Tool 2.1 Assessment of Project Complexity

Purpose

It is important at the outset of a project to assess what assignment you are about to solve. How complex is the project and what strategy should we establish for the project.
 
  • What makes this project assignment complex?
  • What are the key risks in the assignment?
  • What strategic initiatives can we make?
   

Procedure

In the template the assessed complexity is based on the five parameters.
  The project assignment
Project complexity is evaluated based on the needed result and function, the solution approach, quality requirements and the technology used.
   
  The project approach
  The complexity is evaluated based on the project timeframe, the methods used, project processes and the structure of the project.
   
  Stakeholders
  Stakeholder complexity is evaluated from the number of stakeholders, their interests, culture and values, and the availability of the stakeholders.
   
  Resources 
  The assessment includes the scope of economics and man-years, the necessary competence requirements and resources by geographic location.
   
  Surroundings
  The complexity of the environment is dependent of the project's importance, political conditions, market and technological developments, legislative and cultural issues.
   
  In reference to the individual parameters the strategic initiatives planned are listed in the right column. The description of this tool is a relative assessment for each organization and project manager.
   
  The tool allows you to define some strategic initiatives, but gives no detailed solutions. The tool can be used in the discussion at the steering committee to assess various project risks.


Download: Template 2.1 Project Complexity (MS Word document)
Tool 3.1 Objective Breakdown Structure

Purpose

One of the main reasons why project is crumbling, is the lack clarity objectives. It is therefore crucial that objectives are formulated in a way that describes the project assignment in a coherent manner.
   

Procedure

Step 1
Often, the structure of the objective hierarchy is built based on purpose, but it is not a condition. The structure can be made from any deliverable or purpose and  the technique is very simple. When a deliverable or object is placed on the wall (post-it), you can move up the hierarchy by asking "How?"    and down the hierarchy by asking "Why?".
   
  Step 2
Hierarchy can be elaborated by asking "How?". Continuing this questioning, the objectives become more and more detailed, and you will in principle eventually end in milestones.
   
  Step 3
After coming well into the details, you can go up the hierarchy by asking "Why?".  It is important to carry out this ascent and descent in the hierarchy few times. Only then do you get the holistic approach.
   
  Step 4
The separation of objectives and deliverables are defined by drawing a line where the project ends. Or to put it another way: to draw a line above the final deliverables when the project is completed.
   
  Step 5
After the hierarchy is established, the row below the line will be concrete deliverables that can be used directly in the future planning as work streams. If these objectives are too detailed, we have already reached the milestone level.
   
  Step 6
As the final step, it is now possible to define the purpose, deliverables and success criteria and see the interconnections. Success criteria are criteria for each sub purpose or purpose.
   
   

Download: Template 3.1 Objective Breakdown Structure (OBS) (MS PowerPoint document)
Tool 3.2 Impact Case and Benefit Tracking

Purpose

To ensure the business impact of the project, it is often necessary to achieve some behavioral changes in the organization. Therefore, it is a good idea to define which behavior impact is prerequisite for being able to achieve the business impacts.

   
  It may be appropriate to prepare an impact case, describing the impacts to be created by the project, and then how to measure these impacts during and after the project (Benefit Tracking).
   

Procedure for the
description of the impact case.

Our starting point is project Objective Breakdown Structure (OBS) that is divided into purpose, deliverables and success criteria. From this, we describe:
   
  1. The overall impact (KPI’s)
   
  2. Business impacts
  • Desired impacts on relevant dimensions, e.g.
  • Customer performance
  • Financial performance
  • Process performance
  • Compliance with external requirements
  • Intangibles and other benefits
   
 

3. Behavior impact

  • Desired impacts along relevant dimensions, e.g.
  • Behaviors, such as specific practices applied
  • Organizational capabilities demonstrated
  • Technological capabilities demonstrated
Competence, knowledge and abilities of employees
   
 

4. Success criteria
The top-level impact case of the project is often related directly to increasing growth or profitability or reducing costs. State the project’s success criteria in this perspective.

   
 

Measuring points
When the success criteria have to be measured, it is important that they are defined as relevant measuring points. There are generally five different types of metrics that can be used as a measuring points:

   
 

Satisfaction
Satisfaction is measured by statements or claims and a scale e.g. 1 through 6. Avoid center point. There can also be used statements from the participants. This type of measurement covers for example, customer, user, employee surveys.

