are available to aid project managers with time management. Consider codifying their use in the Project Management SOP.

    Components of a time management plan

    • Summary of time management approach
    • Roles and responsibilities for the schedule
    • Performance measurement
    • Response plan for schedule variance
    • Reporting procedures
    • Activity duration estimates
    • Project schedule & milestones

    Review and customize section 4.2.4 “Create a Time Management Plan” in Info-Tech’s Project Management SOP Template.

    1. Review the time management processes within your organization. This includes the schedule governance structure, rules of performance measurement, required level of precision and accuracy, control thresholds, and schedule reporting format.
    2. Prescribe acceptable scheduling methods, and the requirements for supporting information for each project level: e.g. PERT analysis for all level 3 projects.
    3. For each project level, prescribe required sections and levels of detail for the time management plan document.
    4. Codify standardized processes: e.g. resource breakdown structures to accompany the time management plan in all level 3 projects.
    5. Add a step for obtaining an approval from the governing body. This forms the project schedule baseline.

    For a more in-depth discussion, consult PMBOK’s section on project time management.

    Document your process to create a cost management plan

    3.2.5 Estimated Time: 20 minutes

    A cost management plan establishes the policies, procedures, and documentation for planning, managing, expending, and controlling project costs. The plan should also contain an estimate of costs and a budget. The scope and schedule baselines should provide a basis for estimating costs and determining budget. For example, costs can be estimated for each individual task and summed up for each phase and sub-phase (bottom-up estimating), and schedules dictate the personnel costs. Improve the cost management plan by considering worst- and best-case scenarios and incorporating the uncertainty into the response plan for cost variance.

    Components of a cost management plan

    • Summary of cost management approach
    • Roles and responsibilities for the budget
    • Project cost measurement
    • Response plan for cost variance
    • Reporting procedures
    • Cost estimate by task
    • Budget & contingency

    Review and customize section 4.2.5 “Create a Cost Management Plan” in Info-Tech’s Project Management SOP Template.

    1. Review the budget management process within your organization. This includes the budget governance structure, distribution of budgetary authority, required level of precision and accuracy, control thresholds, and cost reporting format.
    2. Prescribe acceptable methods of cost estimation and the requirements for supporting information for each project level: e.g. three-point estimating for all level 2 WBS items.
    3. For each project level, prescribe required sections and levels of detail for the cost management plan document.
    4. Codify standardized processes: e.g. project cost measurement and response plan for cost variance in level 2 projects.
    5. Add a step for obtaining an approval from the governing body. This forms the project cost baseline.

    For a more in-depth discussion, consult PMBOK’s section on project cost management.

    Document your process to create a staffing plan

    3.2.6 Estimated Time: 20 minutes

    The staffing plan should facilitate the acquisition of the best team and resources for the project. Best practice calls for spending time evaluating needs before making staffing requests. Consider the following needed factors when building the staffing plan:

    • Role
    • Seniority level
    • Competencies
    • Experience level
    • Similar project experience
    • Industry knowledge

    Review and customize section 4.2.6 “Create a Staffing Plan” in Info-Tech’s Project Management SOP Template.

    1. Identify skills requirements. What skills, competencies, and experience do you need? Are they available internally? When do you need them?
    2. Compile an inventory of skills available in the organization. What skills, competencies, and experience do you have? When are they available? Where are they located?
    3. Identify any gaps. What skills are you currently missing? When are resources not available when required?
    4. Create an acquisition plan. How will you acquire the resources? Where are the resources located?

    Download Info-Tech’s Project Staffing Plan to create your staffing plan.

    A screenshot of Info-Tech's Project Staffing Plan.

    It is likely that ideal resources will not be available for every role. Prepare to get flexible.

    • If a less skilled resource is available, can they be mentored by someone more experienced?
    • It may be better to place a less experienced resource on the team with 100% availability, than an experienced resource who is only available 20% of the time.

    Communicate with your project stakeholders

    Correct messaging can build bridges, tear down barriers, soften opposition, and bolster support.

    Think about what information each stakeholder needs to feel comfortable with the state of the project and its progress. The method, frequency, and content of communication will change depending on the stakeholder involved. Regardless of project complexity, don’t overwhelm stakeholders with information that is not relevant to them.

    Gain buy-in

    • Gain buy-in of supporters so they can help get other people on board with initiatives.
    • When implementing changes, facilitate a smooth transition for stakeholders whose roles and duties will be affected.
    • When seeking decisions or approvals, frame the request from the perspective of “what’s in it for my stakeholder?”

    Keep informed

    • Keep stakeholders engaged in the project with regular status updates.
    • Update stakeholders frequently to build their understanding.
    • Update stakeholders on good and bad performance results.
    • Incorporate key metrics to show progress and relevance.

    Develop relationships

    • Give before you take – in this case, your attention. Listen to and address stakeholder questions and concerns before offering your own opinions.
    • Use the information gathered during requirements gathering to better understand stakeholder needs and to drive better decisions.

    "We tend to use a lot of jargon in our discussions, and that is a sure fire way to turn people away. We realized the message wasn’t getting out because the audience wasn’t speaking the same language. You have to take it down to the next level and help them understand where the needs are."

    —Jeremy Clement, Director of Finance, College of Charleston

    Info-Tech Insight

    IT and the business speak different languages. The business may not have the patience to try to understand IT, so it is up to IT to learn and use the language of business. Failing to put messages into language that resonates with the business will incur apathy, disengagement, resistance, and distrust.

    Engage your project stakeholders

    Tailoring your stakeholder engagement is shaped by knowing who each stakeholder is, what they’re like, and what impact the project will have on them.

    Tailor your approach to stakeholder management according to the priority, style, and preference of each stakeholder. This does not mean that each stakeholder must be treated separately, but rather that each stakeholder must be treated in a way that is effective for them.

    Engagement strategies

    Type

    Actions

    Players

    High influence

    High interest

    Keep them updated on the progress of the project. Get them involved by highlighting risks and asking them for intervention.

    Mediators

    Low influence

    Low interest

    They can be game-changers in groups of stakeholders. Turn them into supporters by gaining their confidence and trust, and include them in important decision-making steps. In turn, they can help you influence other stakeholders.

    Noisemakers

    High influence

    Low interest

    Try to increase their influence (or, if they are detractors, decrease it) by providing them with key information, supporting them in meetings, and using Mediators to help them.

    Spectators

    Low influence

    Low interest

    They are followers. Keep them in the loop by providing clarity on objectives and status updates.

    Engagement logistics

    Type

    Options

    Frequency & timing

    • Frequency & timing
    • Short, medium, or long term?

    Medium

    • In person (individual, group, meetings, workshops, town hall)
    • Electronic (email, presentation, website)
    • Paper (memo, deck)

    Level of involvement

    • Inform (all)
    • Consult (players, mediators)
    • Involve (all)
    • Collaborate (players, mediators, noisemakers)
    • Empower (players take ownership)

    Download Info-Tech’s Project Stakeholder and Impact Assessment Tool.

    Large projects require organizational change management

    Organizational change management (OCM) governs the introduction of new business process and technologies to ensure stakeholder adoption. The purpose of OCM is to prepare the business to accept the change. OCM is a separate body of knowledge. However, as a practice, it is inseparable from project management.

    "Project management is the department of change."

    —Lindsay Scott, Director, Arras People

    In IT, project planning tends to fixate on technology and underestimates the behavioral and cultural factors that inhibit user adoption. Whether change is project-specific or continuous, it’s more important to instill the desire to change than to apply specific tools and techniques. Accountability for instilling this desire should start with the project sponsor. The project manager should support this with effective stakeholder and communication management plans.

    16%: of projects with poor change management met or exceeded objectives, while…

    95%: of projects with excellent change management met or exceeded objectives (Prosci, 2009).

    650%: return on investment (ROI) are reported for large projects with excellent OCM practices (Changefirst, 2010).

    Screenshot of Info-Tech's Drive Organizational Change from the PMO blueprint is shown.

    For further discussion on organizational change, use Info-Tech’s blueprint, Drive Organizational Change from the PMO.

    Determine the relevant considerations for analyzing the impact of change brought on by the project

    3.2.7 Project Stakeholder and Impact Assessment Tool

    Use the survey on tab 5 of the assessment tool to determine the dimensions of change that are relevant.

    The impact analysis is fueled by the thirteen-question survey on tab 5 of the tool. This survey addresses a comprehensive assortment of change dimensions, ranging from customer-facing considerations, to employee concerns, to resourcing, logistical, and technological questions. Once you have determined the dimensions that are impacted by the change, you can go on to assess how individual stakeholders and stakeholder groups are affected by the change.

    "A new system will impact roles, responsibilities, and how business is conducted within an organization. A clear understanding of the impact of change allows the business to design a plan and address the different levels of changes accordingly. This approach creates user acceptance and buy-in."

    —January Paulk, Panorama Consulting

    A screenshot of Info-Tech's Project Stakeholder and Impact Assessment Tool Tab 5 is shown.

    Screenshot of tab “5. Impact Survey,” showing the 13-question survey that drives the impact analysis. Ideally, the survey should be performed by a group of project stakeholders together. Use the drop-down lists in column K to record your responses.

    Determine the depth of each impact for each stakeholder group

    3.2.7 Project Stakeholder and Impact Assessment Tool

    Tab “6. Impact Analysis” of the assessment tool contains the meat of the impact analysis activity.

    1. The “Impact Analysis” tab is made up of 13 change impact tables (see the next slide for a screenshot of one of these tables).
      • You may not need to use all 13 tables. The number of tables you use coincides with the number of “yes” responses you gave in the previous tab.
    2. Use one table per change impact. Use the drop-down lists in column C to go through each of your “yes” responses in turn.
      • The “Impact Details” boxes in these same rows can be used to provide organizational specifics for each of the impacts being analyzed.
    3. Analyze how each impact will affect each stakeholder or stakeholder group touched by the project.
      • The drop-down lists in column B will auto-populate with the stakeholder groups from the “Set Up” tab.
      • Brainstorm the specifics of each impact for each stakeholder group in column C.
    4. Use the drop-down lists in columns D, E, and F to rate the frequency of each impact, the actions necessitated by each impact, and the anticipated response of each stakeholder group.
      • Each of the options in these drop-down lists is tied to a ranking table that informs the ratings on the two subsequent tabs.

    See the next slide for an accompanying screenshot of a change impact table from tab 6 of the assessment tool.

    Screenshot of the “Impact Analysis” tab

    3.2.7 Project Stakeholder and Impact Assessment Tool

    A screenshot of the Project Stakeholder and Impact Assessment Tool, the Impact Analysis Tab is shown.

    Your “yes” responses from the survey tab fuel the drop-down lists in the cells to the right of the “Change Impact” cells.

    The stakeholder groups entered on the “Set Up” tab can be selected in the drop-down lists in this column.

    Use the drop-down lists in this column to select how often the impact will be felt for each group (e.g. daily, weekly, periodically, one time, or never).

    “Actions” include “change to core job duties,” “change to how time is spent,” “confirm awareness of change,” etc.

    Use the drop-down lists to hypothesize what the stakeholder response might be. For now, for the purpose of the impact analysis, a guess is fine. We will come back to build a communications plan.

    Review your overall impact rating to help assess the likelihood of change adoption

    3.2.7 Project Stakeholder and Impact Assessment Tool

    Based on your assessment of each individual impact, the assessment tool will provide you with an “Overall Impact Rating” in tab 7.

    • This rating is an aggregate of each of the individual change impact tables used during the analysis, and the rankings assigned to each stakeholder group across the frequency, required actions, and anticipated response columns.

    A screenshot of the Project Stakeholder and Impact Assessment Tool, Tab 7 is shown.

    Projects in the red should have maximum change governance, applying a full suite of stakeholder management tools and templates, as well as revisiting the impact analysis exercise regularly to help monitor progress. Increased communication and training efforts, as well as cross-functional partnerships, will also be key for success.

    Projects in the yellow also require a high level of change governance. Pay close attention to the stakeholder engagement activities in the planning steps to help sway resistors and leverage change champions.

    To free up resources for those initiatives that require more discipline, projects in green can ease up in their efforts somewhat. With a high likelihood of adoption as is, stakeholder engagement and communication efforts can be partially minimized for these projects, so long as the PMO is in regular contact with key stakeholders.

