Session 9: Deliver the Capability

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Deliver the Capability: Create Project Briefs

The Program Manager is responsible for initiating the projects defined in the Projects Dossier (part of the Program Plan). Before any project can be initiated a Project Brief must be created for each project in the tranche, this acts as the mandate for a project within a program. A Project Brief may be created during the Initiate Phase or during later phases.

The Business Change Owner assists the Program Manager in creating the Project Briefs by ensuring that the project outputs will meet the requirements for benefit realisation.

The Project Brief should articulate:

  • Project objectives (in the context of the overall program)
  • Program outcome contributions
  • Project scope and exclusions
  • Program/project dependencies that have been identified
  • Constraints and assumptions
  • Project tolerances
  • Program benefit contributions (ensuring no double dipping of benefits between projects)
  • Delegated risks and issues
  • Outline Business Case i.e. how this project delivers to the strategic, economic, commercial and financial cases in the Program Business Case
  • Project Product Description
  • Project approach
  • Project Management team structure
  • Stakeholder roles and responsibilities (specifically for this project)
  • Role descriptions
  • Partnering actions if relevant

Overlooking this task could cause the following challenges:

  • Project outputs and associated benefits not clearly defined or aligned to the Program
  • Projects have no mandate to begin

Exit Criteria

The following criteria should be met before completing this activity:

  • All tranche Project Briefs produced

Activities to be completed

During this step, the Program Manager should:

  • Create the required Project Briefs for the tranche

Inputs

  • Program Business Case
    • Benefits Plan
  • Projects Dossier (part of Program Plan)

Outputs

  • Project Briefs

Roles

  • Program Manager
  • Business Change Owner

Deliver the Capability: Initiate Projects

Once the Project Brief has been created, the Program Manager must ensure that the roles of Project Executive and Project Manager are appointed. The Project Executive is accountable to the program for the project’s successful completion within specified scope, risk, time, cost and quality parameters.

  • Tolerance levels are set to enable project delivery teams to manage to agreed boundaries independently from the program.
  • The Program Manager is responsible for ensuring that roles appointed fully understand the Project Brief and the Project Management method to be followed. They also need to made aware of any known interdependencies with other projects in the program.
  • The program organisation chart, Resource Management Plan and Projects Dossier should all be updated with the named project appointments

Note: depending on the circumstances the Program Manager may also perform the role of Project Executive on a project.

Both the Business Change Owner and the Program Manager are responsible for keeping the business informed of the impending outcomes and change to be implemented by the Program, raising awareness and interest and to obtaining engagement and involvement. Maintaining the engagement of stakeholders throughout delivery and keeping them informed of progress and issues is essential to a successful program. The co-operation of stakeholders will be needed as projects in the program require specific input. Stakeholder contribution and input can engender a sense of ownership leading to an increased positive attitude towards the program.

The Program Manager may need to provide guidance to projects on their communications when they are engaging with critical stakeholders.

The Program’s Stakeholder Engagement Plan and Communications Plan should be regularly refined and updated based on how effective stakeholder engagement and communication has been.

Overlooking this task could cause the following challenges:

  • Accountability for the project outputs and responsibility for the delivery of the project outputs will not be clear
  • Project teams will not be aware of or use the standards set for the program 
  • Boundaries and expectations for each project not set with the Project Manager and Project Executive
  • Critical stakeholders are not engaged causing a lack of sufficient support and impacting on program success

Exit Criteria

The following criteria should be met before completing this activity:

  • Project Executive and Project Manager appointed for each project
  • Projects initiated
  • Stakeholder Engagement and Communications Plan updated, as required

Activities to be completed

During this step, the Program Manager and Senior Responsible Owner should:

  • Appoint the Project Executive and Project Manager for each project
  • Organise briefings with each Project Executive and Project Manager on their respective projects covering:
    • How the project fits into the big picture (program and strategy)
    • Interdependencies with other projects
    • How project outputs will be used to enable transition, lead to outcomes and benefits realisation
    • Guidance on quality, reporting, exceptions and escalation (using the information created in the Define phase).
  • Ensure the business is well informed of impending change
  • Provide communication and engagement advice to projects
  • Pass over the Project Brief
  • Measure the effectiveness of the stakeholder engagement and communications
  • Refine the Stakeholder Engagement Plan and Communications Plan (if necessary)

Inputs

  • Project Brief
  • Stakeholder Engagement and Communications Plan

Outputs

  • Updated Program Organisation Chart (part of PDD)
  • Updated Resource Management Plan
  • Updated Projects Dossier (part of Program Plan)
  • Updated Stakeholder Engagement Plan and Communications Plan

Roles

  • Program Manager
  • Business Change Owner
  • Project Executive
  • Project Manager

Deliver the Capability: Monitor and Track Projects

The Program must constantly assess its current status towards planned outcomes. Are there any changing or emerging requirements that could impact on the timelines, the tranche being delivered or the projects identified in the Projects Dossier (part of Program Plan)? Are projects delivering as expected or is corrective action required?

The Program’s Monitoring and Control Strategy outlines how and when projects must report to the program and the criteria regarding exception reporting and management. A project’s tolerances for time, cost, quality, issues and risks, are initially define in the Project Brief and are then further developed in the project’s Project Initiation Documentation.

Active projects are monitored focussing on the areas that are key to the program:

  • Outputs – project outputs meet their requirements
  • Timely completion – adhering to delivery forecasts and reporting any exceptions as soon as possible
  • Risks, issues and assumptions – if they cannot be managed by the project they are escalated to the program, based on the guidelines in the Risk and Issue Strategy document
  • Estimates, costs and benefits – tolerance tracking and estimating the contribution towards benefit realisation, reporting exceptions quickly
  • Resources – highlighting any issues or shortages
  • Scope – formally managing changes to avoid scope creep
  • Engagement and Partnering – the relationships are as planned

If a project’s tolerances are breached or are predicted to exceed tolerance levels, this must be raised at the Program Board meeting. The Program Board will consider the impact of exceeding the tolerance and rule accordingly. 

Overlooking this task could cause the following challenges:

  • Projects do not deliver agreed outputs impacting on program outcomes
  • Projects breach their tolerances impacting directly on the program’s tolerances

Exit Criteria

The following criteria should be met before completing this activity:

  • Any project escalations and exceptions managed
  • Projects deliver required outputs

Activities to be completed

During this step, the Program Manager should:

  • Receive and monitor project status reports
  • Manage escalations and exceptions from projects
  • Manage dependencies and interfaces with particular emphasis on making sure projects understand how their outputs need to combine to achieve the desired outcomes
  • Oversee quality with an emphasis on ensuring project outputs to achieve the desired program benefits

Inputs

  • Monitoring and Control Strategy
  • Project Brief
  • Project Status Reports

Outputs

  • Program Status Reports
  • Updated Risk and Issue Registers

Roles

  • Program Manager
  • Program Board

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