   
 

Absolute figures
This is the simplest measure, which counts or specifies a number. E.g. throughput, number of ongoing projects, sales of the new product, number of errors, complaints

   
 

Ratio
This is the absolute value relative to an appropriate size. E.g. resources for new development/resources for maintenance,Index, average, percentage.

   
  Productivity
Productivity is defined as Impact/resource.
E.g. number of cases/number of caseworkers, number of decisions/hours.
   
 

Accuracy shots
Accuracy is about, did we achieve what we had planned. Accuracy shots is defined as actual / planned (often expressed as a percentage, outcome / objective x 100). E.g. consumed hours on the project / planned hours on project, costs / budget, actual lead time / planned lead time.

   

Procedure
concerning benefit
tracking.

When we conduct the measurements (the benefit tracking) they will often take place in the following chronological sequence:
   
 

Behavior impact

1. Reaction & planned actions.
Measuring perceived satisfaction. E.g. satisfaction after training.

2. Learning & confidence.
Measuring changes in knowledge, skills, and confidence. E.g. readiness test or exams.

3. Application & implementation
Measuring implementation and changes in behavior in the performance setting. Eg. Do they do it? Auditing, 360 degree feedback

Business impacts

4. Business impact & intangible benefits
Measuring changes in business impact variables. E.g. improvement of KPIs, shorter lead time

   

Download: Template 3.2 Impact Case and Benefit Tracking (MS Word document)
Tool 4.1 Stakeholder Analysis

Purpose

The stakeholder analysis presents the basic principles behind mapping and managing the project stakeholders.

   
 

Stakeholder analysis contributes to:

  • Setting the objective: Are the purpose, deliverables and success criteria attractive to and accepted by the most important stakeholders?
  • Planning the project structure: Are there aspects that need to be clarified with specific stakeholders before it makes sense to take the next step. How should the decision-making process be designed? What decisions need to be made first and who should be involved?
  • Risk analysis: Which stakeholders represent a risk? Can we prevent possible conflicts of interest?
  • Organization: Which stakeholders should be involved when? And how?
  • Developing the communication plan: What are the communication needs of the various stakeholders? What messages should we send to them?
   

Procedure

Step 1: Identification of stakeholders - who are they?
  • Brainstorming in the project team
  • Who are project owners, sponsors?
  • Who should use the result .... operation, maintenance?
  • Who must accept and understand the result?
  • Who will be affected (notice, be annoyed, lose something, experience benefit?)
  • Who supplies resources, time or knowledge to the project?
  • Who must accept the project work and the way it is carried out?
   
  Step 2: Mapping stakeholders’ - who are the most important stakeholders?
  • Mapping stakeholders concerning their participation and influence
  • Divide the stakeholders into four groups and prioritize them.
  • "Resource person"
  • "Grey eminences"
  • ”Hostages"
  • ”Peripheral"
   
 

Step 3: Identify stakeholders interests - what is their agenda?

  • Focus of interest in the project
  • Advantages
  • Drawbacks
   
 

Step 4: Developing strategies for managing stakeholders – what do we do?

   
Download: Template 4.1.1 - 4.1.3 Stakeholder Analysis (MS Word document)
Tool 5.1 Milestone Plan

Purpose

The milestone plan is developed to provide an overview and to control the deliverables on time, cost and quality.

   
 

To ensure the quality and acceptance of the milestone plan, the plan shall be prepared by the project team.  For example in a planning workshop where relevant stakeholders are gathered.

   
 

A good plan meets the following requirements:

  • It is prepared by the project participants to ensure high quality and acceptance.
  • It establishes a common understanding and acceptance of the approach.
  • It demonstrates correlation between the end deliverables and the path to achieving them.
  • It clearly indicates the correlation between the deliverables and the individual’s work and responsibilities.
  • It can be used for follow-up and management on several levels as well as for program and portfolio management.
  • It is broken down into levels so everything you need can fit onto a single sheet of paper.
  • It is resilient to uncertainties, thus reducing the need for constant adjustment.
  • It sets the pace and intensity of the project.
  • It shows when major risks and decisions need to be clarified.
  • It has only one critical path.
   

Procedure

The milestone plan is developed by the project team. Time is allocated according to project scope, ranging from half a day to several days.