    Establish a game plan to manage individual change impact

    3.2.7 Project Stakeholder and Impact Assessment Tool

    The final tab of the assessment tool can be used to help track and monitor individual impact.

    • Use the “Impact & Communications Plan” on tab 8 to come up with a high-level game plan for managing individual impacts based on the likelihood of adoption scores for each one.
    • Assign staff to monitor each impact. In most cases, the PM of the project will monitor all impacts, but in some cases – depending on the size of the project or the politics surrounding the impact – you may need to pull in other IT/PMO staff.

    A screenshot of the Project Stakeholder and Impact Assessment Tool, Tab 8 is shown.

    The “Change Impacts” column will pre-populate based on tab 4.

    Similarly, the “Adoption Likelihood” column will pre-populate based on your analysis of the individual impacts.

    Use the drop-down lists in column E to choose from the IT/PMO staff you entered in tab 2. Make someone accountable for monitoring individual impacts.

    Document steps being taken by PMO/IT staff to improve or leverage outcomes based on these adoption rankings. Also, schedule dates to revisit these rankings to ensure they do not fall off the radar.

    Document your process to manage stakeholders

    3.2.7 Estimated Time: 20 minutes

    Review and customize section 4.2.7 “Create a Stakeholder Management Plan” in Info-Tech’s Project Management SOP Template.

    1. Formalize revisiting the initial stakeholder analysis done at the initiation phase. With added clarity on the project baseline, stakeholders may have come into – or gone out of – the picture.
    2. Document your process for impact assessment. Info-Tech recommends using the Project Stakeholder and Impact Assessment Tool for a rigorous assessment; however, such rigor may require a higher project management discipline in your organization. In its place, discuss the following points:
      1. How will the PM assess the likelihood of project outcome adoption?
      2. To what extent will level 2 and level 3 projects require the impact analysis?
    3. Determine the trigger for organizational change management: e.g. all level 3 projects, level 2 & 3 projects with critical non-adoption rating, etc.
    4. Determine a regular interval at which stakeholder register and impact assessment results will be maintained for each project level.
    Screenshot of Info-Tech's Manage Stakeholder Relations blueprint is shown.

    For further discussion on stakeholder management, use Info-Tech’s blueprint, Manage Stakeholder Relations.

    Planning for project communication must address creation, flow, deposition, and security of project information

    A good communication management plan is like the oil that keeps moving parts going. Ensuring smooth information flow is a fundamental aspect of project management.

    Project communication management is more than keeping track of stakeholder requirements. A communication management plan must address timely and appropriate creation, flow, and deposition of information about the project – as well as the security of the information.

    Create: In addition to standardized status reporting elements discussed for level 1 projects, level 2 and 3 projects may require additional information to be disseminated among key stakeholders and the PMO.

    Flow: The plan must address the methods of communication. Distributed project teams require more careful planning, as they pose additional communication challenges.

    Deposit: As the volume of information continues to grow exponentially, retrieving information becomes a challenge. The plan for depositing project information must be consistent with your organization’s content management policies.

    Security: Preventing unauthorized access and information leaks is important for projects that are intended to provide the organization with a competitive edge or for projects that deal with confidential data.

    45%: … of organizations had established mature communications and engagement processes (PwC 2014 Global PPM Survey).

    Document your process to manage communications

    3.2.8 Estimated Time: 20 minutes

    Review and customize section 4.2.8 “Create a Communication Management Plan” in Info-Tech’s Project Management SOP Template.

    In the SOP, spend effort on codifying the roles and responsibilities, minimum requirements for status reporting, and provisioning of communications methods used by project teams and stakeholders.

    1. Determine the contents and the audience of project status reports for level 2 and 3 projects (see next slide). Different level of details and frequency of updates may be appropriate for project sponsor, key stakeholders, project team, and general stakeholders.
    2. Determine how communication flow will be documented in the planning document. Examples include frequency and timing of project meetings, status report meetings, escalation processes, procedure for hosting virtual meetings, etc.
    3. Determine how communication artifacts will be archived. Consult your organization’s content management policies.
    4. Codify the requirements for information security. Consult your organization’s and industry-specific regulations.

    Download Info-Tech’s Level 2 and 3 Communications Management Plan Template.

    A screenshot of Info-Tech's Build a Security Awareness and Training Program blueprint is shown.

    Example table of components for project status updates by project level

    Download Info-Tech’s Customer/Sponsor Project Status Meeting Template.

    Section

    Distribution & Meeting Invitees

    Meeting Objectives

    Agenda

    Required Preparation

    Tasks Completed

    Tasks to Be Completed

    Status of Deliverables

    Milestone Status

    Issues

    Risks (current & new)

    Resources

    Scope Changes

    Action Plan

    Download Info-Tech’s Project Status Report Templates (Level 2 and Level 3).

    Section

    Level 1

    Level 2

    Level 3

    Project Status Summary

    Required

    Required

    Required

    Project Status Breakdown

    Required

    Quantitative Metrics

    Required

    Required

    Required

    Progress Summary

    Required

    Required

    Deliverable Status

    Required

    Required

    Milestone Status

    Required

    Major Task Completion

    Required

    Issues

    Required

    Required

    Required

    Risk Tracking

    Required

    Quality Control

    Required

    Scope Changes

    Required

    Plan to control quality before starting project execution

    A good quality management plan ensures that deliverables meet the requirements. Completed projects that do not meet requirements are no better than failed projects.

    A quality management plan involves identifying quality metrics, identifying quality measurement methods, and setting quality control points. There’s a misconception that quality control is only done at the end of the project, but it should be integrated as part of the project management planning phase. This ensures that quality controls are in place before starting project execution. Quality control should evaluate business goals as well as technical ones.

    Consider the following:

    • Ensure that quality goals trace back to project requirements. Completed projects that do not meet requirements are no better than projects that fail.
    • Detecting minor issues early in the project can prevent major quality issues from arising later so it’s good to plan for quality control points to take place early in the project.
    • Get the business involved early and often in the quality process. This ensures that:
      • Deliverables are meeting business requirements.
      • Failure to meet quality targets becomes clear while there is still time to change the product or service to close the quality gap.

    Level 2

    Level 3

    Perform quality control and quality reporting at major checkpoints for deliverables. Determine cause of quality issues and create resolution plans.

    Perform quality control and quality reporting at major checkpoints for deliverables and at intermediate control points. Identify quality issues, determine cause, and create remedial action plans.

    Download Info-Tech’s Quality Management Workbook and track risks from project planning to execution and closing.

    Create your quality management plan

    3.2.9 Quality Management Workbook

    Tab 3

    A screenshot of Tab 3 of Info-Tech's Quality Management Workbook

    In the Quality Control Plan tab, identify for each project deliverable:

    • Quality metrics for the deliverable.
    • A measurement method for each metric.
    • The frequency with which this metric will be measured.
    • The control point for obtaining sign-off on deliverable quality.

    Tab 4

    A screenshot of Tab 4 of Info-Tech's Quality Management Workbook

    In the Quality Control Measurements tab, identify for each project deliverable and quality metric:

    • Measurement method
    • Dates to obtain the measurements
    • Targets/goals for each metric

    Planning for these measurements and recording target results will help facilitate timely testing of quality to ensure that the project is meeting its criteria for success.

    You will record actual measurements here and any deviations from the target will be reported in the Quality Control Report tab of the workbook.

    When setting metrics, consider:

    • If the metric is specific and measurable.
    • If the metric will measure the quality of this deliverable.
    • If the control point is early enough to detect quality problems before they impact schedule and budget.

    Document your process to create a quality management plan

    3.2.9 Estimated Time: 20 minutes

    Review and customize section 4.2.9 “Create a Quality Management Plan” in Info-Tech’s Project Management SOP Template.

    1. Survey existing quality management practices in the organization and adopt them as appropriate.
    2. Prescribe activities to help identify and evaluate quality metrics.
      • Interview project sponsors, SMEs
      • Brainstorm with the project team
    3. Identify ownership and responsibilities for quality assurance.
    4. Prescribe the method for establishing quality review processes and control points.
      • For medium, lower-risk projects, fewer control points will help expedite the project progress.
      • For large, high-risk projects, it may be appropriate to form a governing body dedicated to quality management.
    5. Communicate and get buy-in from the governing body for the quality management plan.

    How to plan for quality management

    For each project deliverable:

    1. Identify quality metrics. What are you going to measure?
    2. Identify quality measurement methods. How are you going to measure?
    3. Identify quality control points. When are you going to measure?

    Quality checkpoints help ensure that deliverables meet stakeholder expectations. Increase the frequency of these checkpoints for projects of greater risk and complexity.

    Info-Tech Insight

    Use Info-Tech’s Quality Management Workbook to track and manage project quality for the entire duration of the project.

    Plan for realizing benefits from the project

    Planning for what happens after the project actually allows the project to finish in scope, on time, and within budget.

    Project sponsors and stakeholders might know if projects are on time and on budget, but they do not know if projects are realizing business benefits and enabling enterprise objects. The benefits are first identified in the business case; the project is approved with the expectation that these benefits will be realized.

    Benefits realization ensures that benefits provide measurable value when the project is implemented. The process begins by identifying and understanding project benefits, and then crafting a plan to track and measure them.

    While the main responsibility of the project manager and the project team is to ensure that the project is executed successfully, the project sponsor and project manager must work with business leaders in order to achieve benefits realization.

    17%: … of organizations report a high benefits realization process maturity level (PMI Pulse of the Profession 2016).

    A double bar graph is shown that is titled: Benefits realization improves project outcome. It shows both high and low maturity and the outcomes of meeting original goals/business intent, finished on time, and finished within budget.

    Download Info-Tech’s Benefits Management Plan Template to manage the realization of project benefits.

    Create a benefit realization management plan

    3.2.10 Benefits Management Plan Template

    1. Identify and document quantitative and qualitative benefits that the project is expected to deliver.
    2. Tabs 3 and 4

      A screenshot of Tabs 3 and 4 are shown.
    3. Elaborate on the action items for realizing each benefit.
    4. Tab 5

      A screenshot of Tab 5 is shown.

      This is the most critical component of the benefits management plan. The PM can ensure that metrics are tracked and measured; actually capturing the benefits will involve stakeholders outside of the project team. In this example, the benefit of increased sales will only be realized if sales representatives are convinced to support the new CRM system and are trained to use it. The business will need to re-engineer processes to include the new CRM workflows.

    5. Create a benefits tracking and measurement plan: in order to measure benefits, we need to identify what to measure.
    6. Tab 6

      A screenshot of Tab 6 is shown.
    7. Create a benefits reporting plan. Benefits reporting ensures that key stakeholders are aware of the status of benefits realization.
    8. Tab 7

      A screenshot of Tab 6 is shown.

    Document your process to realize benefits

    3.2.10 Estimated Time: 20 minutes

    Review and customize section 4.2.10 “Create a Benefits Management Plan” in Info-Tech’s Project Management SOP Template.

    1. Survey existing benefits realization practices in the organization and adopt them as appropriate.
    2. Prescribe the required benefits management plan content by customizing the Benefits Management Plan Template.
    3. Prescribe activities to identify quantitative and qualitative benefits and how they can be measured and tracked.
      • Review project benefits in the charter with business SMEs
    4. Identify ownership and responsibilities for benefits management.
    5. Prescribe the issues to be addressed.
      • Who will be involved in carrying out benefits management after the project is completed?
      • How will benefits be communicated, and to whom?
    6. Communicate and get buy-in from the governing body for the benefits management plan.

    Level 2

    Level 3

    Document project benefits, then create a benefits realization plan that details actions that need to be taken to achieve the benefits.

    Document project benefits from the business case and prioritize according to value to the organization. Create a detailed plan for tracking and measuring the benefits and reporting results back to key stakeholders.

    A screenshot of Info-Tech's Establish the Benefits Realization Process blueprint

    For further discussion on benefits realization, use Info-Tech’s blueprint, Establish the Benefits Realization Process.

    Info-Tech Insight

    Remember that project success drives business satisfaction with IT. With benefits realization planning, deliberately translate project success into business satisfaction with IT.

    Identify, analyze, and manage risks

    No risk, no reward. Take a moment and brainstorm what could possibly go wrong, and what could possibly be done about it.

    Even an exhaustively planned project can be derailed by unforeseen risks. Create a risk management plan during the project planning phase so you will be prepared with actionable mitigation plans. Otherwise, if the project is already underway when risks manifest themselves, you may react without rationally considering all options – leading to long-term consequences.