The plan is developed on the wall using paperboard cards or post-it laps. Is the project less than 8 participants, the plan can be prepared in one group. Is the project large, it may be beneficial to split into smaller groups that take separate action (work streams)

The following is a brief description of the principles behind the plan structure. These principles also indicate the most important steps in the planning process.

Step 1. Breaking the project down into work streams
Step 2. Defining milestones within the individual work streams
Step 3. Defining dependencies between the work streams
Step 4. Breaking the plan down into phases
Step 5. Scheduling the most important decision point meetings
Step 6. Defining activities
Step 7. Estimating the time consumption of the activities

   

Examples (Template)

Milestone plans can advantageously be prepared in IT planning tools such as MS Project. Here are some examples of milestone plans, which may be written in Word, Excel and PowerPoint.

Template 1
Simple way to set milestone plan in a Word document. To the left indicate the work streams. In addition to the work streams, the  milestones are listed to the right during the different weeks. 

Template 2
Simple way to set milestone plan in a Word document.
The milestones are listed below each other. If you establish the milestone schedule in Excel, you can be sorted by date, action or responsibility.

Template 3
Corresponds to Example 2, but here is an extra column for the budget of the milestones. This makes it possible to follow - up on finance and record the progress curves for performance and economy.

Template 4
The layout is similar to Example 1, but here it is possible to show a time sequence of several months. Milestones are indicated by numbers as described in the listing.

Template 5
Corresponds to Example 4, but has been prepared in PowerPoint so that the milestones for the quarter can be displayed on an A4 page. The advantage of this approach is that it can be taken directly from the plane which is built up on the wall of cardboard card or post-it.

Download: Template 5.1.1 - 5.1.4 Milestone plans (MS Word document)



Download: Template 5.1 Milestone Plan page 7 og 8 Milestone plans (MS PowerPoint document)
Tool 5.2 Activity Descriptions

Purpose

Activity description is intended to describe the activities that are prior to the individual milestones. The aim is to ensure a common understanding of the activity and its objectives, and by this way be able to delegate activities in the project.

Activity description can also be used generally for the project's main activities to achieve good planning.
   
 

Often the activities can’t be defined for the entire project in detail. Therefore it is very common to plan in different levels.

E.g., You can have an overall main activity plan for the entire project and then a more detailed plan for the next phase or for each work stream.
   
   

Procedure

Activity description can be done in the following way:

Define the project's main activities. Often you will start by defining one main activity per milestone. You must then describe how the main activity is decomposed into sub-activities. Some steps can be defined from the start, but many can only be defined in detail as the project progresses.
This corresponds to describe a "mini project triangle" of the activity.

The activity description must show:
• What is the final deliverable, i.e. milestone?
• What resources/people do we need?
• How much time is required??
• Is the activity dependent on other activities?

Agree on who should supervise and perform each main activity, whether it is a department, a working group or project staff. Describe, in dialog with him or her, the task, intended results and documentation, as well as the recommendations that may be delivered for decisions.

Then, let the responsible describe the process subtasks, aids needed for coordination, budget, resources and costs. These factors are discussed and documented in a joint agreement.
Be careful not to "take over" the task from the responsible for the task.

Be aware, however, that the use of tools and equipment can have tremendous impact on activity duration. Therefore, if you have special circumstances that will impact the implementation, it should be noted.

   

Download: Template 5.2 Activity Description (MS Word document)
Tool 5.3 Milestone Descriptions

Purpose

The aim is to have the milestones clearly defined. A milestone is a result (partial deliverable) by a fixed date. A good milestone description makes it clear what is to be achieved, at what times, what quality is required and who is responsible.

The milestones must be defined before you can define which activities are needed to carry out the project. I.e., you define what is to be delivered before discussing how this should be done.

The milestone descriptions should be made by the person responsible for providing the milestone this is done in dialog with the project manager.

   

Procedure

It requires diligence to formulate unique milestones. First of all milestones achieved are described as a condition and not as an activity. Next, acceptance criteria and a deadline should be indicated in the description.

A milestone is not:
"Writing the report, which summarizes the research on field x".

A milestone is:
"Report completed and the summary approved by NN".

Criteria for approval
Milestones must include criteria for approval. This can be done in several ways. Consider, for instance, quality criteria that must be met (for example: "8 courses conducted and evaluated at an average of 4 on a 5-point scale").

In other cases it is not possible to have such a quantitative quality criteria, since this is due to a steering committee or a customer who is satisfied with the result. An example is: "Report on waste water pollution approved by the environment committee”.