    Level 2

    Level 3

    Identify and assess risks for probability and impact. Create risk response plans to mitigate or eliminate high-impact risks.

    Identify and evaluate all risks for impact on the project. Develop mitigation plans that reduce probability and impact, eliminate high-impact threats, and accept risks that are unavoidable.

    Areas

    Prompts to Identify Risks

    Scope

    What are opportunities/threats to defined scope?

    What are the weak assumptions?

    Stakeholder

    Who is impacted by this project?

    Time/Cost

    What are the schedule and budget constraints?

    Benefits

    What business benefits must be delivered?

    Quality

    What constitutes deliverable success?

    Info-Tech Insight

    It is important to communicate and gain buy-in for the risk management plan. Part of managing risks involves getting your stakeholders to understand the project risks and agreeing to the mitigation plans so you won’t be solely accountable in case risks do manifest during project execution.

    Download Info-Tech’s Risk Management Workbook and track risks from project planning to execution and closing.

    Create your risk register and management plan

    3.2.11 Risk Management Workbook, Tab 4: “Risk Register and Plan”

    1. Identify, rate, and evaluate risk items.
    2. Screenshot of Tab 4 of the Risk Management Workbook.
      • What is it that you are working to avoid, decrease the impact of, or reduce the likelihood of occurring?
      • What are the triggers, sources, or circumstances for the risk item?
      • Potential impact and consequence of the risk item.
      • Risk rating, based on probability (P) and impact (I).
      • Are existing mitigations adequate?
    3. Develop a plan for each risk item.
    4. Screenshot of Tab 4 of the Risk Management Workbook.

    Impact of risk if it occurs

    Mitigate risk

    Avoid or eliminate the threat if possible

    Transfer to a third party or vendor

    Accept the risk

    Probability of risk occurring

    Document your process to create a risk management plan

    3.2.11 Estimated Time: 20 minutes

    Review and customize section 4.2.11 “Create a Risk Management Plan” in Info-Tech’s Project Management SOP Template.

    1. Survey the organization’s overall attitude to risk: are you risk-averse, risk-neutral, or risk-tolerant?
    2. Survey existing risk management practices in the organization and adopt them as appropriate.
    3. Prescribe the required risk register content by customizing the Risk Management Workbook.
    4. Prescribe activities to help identify and evaluate project risk events.
      • Interviewing project sponsors, SMEs
      • Brainstorm sessions with the project team
    5. Identify ownership and responsibilities for risk management.
    6. Prescribe the criteria for choosing action against risk items.
      • What is the impact threshold level for accepting/transferring the risk vs. avoiding/mitigating it?
      • What is the probability threshold level for accepting/avoiding the risk vs. mitigating/transferring it?
    7. Communicate and get buy-in from the governing body for the risk management plan.

    How to plan for risk management

    1. Identify project risk items.
    2. Describe each risk item’s cause and impact.
    3. Evaluate risk items by prioritizing from most to least critical, based on probability and impact of the risk item.
    4. Develop a mitigation plan and assign a potential owner for each risk item.
    A screenshot of Info-Tech's Build a Business-Driven IT Risk Management Program blueprint is shown.

    For further discussion on risk, use Info-Tech’s blueprint, Build a Business-Driven IT Risk Management Program.

    Standardized, tiered project management processes produce measurable benefits

    CASE STUDY

    Industry: Consulting / Engineering

    Source: Laporte et al. ISO Focus+ February 2013

    Challenge

    A division of a consulting / engineering firm has 500 employees across 10 offices. As a relatively new entity, it had no efficient tools or project management processes suited to managing small-scale projects. The challenge of handling multiple small-scale, fast-moving projects allowed little room for unwieldy management processes, but still required an efficient and straightforward monitoring process.

    Solution

    The central element of the solution was the development of processes and tools such as checklists and evaluation forms. Five checklists were developed:

    • Small-project management process
    • Medium-project management process
    • Major-project management process
    • Drafting of service proposals
    • Detailed project planning

    Checking the solutions in the context of a real-life project helped verify that the proposed solutions were consistent, achievable, and comprehensive.

    Results

    The tools developed to support the project management processes proved very useful and helped the project managers rapidly integrate the knowledge required to execute the processes. Some project managers have joined forces to promote project management practices within this engineering firm’s division. Anticipated costs and benefits over a period of three years were estimated to be $159,800 and $785,500 respectively, providing a 492% return on investment.

    If you want additional support, have our analysts guide you through this phase as part of an Info-Tech workshop

    Book a workshop with our Info-Tech analysts:

    • To accelerate this project, engage your IT team in an Info-Tech workshop with an Info-Tech analyst team.
    • Info-Tech analysts will join you and your team onsite at your location or welcome you to Info-Tech’s historic Toronto office to participate in an innovative onsite workshop.
    • Contact your account manager (www.infotech.com/account), or email Workshops@InfoTech.com for more information.

    The following are sample activities that will be conducted by Info-Tech analysts with your team:

    3.1.1-3.1.6

    Screenshots of activities 3.1.1-3.16 are shown.

    Tailor project initiation processes for your level 2 & 3 projects

    Adapt Info-Tech’s best practices on project initiation: collecting project context, identifying key stakeholders, setting appropriate project governance, creating project charter, holding kick-off meetings.

    3.2.1-3.2.11

    Screenshots of activities 3.2.1-3.2.11

    Tailor project planning processes for your level 2 & 3 projects

    Adapt Info-Tech’s best practices on project planning: drafting a scope statement, establishing project baselines, creating a staffing plan, assessing stakeholder impact, creating a communications management plan, creating quality, benefits, and risk management plans.

    Phase 4

    Develop Execution and Closing Procedures for Medium-to-Large Projects

    Phase 4 outline

    Call 1-888-670-8889 or email GuidedImplementations@InfoTech.com for more information.

    Complete these steps on your own, or call us to complete a guided implementation. A guided implementation is a series of 2-3 advisory calls that help you execute each phase of a project. They are included in most advisory memberships.

    Guided Implementation 4: Develop execution and closing procedures for medium-to-large projects

    Proposed Time to Completion (in weeks): 1-3 weeks

    Step 4.1: Create execution processes

    Work with an analyst to:

    • Evaluate your current project execution processes
    • Learn about Info-Tech’s recommended best practices on project execution

    Then complete these activities…

    • Review and customize the project initiation section of the Project Management SOP
    • Review and customize the artifact templates to drive the project initiation processes

    With these tools & templates:

    • Project Management SOP Template (Chapter 4.3)
    • Project Team Meeting Agenda Template
    • Project Change Request Form Templates
    • Recommendation and Decision Tracking Log Template

    Step 4.2: Create closing processes

    Review findings with analyst:

    • Evaluate your current project closing processes
    • Learn about Info-Tech’s recommended best practices on project closing

    Then complete these activities…

    • Review and customize the project initiation section of the Project Management SOP
    • Review and customize the artifact templates to drive the project initiation processes

    With these tools & templates:

    • Project Management SOP Template (Chapter 4.4)
    • Deliverable Acceptance Form Template
    • Handover to Operations Template
    • Post-Mortem Review Template
    • Final Sign-Off and Acceptance Form Template

    Step 4.1: Build controls to mitigate project risks and manage scope throughout the execution phase

    Phase 4: Develop execution and closing procedures for medium-to-large projects

    4.1: Create execution processes

    4.1: Create closing processes

    This step will walk you through the following activities:

    • Hold a project team kick-off meeting
    • Manage your project team
    • Engage your stakeholders
    • Report project status
    • Manage project change requests
    • Control quality of project outcome
    • Control and resolve risks

    This step involves the following participants:

    • Project Managers
    • Business Analysts
    • PMO Director
    • Project Sponsors
    • Business Unit Owners
    • Other IT staff

    Outcomes of this step

    • Steps for executing medium-to-large projects are tailored to your organization’s needs and culture.
    • These steps form a standardized protocol for project execution that can be applied to medium-to-large scale projects.
    • A comprehensive set of tools and templates is prepared for executing your large-scale projects.
    • Simplified versions of the above tools and templates are available as alternatives for executing your medium-scale projects.

    Hold a project team kick-off meeting

    4.1.1 Estimated Time: 15 minutes

    Review and customize section 4.3.1 “Hold Team Kick-Off Meeting” in Info-Tech’s Project Management SOP Template.

    In many projects, the people who plan the project are not the same people who execute the project. In these cases, there needs to be a kick-off meeting to get the project team up to speed on the project plan. To ensure the project objective and vision are conveyed clearly, the team kick-off meeting acts as a necessary platform to pass on power, knowledge, and personnel. Depending on the size and complexity of the project, the project manager may need to hold multiple meetings.

    • One-on-one meeting with key individuals.
    • Group meetings based on operation functions.

    The team kick-off meeting helps to create a cohesive, open, team environment that encourages discussion of quality and risk management.

    How to hold a team kick-off meeting

    1. Gather the project planning and project execution team members.
    2. Clearly establish project objectives and success factors, and delegate responsibility based on work expertise and workload.
    3. Inform team members of the importance and influence of different stakeholders, as well as the appropriate method to manage stakeholders based on their matrix designation.
    4. Create communication protocol on how information is transmitted. The protocol should include who is responsible for maintaining and monitoring stakeholder communication, and the frequency and format of the communication plan.

    Manage your project team

    4.1.2 Estimated Time: 15 minutes

    Review and customize section 4.3.2 “Acquire and Manage Project Team” in Info-Tech’s Project Management SOP Template.

    It is the project manager’s job to help the team focus on top priority tasks. The project manager can increase project success by:

    • Encouraging communication and keeping team members up to date on any project changes.
    • Providing regular performance feedback and evaluations.
    • Arranging necessary training.
    • Resolving internal issues and challenges.
    • Monitoring team morale to ensure the project team understands and is committed to the project objectives.
    • Asking project team members about their objectives and what they hope to achieve out of the project outcomes.

    How to manage a project team

    1. Refer to the staffing plan created during the planning phase.
    2. Obtain team buy-in for what the project is about.
    3. Hold regular and frequent status meetings with the project team. In addition to managing project tasks, use these meetings to resolve project or team issues and address any resource changes.
    4. Establish clear tasks and activities for each project team member so they know what needs to be accomplished. Tell them how progress will be measured so they know the project tasks are done as needed.
    5. Create a platform for accessing resources. For example, establish files on SharePoint and let the team know where the documents are. Get this administrative setup completed at the beginning.

    Promote team success and maintain project focus through frequent status meetings

    4.1.2 Project Team Meeting Agenda Template

    Download Info-Tech’s Project Team Meeting Agenda Template and set a meeting agenda for your project team.

    Project team meetings should be frequent. If co-location/web-conferencing allows, a brief daily meeting to review task status and blockers will help keep the team consistently informed of who should be doing what. Checking in frequently serves a few key purposes:

    • Maintains communication among team members.
    • Allows external communication to be heard by entire project team at the same time.
    • Catches any issues or blockers early.
    • Shares information to solve problems together.

    A formal extended project team meeting should be held weekly. During the meetings, focus on current tasks, blockers, gaps in resourcing, and other schedule inputs.

    A screenshot of Info-Tech's Project Team Meeting Agenda Template.

    Address project team dynamic challenges

    Scenario

    How to mitigate and/or resolve

    Team members do not get along

    Determine the source of the conflict by encouraging open communication with the team. If people feel uncomfortable with a particular team member, hold a social event to help break the ice. If someone is under-performing or not pulling their weight, address the issue directly and quickly before the problem gets bigger.

    Team members do not work well together

    Create tasks where team members need to work together to achieve a result. Make sure you leverage each person’s strengths, both technical and inter-personal. Encourage collaborative problem solving and decision making.

    Team members given too much or not enough responsibility

    Know your team and what they are capable of – don’t overwhelm someone with too much responsibility. For those that are able to take on more, delegate some leadership responsibilities.

    Team members do not feel motivated

    Challenge team members with stretch goals that contribute directly to project results and success. Make sure that the team understands the value of what they are doing and how it contributes to the project as a whole. Also, have fun – make it an enjoyable workplace.

    Team members feel under-appreciated or under-valued

    Recognize superior performance, consistently and frequently. Establish a recognition and rewards program that is meaningful and is supported by senior management, including the sponsor. Most people feel pride in achievement and will respond well to recognition.

    Address project team resourcing challenges

    Scenario

    How to mitigate and/or resolve

    Resources not available when needed

    Don’t assume everything will go smoothly with resource acquisition and availability. Make sure you have a Plan B for required resources. Establish and maintain good working relationships with vendors and contract agencies.

    Inexperienced resources assigned

    Sometimes you don’t get the resources that you asked for and are left with whoever is available at the time. Assess the skills gap – if the gap is huge, push back and wait to source an appropriate resource elsewhere. If the gap is manageable, execute your skills development plan and assign a mentor to bring the person up to speed.

    Inappropriate resources assigned

    If you ask for A and someone assigns B, then push back firmly by articulating what skills and experience levels are required. If a resource is not forthcoming, then execute your risk response plan by acquiring resources from an alternate provider.

    Resources disappear before the work is completed

    There is frequently competition for resources, even when using a vendor. If the resource is critical to your timeline and budget, escalate to the sponsor. Assess the impact of the resource shortage and present options to the steering committee.

    New resource requirement emerges that was not part of the original plan

    Assess the impact on schedule and budget. If the cost of an external resource is high, try to source a new resource internally. If an internal resource is unavailable, and/or an external resource is absolutely necessary to meet the requirements, bring the request to the project steering committee.

    Document your process for stakeholder engagement during the course of the project

    4.1.3 Estimated Time: 30 minutes

    Review and customize section 4.3.3 “Manage Stakeholders” in Info-Tech’s Project Management SOP Template.

    Controlling stakeholder engagement is about maintaining or improving the efficiency and effectiveness of stakeholder engagement as the project evolves. Periodically revisit the stakeholder impact assessment to ensure that risks of stakeholder non-adoption and resistance are mitigated. Lean on the communication management plan to bring success to stakeholder management in the course of a project. Provide stakeholders with information on project status and progress, solicit feedback, and address issues. It is important to establish tailored stakeholder management techniques and reporting requirements, so that important project information is relayed to relevant stakeholders in a consistent manner.

    Customize your SOP with the following information:

    • Requirements for stakeholder engagement (e.g. frequency of meeting, procedure for engaging business units)
    • Resources for stakeholder engagement (e.g. business analysts, organizational chart)
    • Frequency of revisiting stakeholder and impact assessment
    • Procedure for project change requests arising from stakeholder interaction
    • Requirements for documenting stakeholder engagement (e.g. issues log)

    Engage, report, and resolve: three major tasks in stakeholder engagement

    Engage: Develop trust with stakeholders by anticipating what their needs are in terms of project information. Keep them informed of relevant updates throughout the project. Build relationships with key stakeholders, understand their definition of success, and communicate in relevant, engaging words. Project manager should acknowledge existing barriers and actively seek to minimize barriers.

    Report: Communication about status and progress is primarily delivered through reports and face-to-face communication. Use the project status log and project status reports as tools to shape content of the communication. Sometimes the project manager may not be the right person to talk to a senior executive, so use the appropriate liaison. Turn key stakeholders into evangelists and give them the power and information needed so they can transmit key messages.

    Resolve: Often the project manager needs to act as a facilitator between stakeholders. The job is to get the different groups of stakeholders involved, own the process of dealing with project issues, and resolve conflicts between stakeholders in order to proceed with the project. Project managers can work through stakeholder issues by adhering to the stakeholder communication plan, involving the stakeholders and getting them working together.

    Document your process to update project status

    4.1.4 Estimated Time: 15 minutes

    Review and customize section 4.3.4 “Monitor and Report Project Status” in Info-Tech’s Project Management SOP Template.

    Project status updates can be both formal and informal. Formal status updates provide a standardized means of disseminating information on project progress. It is the lifeblood of portfolio management: accurate and up-to-date status reporting enables your portfolio manager to ensure that your project can continue to utilize the resources needed for your project. Informal status updates are done over coffee with key stakeholders to address their concerns and discuss key outcomes they want to see. Informal status updates help to build a more personal relationship. Ask for feedback during the status update meetings. Use the meeting as an opportunity to align values, goals, and incentives.

    In the SOP, codify the following considerations:

    1. Minimum requirement for a formal status update:
      • Frequency of reporting, as required by the project portfolio
      • Parties to be consulted and informed
      • Recording, producing, and archiving meeting minutes, both formal and informal
    2. Procedure for follow-up on feedback generated from status updates:
      • Filing change requests
      • Keeping the change requester / relevant stakeholders in the loop

    Manage project scope changes

    According to PriceWaterhouseCoopers’ 2014 Global PPM Survey, the number one reason for project delays was change in scope mid-project.

    Change in project scope is unpredictable and almost inevitable regardless of project size. If changes are not properly managed, the project runs the risk of scope creep and loss of progress. Therefore, changes need to be monitored and controlled. Scope change can be initiated voluntarily by the project sponsor or other stakeholders, or it could be a mandatory reaction to changing project process. Scope change may also take place due to internal factors such as a stakeholder requires more extensive insights or external factors such as changing market conditions. Scope changes have the potential to affect project outcomes either positively and negatively, depending on how the change is managed and implemented. The project manager should take care to maintain focus on the project’s ultimate objectives; consideration needs to be given as to what to do and what to give up. If changes arise, project managers should ensure that adequate resources and actions are provided so that the project can be completed on time and on budget.

    • The project manager needs to use both hard and soft skills: analytical skills for evaluating and quantifying impact of potential changes and communication skills for communicating and negotiating with stakeholders.
    • Build trust and credibility by taking an evidence-based approach when presenting changes. This gives you room to respectfully push back on certain changes.
    • Assess changes before crossing them off the list, but don’t be afraid to say no. Greater care must be taken when there is very limited budgetary freedom or when scope changes will interfere with critical path.
    • All change requests must be received by the project manager first so they can make sure that IT project resources are not approached with multiple ad hoc change requests.

    Standardize requests for scope changes

    4.1.5 Project Change Request Form Templates

    Requiring that all requests for changing project scope be formally documented using a standardized form allows you to introduce the right amount of friction for making change requests. In this context, “friction” is the level of granularity within your change request form and the demands or level of accountability your scope change process places on requestors. In both light and detailed versions of the template, the change requestor must provide the following information:

    • Description of Requested Change
    • Reason for Change
    • Expected Benefit

    The standardized form also serves as a repository to log other pertinent information about the change request:

    • Result of change assessment
    • Disposition
    • Action plan for implementing the change

    Download Info-Tech’s Project Change Request Form Templates (Light and Detailed).

    Screenshots of Info-Tech's Project Change Request Form Templates both Light and Detailed are shown.

    Document your process to manage project change requests

    4.1.5 Estimated Time: 15 minutes

    Review and customize section 4.3.5 “Assess Project Change Requests” in Info-Tech’s Project Management SOP Template.

    Initial assessment

    Major change

    Minor change

    Do in-depth assessment with project sponsor

    Implement and document change

    Escalate to governing body for approval

    1. Initial assessment

    When a request for change is made, conduct a high-level initial assessment to determine two major aspects of the change: impact and value. Using the scope statement as the reference point, consult the requestor of change to understand:

    • Why do we need the change?
    • Is the change necessary?
    • What is the business value that the change brings to the project?

    Recommend alternative solutions that are easier to implement while consulting the requestor.

    How to conduct an initial assessment

    1. First, define what the change is.
    2. Project manager then has to determine:
      1. The impact on project outcome and deliverables.
      2. The impact on project plan and timeline.
    3. Ask the following questions:
      1. Is the change within the original project baseline?
      2. Can the change be accommodated within the current schedule/cost baseline?
      3. Can the change be linked to an existing business requirement?
    4. If you can answer yes to all of the questions, classify the change as a minor change and follow the appropriate process to handle the change. If you can’t answer yes to all the questions, follow the process for a major change.

    Document your process to manage project change request

    4.1.6 Estimated Time: 15 minutes

    Review and customize section 4.3.6 “Control Minor Changes to the Project” in Info-Tech’s Project Management SOP Template.

    Initial assessment

    Major change

    Minor change

    Do in-depth assessment with project sponsor

    Implement and document change

    Escalate to governing body for approval

    2. Minor change

    If the change has been classified as minor, the project manager and the project team can tackle them directly, since it doesn’t affect project budget or schedule in a significant way. Ensure that the change is documented. Beware of the snowballing effect. Minor scope changes may initially create little impact, but the accumulation of minor scope changes could collectively result in scope creep.

    How to handle minor changes

    1. Identify dependencies. Do other project activities depend on the immediate implementation of this change? If yes, implement – if no, defer and bundle.
    2. Verify that the impact on project baselines (scope, schedule, cost) can accommodate for the change being considered (i.e. contingency).
    3. Approve the change and document it in the decision-making log. Ensure any change in scope, no matter how small, is reported, documented, and accompanied by approval of change by the project manager.
    4. Periodically review minor scope changes to confirm that the project scope is maintained.

    Info-Tech Insight

    Deferred changes should be bundled together with other related minor changes, until the PM is ready to implement them as a package. At that point, the bundle of deferred changes should be assessed again, and if necessary, treated as a major change.

    Document your process to manage project change requests

    4.1.7 Estimated Time: 30 minutes

    Review and customize section 4.3.7 “Control Major Changes to the Project” in Info-Tech’s Project Management SOP Template.

    Initial assessment

    Major change

    Minor change

    Do in-depth assessment with project sponsor

    Implement and document change

    Escalate to governing body for approval

    3. Conduct an in-depth assessment

    The project manager should bring major changes to the attention of the project sponsor and carry out a detailed assessment of the change and its impact. Additional time and resources are required to do the in-depth assessment because the impact on the project can be complex and affect requirements, resources, budget, and schedule.

    In-depth assessment questions

    1. What is the cost/benefit analysis of the change?
    2. How will the change affect time, cost, and quality?
    3. Who is funding the change in scope?
    4. Who is using the changes in scope?
    5. What is the impact on risks and mitigation plans?
    6. What is the impact on project team focus and morale?
    7. What is the impact on project budget and timeline?
    8. What are the necessary additional resources needed?
    9. Are there alternative options that could be explored in the future?

    Customize the Assessment (to be filled out by project manager) section of the Project Change Request Form Templates (Light and Detailed).

    Document your process to manage project change requests

    4.1.7 Estimated Time: 30 minutes

    Initial assessment

    Major change

    Minor change

    Do in-depth assessment with project sponsor

    Implement and document change

    Escalate to governing body for approval

    4. Obtain approval from the governing body

    After the in-depth assessment, present the results to the governing body. Since a major change significantly affects the project baseline beyond the authorized contingency, it is the responsibility of the governing body to either approve the change with allocation of additional resources, or reject the change and maintain course. Either way, the project manager’s role is to provide support for the governing body by providing the information needed to render a decision.

    Presenting to the governing body

    1. Based on the assessment, prepare to present the proposed changes to the project with options for action.
    2. Present the high-level situation and business case for the change.
    3. Explain what resources are required to complete the change: additional budget, increased timeline, new staff, etc.

    Remember that your governing body may be composed of people without technical expertise needed to understand the details of the project. Focus on the business impact and benefits, and the required resources for the change.

    Document your process to communicate scope changes

    4.1.7 Estimated Time: 30 minutes

    Review and customize section 4.3.8 “Manage Scope Change Communication” in Info-Tech’s Project Management SOP Template.

    Important changes to scope must be communicated thoroughly to the project team and to relevant stakeholders. Use the communication plan from the project planning phase to communicate with each party most effectively.

    Manage scope change communication

    • Document all scope changes and decisions in the decision-making log.
    • Communicate changes with project team members.
    • Ensure scope changes are understood by stakeholders and include scope change decisions in project status reports and project status meetings.
    • Update project documents to record changes being implemented. This may include work plan, schedule, budget, project charter, and any other documents that are affected by the revised scope. Update additional formal agreements such as contracts if necessary.

    Download Info-Tech’s Recommendation and Decision Tracking Log Templates (Light and Detailed).

    A decision log tracks all changes, the decision owner, and the change purpose. The log should be continuously updated to reflect the current stage of the project and the resolution of earlier changes.

    Purpose:

    • Establishes a repeatable process to track changes that could affect the project outcome, schedule, or budget.
    • Holds people accountable for decisions by having their name tied to a decision.

    Benefits:

    • Reduces finger pointing and confusion about why a change was made or who authorized the change.
    • When it’s a decision that requires sign-off, it gains more visibility and a lot of the nice-to-haves might disappear.