Milestones must be described as other objectives: SMART. (Specific, measurable, accepted, realistic, time-based)

The appropriate level
It is important to be sharp in the selection of which partial deliverables you will elevate to milestones. In a work stream,  there will be many partial deliverables but only few of them are elevated to milestones; they then become the most important control points in the project.

   

Download: Template 5.3 Milestone Description (MS Word document)
Tool 5.4 Gantt Chart

Purpose

The Gantt plan is the most widely used tool for illustrating project timing and activities deadlines. The Gantt plan is mainly used for the project's main schedule. The method is good at giving an overview.

It can also be used for detailed work plans, but will often be too cumbersome to draw when planning is very detailed.
The Gantt chart is used to provide an overview at an overall level. This may be the steering committee overview of the project. Or for information for stakeholders.

It can also be used to show the location of projects in the total project portfolio or program.
   

Procedure

The Gatt plan is not as well suited for follow-up on the project, as it is difficult to determine how far each activity is in relation to the expected state, unless the activities are completed, and a result is available (milestone).

Gantt chart gives a temporal dimension from left to right. Activity and timing are indicated by sticks.
Often the symbols below are used.

In the activity column you describe the project activities and milestones for each target area. Choose an appropriate time distribution so that time can be read with sufficient precision.
With a line you indicate activity´s planned execution period.
It is recommended to take the necessary and planned duration.

   

Download: Template 5.4.1 Gantt chart (MS PowerPoint document)
Tool 5.5 Three-point Estimation and Successive Calculation

Purpose

The purpose of the estimation is to obtain:
  • A satisfactory assessment of the project's time and resources, with a minimum of effort.
  • A picture of the uncertainties in the estimates.

Since the projects are one-time tasks, nothing can be calculated completely objective, but there are several methods to produce a good estimate.

   

Procedure

The estimation can be implemented in many different ways.
We can use:
• Offers from suppliers
• Standard figures and calculations
• Experience and data from previous projects
• Comparisons with other tasks
• Simulations and experiments, etc.
• Guess and guesstimate
• Ask several people with knowledge of the type of task

One of the main tools is the breakdown of activities to a greater level of detail. One of the advantages of the decomposition is that it allows you to split the activities of various types with different uncertainties.

Four activity types

Resource-dependent activities
These are defined as activities where the result is predictable when experienced employees are used. The duration of the activity in calendar time can be cut in half if the number of resources is doubled. There is no guarantee that this correlation is completely linear, but it will be possible to reduce the duration by allocating more resources.

Process-dependent activities
Predictable, but impossible to influence. These are activities where the duration is determined by the process that must be carried out to achieve the desired result. Process-dependent activities have a low degree of uncertainty with regard to duration and result, as they are solely dependent on the process. Another characteristic of these activities is that we can’t speed up process by force.

Procedure-dependent activities
Uncertain and difficult to influence. These are the activities where specific procedures must be introduced, for instance steering committee meetings, consultation rounds or testing procedures. These activities are characterized by following pre-defined procedures, and can therefore be speeded up by force. At the same time, there is uncertainty about the result.

Problem-dependent activities
These activities involve solving a problem or developing new methods and solutions. These are generally innovation-based activities and the uncertainty rests in both the result and the duration. How long will it take and how useful is the result? There is not the same correlation between resource consumption and result as for resource-dependent activities.

The idea behind this division is to focus on the difficult activities and spend less attention to the predictable activities.
   

Procedure
Three-point estimation

Three-point estimation
Guesses can be qualified significantly using three-point estimation in which the mean value M is calculated based on three different guesses.

•                     G: “Likely guess”, i.e. the most likely estimate.
•                     O: “Optimistic guess”, i.e. the best-case estimate.
•                     P: “Pessimistic guess”, i.e. the worst-case guess.

 
 

The following formula is often used in popular PC planning tools for estimating the mean value:
M = (O + 3G + P) / 5
What is interesting about this three-point estimate is that it gives us an idea of the degree of uncertainty of an activity. How great is the difference between the different guesses? The size of the spread is an expression of the activity’s uncertainty.