    Scope creep results in costly budget overruns in Qatar construction project

    CASE STUDY

    Industry: Government

    Source: Hussein, O. GJMBR 2012

    Challenge

    The AWQ was a Qatar government agency that had recently tripled the number of their employees. As a result, construction for new headquarter offices was approved. The AWQ received funding from the minister’s office, but after the project started, the AWQ received extra funding and decided to modify the original design plan to add one more floor. The management team negotiated with the contractor and design firm to maintain original contract price.

    Complication

    After constructing the skeleton of the building, the agency discovered that they needed to add a basement parking lot. This addition added substantial costs to the project cost. The project leader underestimated the impact of small changes adding up. There was no clear ownership of scope, resulting in a lot of finger pointing.

    Results

    The project was completed two years later than originally planned and the total cost was 40% over the original budget. The majority of overspending was the result of scope creep associated with the additional floor and the parking lot construction. An investigation was conducted to determine why the running cost greatly exceeded the budget. The project management team attributed the high cost to scope creep and absence of clear scope control procedures.

    This case study demonstrates the importance of creating a clear scope statement and the necessities of adhering to a formal change process.

    Track and report on quality

    4.1.8 Quality Management Workbook

    Tab 4

    Screenshot of Quality Management Workbook Tab 4.

    During the planning phase, metrics for quality control were identified.

    During the execution phase, make the planned measurements and record any deviations.

    Tab 5

    Screenshot of Quality Management Workbook Tab 5.

    Use the Quality Control Report tab to document deviation of quality standards. Investigate and record the cause of deviation. Quality issues that require remedial action should have a resolution date and sign-off owner.

    Tips for controlling quality of IT project outcomes

    • Produce full testing environment that replicates real environment.
    • Test real test cases that are reviewed by the business to ensure they are realistic.
    • Employ quality assistance or a checker that understands both business and IT process and the impact of scope changes on both sides (QA reviewer could be internal or external, but ideally an employee in a true assurance role).

    Document your process to control quality of project outcome

    4.1.8 Estimated Time: 15 minutes

    Review and customize section 4.3.9 “Control Quality of Project Outcome” in Info-Tech’s Project Management SOP Template.

    Strive for continuous improvement.

    • When and where issues come up during the project will create different effects. Build in checkpoints along the way and identify any defects or issues during daily meetings with the project team.
    • The project manager should attempt to find the root cause of poor quality in order to prevent repetition. Recurring problems might hinder project process because root causes are not addressed. For example, a team performing mediocrely could be due to lack of knowledge or adverse team dynamic. It is the responsibility of the PM to make sure the project team is delivering on the originally agreed upon outcomes.
    • Quality problems should be viewed as an opportunity for improvement and should not be frowned upon. All team members should be given the responsibility of governing and reporting quality in their areas of expertise.

    How to conduct quality audits:

    • Quality audits, which are conducted by the project team or an external consultant with expert knowledge, can review how the project is proceeding internally.
    • The goal of quality audits is to improve current knowledge, techniques, and process to produce and deliver higher levels of benefits.
    • An audit can include testing of existing work and review of project personnel. A quality audit can also help the project team detect inefficiency within the process or within the team. In the event of such detection, corrective action should be taken.
    • Project manager can either accept, rework, or adjust based on the outcome of the audits.

    Control and resolve risks

    Risks cannot be effectively managed if they are not communicated to project teams. Communicating risks early and frequently can help minimize risk. Consult with stakeholders and obtain their input on identifying and evaluating potential risk. Inform stakeholders of risk control implementation, as well as benefits, costs, and changes in outcome associated with the proposed control option. Continuously update team members and stakeholders on the nature of risks, the likelihood of occurrence, and in what capacity it would affect the project.

    Create a culture that embraces risk management:

    • Acknowledge that risks are inevitable within a project and use past experiences as a lesson on building improved risk management strategy.
    • Encourage people to think and discuss risks and emphasize the importance of creating a risk solution.

    Larger project risks require more attention if they will substantially impact budget, schedule, and project quality. Use an approach similar to the scope change process to share responsibility and awareness, and to escalate risks to the appropriate governance level.

    Address and resolve risks during project meetings

    • Receive updates on identified risks from risk owners.
    • Reprioritize risks as needed.
    • Review new risks.
    • Close risks that have been eliminated.
    • Free up contingency reserves allocated to eliminated risks.
    • Track implementation of response plans.
    • Evaluate effectiveness of risk management, including responses and mitigation activities.

    Track and reassess risks using Info-Tech’s Risk Management Workbook

    4.1.9 Risk Management Workbook, Tab 5: “Risk Tracking”

    1. Document the manifestation of risk and the effectiveness of the response plan.
    2. Screenshot of Risk Management Workbook Tab 5 is shown.
      • Document how the risk event manifested itself and how it impacted the project.
      • Document the execution and the outcome of the response plan, with reference to the plan from the previous tab.
    3. Reassess the risk and develop a new mitigation plan.
    4. Screenshot of Risk Management Workbook Tab 5 is shown.
      • Reassess the risk based on probability (P) and impact (I).
      • If needed, revise a new action (avoid, transfer, mitigate, or accept), the impact of the risk, and the mitigation plan. Document the revised mitigation plan.

    Use a risk response scorecard to evaluate success of the risk management plan

    Risk response scorecards can help project managers understand which step of the risk management plan resulted in failure. Before evaluating the plan, the project manager should review the risk log and look at the number of risk events and compare that with the number of risk mitigation events.

    1. How well did you predict risk events?

    • Were risks reassessed regularly to ensure that risk assumptions were still valid and accurate?
    • Were new risks identified and incorporated into the risk management plan?

    2. Was mitigation executed and tracked?

    • Were sufficient resources allocated to performing these activities?
    • Were risk owners held accountable for executing mitigation plans?
    • Were mitigation plans tracked regularly?

    3. Was the mitigation plan successful?

    • Did the mitigation activities chosen match the risk’s current impact and probability?
    • Was there frequent communication with risk owners to ensure these activities were being executed in a timely and effective manner?

    4. Was the risk response successful?

    • Was the risk responded to in as timely a manner as possible, with as little negative impact on the project as possible?
    • Were the required SMEs and stakeholders tasked and accountable for carrying out the response?

    By the end of the process, the project manager should have a definite answer to these two questions:

    • Are we managing risks in the risk log?
    • Did this risk impact the ability to deliver?

    Document your process to control and resolve risks

    4.1.10 Estimated Time: 15 minutes

    Review and customize section 4.3.10 “Control Project Risk” in Info-Tech’s Project Management SOP Template.

    • Determine the minimum frequency for reviewing project risks and the risk management plan. For large, high-risk projects, managing risks may require a dedicated staff in addition to the project manager.
    • Determine additional triggers for reviewing project risks: e.g. initiation of each major project phase, part of major change request assessments.
    • To track and reassess risks, review and customize Info-Tech’s Risk Management Workbook for your organization’s use. Alternatively, adapt your organization’s enterprise risk management framework for project risk tracking and reassessment.
    • Document the requirements for communication of project risks: e.g. part of project status update. In some cases, project risks may contain sensitive information and need additional security measures.

    Step 4.2: Create closing protocol to maximize project benefits and stakeholder satisfaction

    Phase 4: Develop execution and closing procedures for medium-to-large projects

    4.1: Create execution processes

    4.2: Create closing processes

    This step will walk you through the following activities:

    • Ensure business acceptance
    • Transition project to support
    • Conduct a project post-mortem
    • Hand over project to PMO
    • Obtain final sign-off

    This step involves the following participants:

    • Project Managers
    • Business Analysts
    • PMO Director
    • Project Sponsors
    • Business Unit Owners
    • Other relevant IT staff

    Outcomes of this step

    • Steps for closing medium-to-large projects are tailored to your organization’s needs and culture.
    • These steps form a standardized protocol for project closing that can be applied to medium-to-large projects.
    • A comprehensive set of tools and templates are prepared for closing your medium-to-large projects.

    Good project planning is key to smooth project closing

    Begin with the end in mind. Without a clear scope statement and criteria for acceptance, it’s anyone’s guess when, or how, a project will end.

    During the closing process, the project manager should use planning and execution documents, such as the project charter and the scope statement, to assess project completeness and obtain sign-off based on the acceptance criteria. Project completion criteria should be clearly defined. For example, the project is defined as finished when costs are in, vendor receipts are received, financials are reviewed and approved, etc. However, there are other steps to be taken after completing the project deliverables. These activities include:

    • Transfer project knowledge and operations to support
    • Complete user training
    • Obtain business sign-off and acceptance
    • Release resources
    • Conduct post-mortem meeting
    • Archive project assets

    The project manager needs to complete all project management processes, including:

    • Risk management (close out risk assessment and action plan)
    • Quality management (test the final deliverables against acceptance criteria)
    • Stakeholder management (decision log, close out issues, plan and assign owners for resolutions of open issues)
    • Project team management (performance evaluation for team members as well as the project manager)

    Ensure business acceptance

    4.2.1 Estimated Time: 15 minutes

    Review and customize section 4.4.1 “Ensure Business Acceptance” in Info-Tech’s Project Management SOP Template.

    Both the project end users and the project sponsor need to accept the outcome of the project.

    Sponsor and Business Acceptance

    1. Refer to project planning documents and define completion criteria. Create a checklist that includes key performance measurements and all necessary deliverables.
    2. Produce a table on completion expectation and evidence of acceptance to determine that the project fulfills requirements.
    3. Consider creating a list of follow-on actions – suggested improvements for quality management or change requests that have not been implemented during the project.

    User Acceptance

    The project manager should produce confirmation from the user that the final product or outcome of the project meets the acceptance criteria.

    Download Info-Tech’s Deliverable Acceptance Form Template to ensure business and user acceptance.

    Document your process to transition project to support

    4.2.2 Estimated Time: 15 minutes

    Review and customize section 4.4.2 “Transition Project to Support” in Info-Tech’s Project Management SOP Template.

    Project team needs to pass on technical knowledge to operations and execute release/transition plans. Consider the following when transitioning:

    • What issues with project deliverables have been identified?
    • What are associated workarounds and standard resolutions?
    • What critical dependencies and integration points have been identified?
    • How will support issues be escalated?
    • Are infrastructure/application support, service desk, etc. in place?
    • Has the post-project leader and workforce been assessed based on their qualification and knowledge?

    Project manager should also consider the transition approach: How long is the process? How many employees are needed to manage the transition?

    Transition Project

    Technical knowledge transfer

    Project activity transfer

    Project documents

    Benefits realization tracking

    Download Info-Tech’s Handover to Operations Template to facilitate a smooth transition.

    Document your process to conduct a project post-mortem

    4.2.3 Estimated Time: 15 minutes

    Review and customize section 4.4.3 “Conduct a Project Post-Mortem” in Info-Tech’s Project Management SOP Template.

    The post-mortem draws out key successes and challenges, and it helps to compile a list of lessons learned that can be applied to future projects. Lessons learned is an important yet often overlooked aspect of the post-mortem. Project members obtain both business and IT knowledge, but while IT or internal lessons are absorbed within the organization, business lessons are often not passed on to IT for future projects. The post-mortem meeting can also be seen as a learning and development opportunity for the team. The project manager can show leadership by bringing the project team together one last time to candidly discuss the project, provide closure, and feel a sense of accomplishment.

    Lessons learned should be captured and tracked throughout the project, not just at the end.

    How to create a Lessons Learned Report

    1. Use the project post-mortem to identify project management strengths and weaknesses. The key is having an honest and open discussion with project team members.
    2. When conducting a post-mortem, it is best to engage a facilitator from outside the project to act as a neutral moderator during the meeting.
    3. After the meeting, compile a report based on what was discussed.
    4. Share lessons learned with a wider group. Compiling the lessons learned into a shorter document for wider distribution will provide others in the organization with valuable information for future projects.

    Download Info-Tech’s Post-Mortem Review Template to assess project success.

    Post-mortem checklist

    During the project post-mortem, the project manager needs to review core requirements and test them, and document lessons learned to give team members the chance to voice their input. The post-mortem helps with the transition phase by providing these insights during meeting with the operations manager, help desk, etc.

    "Every project is a little different from the prior one, so you have to apply lessons learned."

    —Terry Jones

    Knowledge Area

    Question

    Scope

    • How many change requests were submitted and escalated?