Consequently, it is more realistic to indicate the times as intervals. If the plan needs to be more certain, it is necessary to calculate an “addition” to the mean value. The spread S is an expression of this “addition”, which you must work with to achieve greater certainty that the estimate can contain:

68 percent certainty: Time consumption is max.                 M +S
95 percent certainty: Time consumption is max.                 M +2S
99 percent certainty: Time consumption is max.                 M +3S

The spread S is: S = (P – O) / 5
   
 

Template 1 can be used to conduct the three-point estimation

   

Procedure
Successive calculation

 

Successive calculation and planning

Successive calculation builds on the principle that activities with a large spread can be broken down into sub-activities via one or more steps until all spreads are approximately the same size. The smaller sub-activities are more manageable, and can be estimated more precise, because they contain only one type of activity.
 
 

In the figure, the activity A has a sizeable spread. This is therefore broken down into activities B and C, where activity C is relatively uncertain and therefore has a large spread. That activity is therefore broken down into D and E, which reveals that D has a sizeable spread and must therefore be broken down again into activities F and G.
                     
The point is to focus on the uncertainty and specify the uncertain activities by breaking them down. A fundamental element of good project management is focusing on what can go wrong – that is, on the uncertainty in the project.
It’s not a good idea to break everything down, as this just creates a lot of calculation work while reducing overview.
                     
When activity A is broken down, the mean value of the entire series of activities will increase. The mean value of B+F+G+E is greater than the mean value of A. Basically, it will take longer (the white fields in the figure), but because the activities will be less uncertain, the total spread will be reduced (the gray fields in the figure).

The mean value M of the series of activities is calculated as:
M = M1 + M2 + M3

The total spread S of the series of activities is calculated as:

It’s a good idea to continue breaking down the activities until the total spread can no longer be reduced. Any further breakdown will be a waste of time. For some projects, the breakdown process continues until an acceptable degree of uncertainty has been reached, for instance measured as a percentage of the mean.
It is also a good idea to break down the activities so that no single activity carries more than, say, 1 percent of the total uncertainty.

 
  Template 2 can be used to conduct successive calculation.

Download: Template 5.5.1 Three-point estimation & 5.5.2 Successive calculation (MS Word document)



Download: Template Three-point estimation & 5.5.2 Successive calculation (MS PowerPoint document)
Tool 5.6 Risk Analysis

Purpose

We define a Risk R as the Likelihood L that an event will occur with a specific Consequence C: R = L x C.  The risk, then, is a product of the likelihood that something will happen and the consequence of it happening. It may therefore be relevant to reduce either the likelihood or the consequence – and in some cases to plan on reducing both.

When we discuss risks, it is always based on some notion about how the project will be carried out. Risk can only be defined based on an existing plan. Risk analysis can be broken down into two elements: what are the greatest risks and what do we do about them.

   

Procedure

What are the greatest risks?
Run through all that can go wrong – preferably at a meeting or workshop with the entire project team. Use checklists, experience and brain storming to assess causes and effects.
                     
Once you have a list of everything that can go wrong, the consequence of the individual events needs to be determined. This is done by assessing the individual events on a kind of “Richter scale”, like earthquakes. Small tremors in the project that cause irritation are ranked as 1. Significant ripples and delays requiring a revision of the plan and budget are ranked as 3. Finally, we have serious events that prevent project completion and ultimately result in the project being shut down altogether. These are ranked as 5.

Prevention and mitigation
The next step is an assessment of the initiatives that can reduce the likelihood that the individual events will arise and what the plan B might be if the event should arise. We have two fundamental strategies:

  • Preventive measures for reducing the likelihood (requires resources, whether the event actually occurs or not).
  • Plan B: mitigating measures to minimize the consequences (often only requires resources if the event actually occurs).

The choice of strategy depends on the conditions below.

High likelihood, minor consequence
This type of event is a bit “sneaky” because we do not normally worry about risks that have limited consequences. However, they have a high likelihood and therefore often occur. The most important thing when dealing with this type of risk is to reduce the likelihood of the event occurring.

High likelihood, serious consequence (high risk)
In a situation where the likelihood is high and the consequence is serious, then the risk is high. In such cases, it is not enough to prevent and reduce the likelihood. It may also be relevant to have a plan B if things go wrong.
                     
Low likelihood, serious consequence
In this situation, the project is monitored to determine if plan B needs to be implemented.
At a specified time, the decision is made whether to initiate plan B. The decision point must be early enough to ensure that plan B can be carried out within the project’s original timeframe. 
                     