    Schedule

    • Gap between planned and actual start/end dates?

    Budget

    • Gap between estimated and actual budget?

    Resources

    • Gap between estimated and actual resource requirements?

    Team

    • Team building, performance appraisal, development, and collaboration?

    Quality

    • Did deliverables satisfy quality requirements the first time at stage gates?

    Risk

    • Were risks identified?
    • Were risk responses well executed?

    Stakeholder

    • Were stakeholders kept well informed and issues resolved promptly?
    • Were stakeholders satisfied with the final deliverables?
    • Was the change championed?
    • Was learning and development successfully executed?
    • Was resistance managed?

    Document your process to ensure smooth handover to PMO

    4.2.4 Estimated Time: 15 minutes

    Review and customize section 4.4.4 “Hand Over Project to PMO” in Info-Tech’s Project Management SOP Template.

    At this point in the project, the project manager’s responsibilities are completed. The remaining processes should be the responsibility of the project management office (PMO).

    The purpose of the PMO is to ensure project and portfolio success. The PMO does this by:

    • Providing project managers with knowledge and resources needed to achieve project success.
    • Monitoring projects with the aim of getting the right stakeholders to collaborate with the PM.

    Responsibilities of the PMO:

    • Keep projects in the green.
    • Increase project value.
    • Align project portfolio with business strategy.

    Specific actions required:

    • Conduct post-implementation review.
    • Track, measure, and report on project benefits.

    How to hand over post-project responsibilities:

    1. Book a meeting to hand over operations to the PMO. At this meeting, provide a review of the project and supply project documents.
      • Quality workbook
      • Benefits tracking
      • Post-mortem document
      • Business sign-off documents
    2. Debrief the PMO on next steps, their responsibilities, and the benefits realization plan.
    3. Provide a name to act as a point of contact for any communication regarding the project after the project team disbands.

    Continue using Info-Tech’s Handover to Operations Template for the PMO handover.

    Document your process to obtain final sign-off

    4.2.5 Estimated Time: 15 minutes

    Review and customize section 4.4.5 “Obtain Final Sign-Off” in Info-Tech’s Project Management SOP Template.

    After the project is completed, the project manager should produce confirmation that the final outcome of the project meets the criteria that was set out in the planning stage. The governing body should be involved to ensure that the intended results have been achieved and the project is ready to be closed. Project documentations need to be completed and archived so that they can be retrieved in the future. The project closing checklist should be used to record every single action that needs to be taken, such as handing over the deliverables to the customer, canceling supplier contracts, releasing staff and equipment, informing stakeholders of the closure of the project, etc.

    Project Closing Checklist

    1. Complete project deliverables.
    2. Create action plan for outstanding deliverables.
    3. Determine handover documents.
    4. Release team.
    5. Complete vendor close-off.
    6. Complete training plan.
    7. Manage outstanding issues.
    8. Manage outstanding risks.

    Download Info-Tech’s Final Sign-Off and Acceptance Form Template to obtain final sign-off.

    If you want additional support. have our analysts guide you through this phase as part of an Info-Tech workshop

    Book a workshop with our Info-Tech analysts:

    A picture of an Info-Tech analyst is shown.

    • To accelerate this project, engage your IT team in an Info-Tech workshop with an Info-Tech analyst team.
    • Info-Tech analysts will join you and your team onsite at your location or welcome you to Info-Tech’s historic Toronto office to participate in an innovative onsite workshop.
    • Contact your account manager (www.infotech.com/account), or email Workshops@InfoTech.com for more information.

    The following are sample activities that will be conducted by Info-Tech analysts with your team:

    4.1.1-4.1.10

    Screenshots of activities 4.1.1-4.10 are shown.

    Tailor project execution processes for your level 2 & 3 projects

    Adapt Info-Tech’s best practices on project execution: managing the project team, reporting project status, managing scope changes, controlling project quality and risk.

    4.2.1-4.2.5

    Screenshots of activities 4.2.1-4.2.5 are shown.

    Tailor project closing processes for your level 2 & 3 projects

    Adapt Info-Tech’s best practices on project closing: ensuring deliverable acceptance, handing over to operations, conducting post-mortem, obtaining final sign-off.

    Phase 5

    Implement Your Project Management Standard Operating Procedure

    Phase 5 outline

    Call 1-888-670-8889 or email GuidedImplementations@InfoTech.com for more information.

    Complete these steps on your own, or call us to complete a guided implementation. A guided implementation is a series of 2-3 advisory calls that help you execute each phase of a project. They are included in most advisory memberships.

    Guided Implementation 5: Implement your project management SOP

    Proposed Time to Completion (in weeks): 2-4 weeks

    Step 5.1: Finalize your project management SOP

    Work with an analyst to:

    • Review and tailor Info-Tech’s project management SOP
    • Prepare a business case for improving the PM methodology

    Then complete these activities…

    • Fine-tune the SOP to right-size the methodology
    • Create a single document for planning a medium-sized/level 2 project
    • Estimate the project management overhead cost

    With these tools & templates:

    • Project Management SOP Template
    • Level 2 Project Management Plan Template
    • Project Management Process Costing Tool

    Step 5.2: Prepare your project managers for project management success

    Work with an analyst to:

    • Create a strategy for improving the PM methodology
    • Discuss how organizational change management can help enhance the adoption of the new PM methodology

    Then complete these activities…

    • Identify key process changes to introduce and communicate the new methodology
    • Develop a training plan and a communication plan
    • Build a roadmap to plan and monitor the implementation

    With these tools & templates:

    • Project Management Process Training Plan Template
    • Project Management Training Monitoring Tool
    • Project Management Process Implementation Timeline Tool

    Step 5.1: Finalize your project management SOP

    Phase 5: Implement your project management standard operating procedure

    5.1: Finalize SOP

    5.2: Prepare your project managers

    This step will walk you through the following activities:

    • Verify that PM processes are right-sized
    • Fill out the RACI charts in the SOP
    • Estimate PM overhead cost
    • Discuss next steps for PM SOP

    This step involves the following participants:

    • Project Managers
    • Business Analysts
    • PMO Director

    Outcomes of this step

    • The project management SOP is finalized and ready for implementation.
    • PM overhead cost is estimated, with which to construct a business case for the new PM process.
    • Next steps for evolving the project management SOP are considered.

    Examine the project management SOP draft and ensure that the processes are indeed right-sized

    5.1.1 Estimated Time: 30 minutes

    In this blueprint, project management processes for level 2 projects – medium-sized, moderate risks – are discussed along with level 3 projects. This activity will guide the differentiation of the processes you would use to manage these two different levels of projects.

    1. Planning for level 2 projects will be simplified by consolidating the various planning documents into a lightweight, comprehensive planning document. Using Info-Tech’s Level 2 Project Management Plan Template as a starting point, examine each section of the SOP on planning and add, modify, or remove sections as needed.
    2. Examine each section of the SOP on execution. Executing level 2 projects will be simplified by using lightweight versions of project team artifacts, status reports, change management schemes, and quality/risk management artifacts.

    Fine-tuning the amount of work required for level 2 projects may require an iterative process of piloting, reviewing, and revising the simplified set of processes, tools, and templates.

    Download Info-Tech’s Level 2 Project Management Plan Template.

    An example is shown to demonstrate the right-sized amount of work for level 2 projects.

    Fill out the RACI charts in the Project Management SOP Template

    5.1.2 Estimated Time: 45 minutes

    At the start of each section in the Project Management SOP Template is the RACI matrix chart. It provides a bird’s-eye view of the roles and responsibilities for each phase of a project lifecycle.

    1. Fill out the RACI chart based on the Task-at-a-Glance table for each task.
    2. Highlight the R (responsible) and A (accountable) entries.
    3. Examine the RACI matrix. Discuss whether the distribution of responsibilities and accountabilities are reasonable for each phase of a project lifecycle (or for level 1, the entire project lifecycle).
    4. Revise the RACI matrix to balance out the responsibilities. Revise the tasks affected by the changes.

    At this time, proofread the contents of the SOP to ensure that the task descriptions make sense. While doing so, estimate the hours required for each step. The overhead costs for the new project management SOP will be based on those estimates in the next activity.

    Screenshot of Info-Tech's Project Management SOP Template, the RACI charts are shown. Screenshot of Info-Tech's Project Management SOP Template, the RACI charts are shown.

    Estimate project management overhead cost

    5.1.3 Estimated Time: 60 minutes

    Project management involves a lot of interaction with the team and other stakeholders. In addition, the process and documentation costs are directly related to the rigor of the documentation prescribed in your SOP.

    Use this tool to estimate the overall cost of the documentation required in your SOP.

    1. Capacity and Budget tab: Use the tool to estimate your annual project portfolio capacity.
    2. PM Costing tab: Enter each task from the SOP and the corresponding estimated hours to complete the task (per project).
    3. Annual PM Costs tab: Enter the number of anticipated projects for each level. The overhead costs of the project management process is calculated and presented as a percentage of project capacity.

    Download Info-Tech’s Project Management Process Costing Tool.

    A screenshot of Info-Tech's Project Management Process Costing Tool is shown.

    Info-Tech Insight

    Measure the worth of your PM overhead.

    The overhead costs can be used to gauge the amount of process you are imposing on your PMs (is the amount sustainable near and long term?). In addition, use the overhead costs to construct a near-term business case for the new project management process—or, perhaps, for more project and project management staff.

    Discuss the next steps for your project management SOP

    5.1.4 Estimated Time: 15 minutes

    As the last step of finalizing your project management SOP, take a moment to evaluate the SOP and chart the next steps.

    • Consider the factors in the table below to evaluate the SOP from the perspective of different users (new PMs, experienced PMs, PMO, audit, project team, etc.). Does the SOP deliver value? Does it make sense? Can it be simplified?
    • Ensure that the various tools and templates employed throughout the SOP are aligned with their corresponding task descriptions within the SOP.
    • Discuss the next steps for improving the SOP. For example, improve its usability by creating visual elements that describe the workflow. This will help identify dependencies amongst the tasks.

    Factor

    Question

    User

    Who will use the documentation and how will they use it? What level of detail do they really need?

    Lifespan

    How long will the information be used and how long will it need to remain accurate?

    Cost

    Who will be willing to pay for the information? Does cost align with value?

    Fear

    Does fear motivate excessive documentation?

    Format

    What is the most efficient format to deliver value?

    Source: Wick, A. Get Off the Documentation Hamster Wheel. 2016

    A screenshot of Info-Tech's Create Visual SOP Documents That Drive Process Optimization blueprint is shown.

    For further discussion on improving usability of the project management SOP, use Info-Tech’s blueprint, Create Visual SOP Documents That Drive Process Optimization.

    Step 5.2: Prepare your project managers for project management success

    Phase 5: Implement your project management standard operating procedure

    5.1: Finalize SOP

    5.2: Prepare your project managers

    This step will walk you through the following activities:

    • Develop a rollout plan for the new PM process
    • Develop a training plan for the rollout
    • Develop a communication plan for the rollout

    This step involves the following participants:

    • PMO Director
    • CIO/Project Sponsor
    • Other relevant IT staff

    Outcomes of this step

    • A plan to implement the project management SOP is established.
    • The plan is complete with a training plan and a communication plan to ensure adoption.
    • Project managers, sponsors, and project stakeholders are aware of how to operate within the new PM environment.
    • The PMO has a plan for continuously monitoring PM success and updating the PM methodologies.

    Develop a rollout plan to implement and communicate your new project management processes

    Now that you’ve completed your Project Management SOP Template, it’s time to put these processes into action and roll them out to the organization and key stakeholders who will be affected by them. The rollout plan is important to encourage people to use the new processes and realize the benefits of using established processes (established processes ensure that repeatable steps are in place for each project, reducing time and duplication of effort required to create a process from scratch each time).

    • The new project management process will require changes in how you approach each project and more importantly, it will require stakeholders who are involved with projects to change as well.
    • The top challenge facing organizations introducing change is their organizational culture and acceptance of change.
    • Success of your implementation hinges on adequate preparation and effective communication. It is vital to engage with the stakeholders and to communicate changes to them based on their communication style. Make sure you understand how the change will impact key stakeholders and create tailored plans for communication.

    Overview of process implementation steps

    1. Determine process implementation approach (big bang or phased).
    2. Develop communication plan and change impact for each stakeholder.
    3. Identify key changes being made and their impact on each stakeholder.
    4. Build a roadmap to plan and monitor the implementation plan.
    5. Define implementation time frames and status.
    6. Develop rollout communication plan.
    7. Implement new processes.
    8. Continually update project initiation and planning processes.

    Info-Tech Insight

    Communicate, communicate, communicate. Staff are 34% more likely to adapt to change quickly during the implementation and adoption phases when they are provided with a timeline of impending changes specific to their department (McLean & Company).

    Determine a process implementation approach

    What’s the best approach to implementing your new processes in your organization: big bang or baby steps?

    Implementation rollout can be performed all at once in a major, single change period (big bang), or in a step-by-step approach where individual changes or groups of changes occur over time. Decide if you want to roll out your processes all at once or if you want to test the processes with one department.

    The approach to change that you choose will depend on several factors:

    • The complexity/challenge/size of the change.
    • Your experience and history with change.
    • Your level of readiness for the change.
    • Availability of skilled resources.
    • Urgency for the change.

    A small rollout?

    If the overall change is small, making the changes simultaneously is probably the best option.

    A complex rollout?

    Conversely, if the change is large or complex, a step-by-step approach will help staff avoid being overwhelmed by change.

    A large rollout with uncertainties?

    If your organization is very large and there are uncertainties around the rollout, consider doing a smaller test pilot rollout. Test the new project processes with one department that already has high stakeholder buy-in and is willing to provide feedback.

    Create a communications plan to help manage expectations with each stakeholder group

    5.2.1 Estimated Time: 20-30 minutes

    Use the stakeholder analysis on tab 4 and the communications planning table on tab 8 of the Project Stakeholder and Impact Assessment Tool to help plan your project management implementation.

    Info-Tech’s tool (from Phase 3) will help you:

    1. Identify the stakeholders throughout the organization who will be impacted by the changes. Consider:
      • Who will be directly impacted?
      • Whose roles are changing significantly?
      • Whose day-to-day activities will be changed?
      • Who will have different reporting relationships?
    2. Measure perception of their resistance to change.
    3. Outline their key concerns and choose appropriate communication mediums.
    4. Make decisions about who should be responsible for communicating the change and the order of how stakeholders will be informed.

    Screenshot of the communications planning table on tab 8 of the tool.

    Screenshot of the communications planning table on tab 8 of the tool.

    Participants

    • PMO Director/CIO
    • Other relevant project management stakeholders

    INPUT

    • Perceptions of stakeholders likelihood to adopt

    OUTPUT

    • A stakeholder analysis
    • A communications plan for the rollout

    Materials

    • Project Stakeholder and Impact Assessment Tool

    Identify key process changes that need to be introduced and communicated

    5.2.2 Estimated Time: 20-30 minutes

    Regardless of complexity, don’t overwhelm stakeholders with information that is not relevant to them. Sending more detailed information than is necessary might result in the information not being read.

    • Think about what information that stakeholder requires to feel comfortable with the organizational change to project management processes and their rollout.
    • The first step in implementing change is to identify what changes are going to be made and why they’re being made. This will then allow you to identify your key stakeholders and determine how you will approach the implementation.

    Follow the steps below to track the changes being introduced:

    1. Use the results from the Project Management Triage Tool (Phase 1) to help identify changes that will be made.
    2. Looking at each stakeholder or stakeholder group in turn, determine what the key changes are and why you are making the changes. Use the “message canvas” on the next slide to help brainstorm the messaging for different stakeholder groups. Record the results in tab 6 of the Project Stakeholder and Impact Assessment Tool.
    3. Determine how you will communicate with stakeholders, and who is responsible for the communication. This information can be recorded in tab 8 of the Project Stakeholder and Impact Assessment Tool.
    4. Document your communications plan timelines in Info-Tech’s Project Management Process Implementation Timeline Tool.

    Participants

    • PMO Director/CIO
    • Other relevant project management stakeholders

    INPUT

    • The entire scope of new changes being introduced

    OUTPUT

    • A high-level communications strategy

    Materials

    • The message canvas on the next slide
    • Project Stakeholder and Impact Assessment Tool

    Message canvas for project management rollout

    5.2.2

    What audience or group are you communicating to?

    e.g. full-time PMs, part-time PMs, project teams, senior managers, etc.

    Why is there a need for this process change?

    e.g. process efficiency, better project results, PM discipline, standardization, etc.

    What will be new for this group?

    e.g. new tools and templates, new cadence for project reports, etc.

    What will go away for this group?

    e.g. old tools and templates, ad hoc processes, etc.

    What will be meaningfully unchanged for this group?

    e.g. reporting relations, day-to-day routine, etc.

    How this the change benefit this group?

    e.g. create more even workloads, provide process clarity, etc.

    When and how will those benefits be realized?

    e.g. near-term and in the process efficiency, long-term via optimized approval process, etc.

    What does this group have to do for this change to succeed?

    e.g. follow the new processes, utilize the new tools and templates, adhere to the new reporting requirements, etc.

    What does this audience have to stop doing for change to succeed?

    e.g. stop taking a passive approach to status updates, stop taking such a rigorous approach to planning small projects, etc.

    What should this audience continue doing?

    What should this audience continue doing?

    What support will this audience receive to help manage the transition?

    e.g. monthly PM training, regular updates from PMs and the PMO, etc.

    What should this audience expect to do/happen next?

    e.g. they will receive notification of PM training within the next two weeks, report on status of new process at next PM meeting, etc.

    See Info-Tech’s focused organizational change management research if you foresee considerable resistance

    If the degree of project management rigor you are introducing is new to the organization and you anticipate a high degree of resistance, confusion, or fatigue, consider applying a formal organizational change management approach to your implementation. Refer to Info-Tech’s blueprint, Drive Organizational Change from the PMO, for a full set of best practices and tools that will help you properly plan and communicate a large-scale organizational change like the implementation of new project management processes.

    "One way to demonstrate convincingly the importance of following a common, codified process is to compare the results of past projects—those where the process was followed and those where teams “freelanced”—and then go public with the findings… It becomes easy to see, and share, the advantaged: the deadlines met, the time and money saved, the ending of turn wars, and the elimination of frustrating bottleneck"

    —Andrew Longman and James Mullins

    A screenshot of Info-Tech's Drive Organizational Change from the PMO, for a deeper dive into org-change tactics that will foster adoption and drive benefits.

    Develop a training plan for your new processes and tools

    5.2.3 Estimated Time: 30 minutes

    Record a high-level plan for how training will be provided during the implementation of your processes:

    Inputs:

    • List of training materials.
      • Potential sources include Info-Tech publications and analysts, internally generated training documents, PMI, other third-party consultant materials.
    • List of stakeholders that will need to be trained.
      • This can be gathered from previous activities in this step.
    • Record any training barriers or opportunities.
    • Identify the most appropriate medium for each training module.
    • Identify who will be accountable and responsible for delivering each training module.
    • Identify when each training module will be delivered (include ranges and deadlines).

    Participants

    • PMO Director
    • CIO/Project Sponsor

    OUTPUTS

    • A stakeholder analysis
    • A communications plan for the rollout

    Materials

    • Project Management Process Training Plan Template (see next slide)

    Info-Tech Insight

    Don’t make training a hurdle to process adoption. Training and other disruptions take time and energy away from work. Ineffective training takes credibility away from leaders and seems to validate the efforts of resistors. Ensure that training sessions are as focused and useful as possible.

    Info-Tech can help you plan and manage your implementation training

    5.2.3 Project Management Training Tools and Templates

    Info-Tech can help you manage and monitor your project management training in two ways:

    Project Management Process Training Plan Template

    Use this template to plan out:

    • Who needs to be trained?
    • What do they need to be trained on?
    • How will they be trained?
    • When will they be trained?
    • Who will train them?
    • How will you determine that people have been adequately trained?
    A screenshot of Info-Tech's Project Management Process Training Plan Template

    Project Management Training Monitoring Tool

    • Use this tool to keep track of the actual training.
    • This tool will help you record which stakeholder groups have been trained and how many groups remain to be trained.
    • The tool will also allow you to keep track of people who opt to take non-required training modules without affecting your overall tracking and reporting of mandatory modules.
    A screenshot of Info-Tech's Project Management Training Monitoring Tool

    Build a roadmap to plan and monitor the implementation

    Use one of Info-Tech’s two Project Management Process Implementation Timeline Tools (.xlsx or .mpp) to help ensure your implementation stays on track.

    Info-Tech’s timeline templates come pre-populated with suggested tasks and milestones for your PM implementation. Review the relevance of these to your particular situation and adjust accordingly.

    • Adjust the dates in the tools to match your own preparation, implementation, and stakeholder timelines.
    • Consult and revise this schedule throughout the preparation and implementation itself, as necessary.

    Download Info-Tech’s Project Management Process Implementation Timeline Tool (.xlsx)

    A screenshot of Info-Tech's Project Management Process Implementation Timeline Tool is shown.

    Download Info-Tech’s Project Management Process Implementation Timeline Tool (.mpp)

    A screenshot of Info-Tech's Project Management Process Implementation Timeline Tool mpp is shown.

    "Plans are only good intentions unless they immediately degenerate into hard work."

    —Peter Drucker

    Configure Info-Tech’s timeline tool to reflect your implementation

    5.2.4 Estimated Time: 45-60 minutes

    Steps to use the timeline template:

    1. Begin by identifying all of the initiative deliverables in scope for your organization. Review the previous content pertaining to specific people, process, and technology deliverables your organization plans on creating.
    2. Identify all of the tasks and subtasks necessary to create each deliverable.
    3. Arrange the tasks in the appropriate sequential order.
    4. Assign each task to a member of the initiative team.
    5. Estimate the day the task will be started and completed.
    6. Specify any significant dependencies or prerequisites between tasks.
    7. Update the roadmap throughout the initiative by accounting for injections and entering the actual starting and ending dates.
    8. Use the dashboard to monitor the initiative progress and identify risks early.
    Screenshot of the Project Management Process Implementation Timeline Tools.

    Plan and monitor the organizational design implementation with Info-Tech’s Project Management Process Implementation Timeline Tools.

    Prepare to communicate the change

    Leaders of successful change spend considerable time developing a powerful change message, i.e. a compelling narrative that articulates the desired end state and makes the change concrete and meaningful to staff.

    Develop the communication plan based on your stakeholder analysis. Stakeholders are not only end users of the process, but are also individuals involved in activities such as training and monitoring.

    The organizational change message should:

    • Explain why the change is needed and show relevant benefits.
    • Summarize what will stay the same.
    • Highlight what will be left behind.
    • Emphasize what is being changed.
    • Explain how change will be implemented.
    • Address how change will affect various roles in the organization.
    • Discuss the staff’s role in making the change successful.

    Five elements of communicating change

    1. What is the change?
    2. Why are we doing it?
    3. How are we going to go about it?
    4. How long will it take us to do it?
    5. What will the role be for each department and individual?

    The Qualities of Leadership: Leading Change, Cornelius & Associates

    Apply the following communication principles to make process changes relevant to stakeholders

    Be Consistent

    • The core message must be consistent regardless of audience, channel, or medium.
    • Test your communication with your team or colleagues to obtain feedback before delivering to a broader audience.
    • A lack of consistency can be interpreted as an attempt at deception. This can hurt credibility and trust.

    Be Clear

    • Say what you mean and mean what you say.
    • Choice of language is important: “Do you think this is a good idea? I think we could really benefit from your insights and experience here.” Or do you mean: “I think we should do this. I need you to do this in order to make it happen.”
    • Don’t use jargon.

    Be Relevant

    • Talk about what matters to the stakeholder.
    • Talk about what matters to the initiative.
    • Tailor the details of the message to each stakeholder’s specific concern
    • IT thinks in processes, but stakeholders only care about results; talk in terms of results.
    • IT wants to be “understood” but this does not matter to stakeholders; think “what’s in it for them?”
    • Communicate truthfully; do not make false promises or hide bad news.

    Be Concise

    • Keep communication short and to the point so key messages are not lost in the noise.
    • There is a risk of diluting your key message if you include too many other details.

    Prepare for your implementation kick-off meeting

    5.2.6 Estimated Time: 5 minutes

    Prepare to host a kick-off meeting with key project management stakeholders (based on if you chose a full rollout or phased approach). Come to this meeting prepared to present your implementation timeline, training requirements, and the Project Management SOP Template to key stakeholders and get sign-off to go ahead with the plan to implement.

    • Hold key meetings with staff to explain the changes and reasoning behind them.
    • Explain the process and provide the forms and timeline schedules.
    • Level-set the change and initiatives through a kick-off meeting with your stakeholders and project teams.

    Process kick-off meeting

    Project team meetings (optional)

    Reasoning: Make sure everyone is given the same information and understands how it fits together.

    • Detailed explanation of the change – covering full communication details.
    • Detailed explanation of the processes.
    • Question and answer period.

    Project team meetings (optional)

    Reasoning: Present more detailed information that is relevant to specific project teams.

    • Detailed explanation of the change to the specific project team.

    Participants

    • PMO Director
    • Project management staff
    • CIO/Project Sponsor

    INPUT

    • Implementation timeline
    • Training requirements
    • Project Management SOP Template

    Once you start the implementation, leverage the timeline tool for ongoing status updates

    Track your progress

    • Update your work schedule on tab 3 as you complete tasks and keep track of your progress by completing the “Actual Start Date” and “Actual Completion Date” as you go through your project.
    • Use the Progress Report tab in project team meetings to update stakeholders on which tasks have been completed on schedule, an analysis of tasks to date, and project time management.
    Example of timeline from Tab 3 of the Project Management SOP Template. Example of timeline from Tab 3 of the Project Management SOP Template.

    Continually update project management processes

    Once your process is implemented and you have applied it to some projects, you may discover that parts of the process need updating. Stakeholders will become familiar with the project initiation and planning processes and discover ways to optimize them. For the processes to remain relevant and useful, they should be adapted to fit the organization’s needs.

    Triggers for updating the process can come from:

    • Feedback from business leaders.
    • Feedback from end users.
    • Suggestions from the project team.

    When the processes need to be updated, do the following:

    • Update your Project Management SOP as projects are completed and processes need to be adapted.
    • Inform key stakeholders when changes are made. Try to limit the number of changes taking place at one time.
    • Track the results of new changes.

    A small IT group turns poor project results and bad stakeholder perceptions around with rigorous PM practices

    CASE STUDY

    Industry: Banking

    Source: Info-Tech Client

    "We usually throw a bunch of things at the wall and hope something sticks."

    Situation

    A lack of upfront project planning was resulting in IT projects going over budget and time. This led to poor project resource satisfaction even if business stakeholders seemed to be satisfied with project results. Failures to thoroughly identify all relevant stakeholders and analyze risk was resulting in projects changing course mid-cycle, leading to less consistent and reliable project performance. The absence of a resource informed project intake process led to project resources being used for non-project work.

    Complication

    Poor project planning led to scope creep, low executive buy-in, and poorly defined requirements, which undermined project success. Poor project execution processes resulted in scope creep, low quality deliverables, poor stakeholder satisfaction, and a failure to deliver on project benefits.IT projects consistently concluded over budget and late, resulting in the widespread perception that IT was not delivering value.

    Resolution

    The organization underwent project management training with Info-Tech Research Group. With Info-Tech’s advice, they began to invest more time upfront into planning projects as a critical component of project success. Soon, they began to realize more consistent and repeatable processes and less delivery errors. They injected rigorous project execution processes into what were formerly ill-defined and ad hoc delivery processes. This formality resulted in more successful projects that delivered greater value to the organization at a lower cost.

    If you want additional support, have our analysts guide you through this phase as part of an Info-Tech workshop

    Book a workshop with our Info-Tech analysts:

    A picture of an Info-Tech analyst is shown.

    • To accelerate this project, engage your IT team in an Info-Tech workshop with an Info-Tech analyst team.
    • Info-Tech analysts will join you and your team onsite at your location or welcome you to Info-Tech’s historic Toronto office to participate in an innovative onsite workshop.
    • Contact your account manager (www.infotech.com/account), or email Workshops@InfoTech.com for more information.

    The following are sample activities that will be conducted by Info-Tech analysts with your team:

    5.1.2

    A screenshot of activity 5.1.2 is shown.

    Finalize project management roles and responsibilities

    Complete your SOP by assigning accountabilities and responsibilities for key project management activities.

    5.1.3

    A screenshot of activity 5.1.3 is shown.

    Calculate the cost of your project management overhead

    Assess the costs of your new project management processes and ensure they are sustainable in the near and long term.

    5.2.1

    A screenshot of activity 5.2-1 is shown.

    Prepare a communications plan and strategy for your project management implementation

    Success of your implementation hinges on adequate preparation and effective communication. Work with an analyst to develop a viable strategy.

    5.2.3

    A screenshot of activity 5.2.3 is shown.

    Develop training plans for new processes and tools

    Get analyst insights and feedback to ensure that training sessions are as focused and useful as possible.

    5.2.4

    A screenshot of activity 5.2.4 is shown.

    Customize your implementation timeline

    Develop an implementation timeline and roadmap that will allow you to effectively monitor implementation progress and ensure success.

    Summary of accomplishment

    Knowledge Gained

    • A lightweight approach to project management process suffices for the vast majority of IT initiatives. Establishing different tiers of PM rigor will ensure that you’re not weighing potential quick wins down in too much process, and that you’re applying the right amount of rigor to more complex, high-risk initiatives.
    • Project management doesn’t exist in a vacuum. PM practices should provide a gateway to the “big picture” and inform effective decision making.

    Processes Optimized

    • Differentiation between project vs. non-project
    • Lightweight project management for small projects
    • Project initiation and planning
    • Project execution and closing

    Deliverables Completed

    • Project Management Standard Operating Procedure
    • Project Management Triage Tool
    • COBIT BAI01 (Manage Programs and Projects) Alignment Workbook
    • Project Level Definition Matrix
    • Project Management Process Costing Tool
    • Project Stakeholder and Impact Assessment Tool
    • Project Management Training Monitoring Tool
    • Project Management Process Implementation Timeline Tool

    Related Info-Tech research

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    Project Portfolio Management Diagnostic Program: The Project Portfolio Management Diagnostic Program is a low-effort, high-impact program designed to help project owners assess and improve their PPM practices. Gather and report on all aspects of your PPM environment to understand where you stand and how you can improve.

    Bibliography

    Bloch, Michael, Sven Blumberg, and Jürgen Laartz. “Delivering large-scale IT projects on time, on budget, and on value." McKinsey & Company. October 2012. Web. November 2016.

    Bohn, Kenton. “Up to 75% of Business and IT Executives Anticipate Their Software Projects Will Fail." Geneca. March 2011. Web. November 2016.

    Bonnie, Emily. The State of Project Management in 2015.” Wrike. July 2015. Web. November 2015.

    Changefirst. “Feedback from our ROI change management survey.” 2010. Web. June 14, 2016.

    Cornelius & Associates. The Qualities of Leadership: Leading Change.

    Edersheim, Elizabeth Haas. The Definitive Drucker. McGraw-Hill Education: January 2007.

    EPMA. “Microsoft Project Vs Microsoft Excel.” EPMA. October 2012. Web. November 2016.

    Hällgren, Marcus, Andreas Nilsson and Tomas Blomquist, “Relevance Lost! A critical review of project management standardisation.” International Journal of Managing Projects in Business. 5:3, 2012, pp. 457-485(29).

    Hardey-Valee, Benoit. “The Cost of Bad Project Management.” Gallup. February 2012. Web. November 2016.

    Hass, Kitty and Ken Fulmer. “The Future is Now: The Rise of the Enterprise Business Analyst.” November 2015. Web. November 2016.

    Hashtie, Shane and Stephanie Wojewoda. “Standish Group 2015 Chaos Report - Q&A with Jennifer Lynch.” InfoQ. Oct 4, 2015. Web. Aug 21, 2016.

    Hodges, Lisa. “PMBOK and PRINCE2®: how Project Managers can survive in an agile world.” Axelos. May 2016. Web. November 2016.

    Hussain, OA. “Direct cost of scope creep in governmental construction projects in Qatar.” Global Journal of Management and Business Research 12.14 (2012):73-84.

    ISACA. COBIT 5: Enabling Processes. ISACA: 2012.

    Icasas, Patrick. “How Can I Create a Repeatable (and Successful) Project Management Process?” March 2014. Web. November 2016.

    Lane, Mike. "Project Management in a COBIT 5 World.” December 2014. Web. November 2016.

    Laporte, CY, et al. “Improving project management for small projects.” ISO Focus+. February (2013): 52-55.

    Lessig, Lawrence. “For the Love of Culture.” New Republic. 26 Jan 2010. Web. November 2016.

    Longman, Andrew and Jim Mullins. “Project Management: key tool for implementing strategy.” Journal of Business Strategy. 25:4. 2004, 54-60. Web. November 2016.

    Jepsen, Anna Lund and Pernille Eskerod. “Stakeholder analysis in projects: challenges in using current guidelines in the real world.” Int J Proj Mgmt 27.4 (2009): 335-343.

    Karch, Erick. “The Software Crisis: A Brief Look at How Rework Shaped the Evolution of Software Methodologies.” April 2011. Web. November 2016.

    McGowan, Randy. “Project Management: Tips For Helping You Adopt A Process.” Project Smart. Web. November 2016.

    Miller, David and Mike Oliver. Engaging stakeholders for project success. Newtown Square, PA: Project Management Institute, 2015.

    Mochal, Jeffrey and Thomas Mochal. Lessons in Project Management. Appress: September 2011. Page 6.

    Office of Government Commerce. An introduction to PRINCE2: managing and directing successful projects. London, UK: The Stationery Office, 2009.

    Paulk, January. “The Fundamental Role a Change Impact Analysis Plays in an ERP Implementation.” Panorama Consulting Solutions. 24 Mar. 2014.

    PM Solutions. “The State of Project Portfolio Management 2013.” PM Solutions. 2013. Web. November 2016.

    PricewaterhouseCoopers."When will you think differently about programme delivery?” 4th Global Portfolio and Programme Management Survey. September 2014. Web. November 2016.

    Project Management Institute. A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK), 5th Edition. Newtown Square, PA: Project Management Institute, 2013.

    Project Management Institute. “Delivering on Strategy: The Power of Project Portfolio Management.” PMI Thought Leadership Series Report. 2015. Web. November 2016.

    Project Management Institute. Governance of portfolios, programs, and projects: a practice guide. Newtown Square, PA: Project Management Institute, 2016.

    Project Management Institute. “Improving Capability with Project Management Certifications: Telstra’s Story.” September 2016. Web. November 2016.

    Project Management Institute. “Pulse of the Profession: the High Cost of Low Performance.” February 2014. Web. November 2016.

    Project Management Institute. “Pulse of the Profession: Requirements Management.” Newtown Square, PA: Project Management Institute, August 2014.

    Prosci. “The harder side of change: the what, why and how of change management.” Prosci. 2009. Web. November 2016.

    Rowlings, Terry. “Don’t confuse project governance with project management.” Web. November 2016.

    Symonds, Michelle. “Project Management: One size does not fill all.” Tech Republic. May 2013. Web. November 2016.

    Vaughn, Howard. “Process Balance and A Favorite Quote” PM Lotus. October 2009. Web. November 2016.

    About Info-Tech

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    Guided Implementation #1 - Lay the groundwork for PM success
    • Call #1 - Determine your current level of PM process maturity
    • Call #2 - Right-size your project governance structure
    • Call #3 - Differentiate between a project and a non-project for your organization
    • Call #4 - Set different levels of projects

    Guided Implementation #2 - Build a lightweight PM process for small initiatives
    • Call #1 - Discover opportunities for streamlining PM for small, low-risk projects
    • Call #2 - Tailor Info-Tech’s PM approach for small projects to your organization

    Guided Implementation #3 - Establish initiation and planning protocols for medium-to-large projects
    • Call #1 - Learn about Info-Tech’s recommended best practices for project initiation and planning
    • Call #2 - Tailor Info-Tech’s fully featured PM approach for medium-to-large projects to your organization

    Guided Implementation #4 - Develop execution and closing procedures for medium-to-large projects
    • Call #1 - Learn about Info-Tech’s recommended best practices for project execution and closing
    • Call #2 - Tailor Info-Tech’s fully featured PM approach for medium-to-large projects to your organization

    Guided Implementation #5 - Implement your PM SOP
    • Call #1 - Create a single document for planning a medium-sized project
    • Call #2 - Estimate PM overhead cost
    • Call #3 - Develop a training plan for project managers
    • Call #4 - Build an implementation roadmap

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