Low likelihood, minor consequence (minimal risk)
In this situation, it is not appropriate to initiate preventive measures before we see whether the project develops in a negative direction. The situation must therefore be monitored.

Both the preventive and the mitigating measures need to be specific enough that they can be incorporated into the milestone plan. After completing the risk analysis, the plan must be adjusted – otherwise the plan would not be more robust.

   

Download: Template Template 5.6.1 - 5.6.2 Risk Analysis. (MS PowerPoint document)
Tool 5.7 Financial Follow-up

Purpose

The purpose for this description is to ensure that a financial follow-up is possible both in terms of project costs and in terms of business impact.

The aim is to ensure that the budget is structured so that it can be used for follow-up. It requires that there is a relationship between the economy, milestones and deliverables.

   

Procedure

Project budget
In order to allow follow-up on phase or work stream level, it is necessary that the budget be divided into phases and work streams. In many cases it will be necessary to divide the budget on milestone level such that the cost to reach each milestone is budgeted.

Project costs can be budgeted and monitored using the template "Economy Follow-up on milestones".

In a program or portfolio, the total cost can be followed using the template: "Economy tracking projects in phase model".

Business follow-up requires that there are defined success criteria. If you select the same success criteria for all projects, these can be summed to a business value.

Follow-up on the business requires, beyond the financial follow-up that you also followed up on the success criteria. It is a good idea to follow up on the success criteria in each phase, as the knowledge base grows.

It is important to note that the business impact may change significantly, although the cost of the project itself has not changed.

The success criteria that may be relevant to follow may for example be: Increased gross margins due to higher market share, increased gross margins due to higher selling prices and lower production cost. It could be savings due to fewer errors, shorter lead, etc.
   

Download: Template Template 5.7.1 - 5.7.2 Economy (MS Word document)
Tool 6.1 Distribution of Responsibilities

Purpose

Description of responsibilities used to clarify expectations and define the project participants' roles and responsibilities and to ensure that the responsibilities and tasks are well thought out and clearly communicated.

The Responsibilities form must be introduced as a tool at project start, i.e. when the project team is working to make the plan for the project.
It is essential that the form is used actively in the project team, and that it is updated and reflects the changes that happen with the project and the plan.

   

Procedure

Note all involved in the project in the top row - both project participants in the team, steering committee members and reference group members.

Notes work streams and milestones in the fields to the left and indicate who is responsible for the work stream / milestone.

Note how the individual should be involved or the individual's role:

  • R = Responsible   
  • CO = Carry out   
  • I = Informed   
  • A = Approves   
  • C = To be consulted

Ensure compliance with the plan. Each team member is assigned a line. In the intersections indicate the roles using a letter symbol. Choose a relevant sample of the symbols.

Agreements on responsibilities and tasks should be done in dialog with project participants. If the project makes this alone he/she reduces the likelihood that the individual participant is experiencing the description as a commitment.

   

Download: Template 6.1. Distribution of Responsibilities (MS Word document)
Tool 6.2 Project Anchoring

Purpose

The project should be organized so that it is anchored firmly in the leadership, the rest of the organization and with any external partners. The purpose is to ensure the project the best possible working conditions. The project organization should be visible, it must be designed for each project, it must be a quorum and be customer oriented.

   

Procedure

The project is organized in three different units.

The steering committee, incl. project owner
The steering committee is the project's anchor in the rest of the organization and has the following roles:

  • Ordering assignment
  • Must provide the resources needed.
  • Approves the results.
  • Taking the overall decisions.
  • Must have ownership of the operation after the project.

It is therefore important that the steering committee is placed at the right level. It should not be so high that the leaders do not have the time or interest in the project. On the other hand the steering committee needs to have the necessary power. A small and powerfull steering committee is appropriate.

The project team                                                                       
The project team is the work group. Participants are selected based on professional criteria, so they are able to provide quality work at a high level. All participants in the project team are there to work and therefore need to have time for the job.

For larger projects, it is appropriate to have a core group consisting of project manager and subproject leaders. Each subproject has a number of participants.

Reference groups or hearing committees
Specialists, who are invited for consultation and coaching, and other important stakeholders are placed appropriately in a reference group or groups.

Organizing the project is much essential for its success. It's a big part of the project manager's job to ensure that the organization is in order. It is important that the project manager - along with the project owner – does not struggle to get the project organized appropriately.

   

Download: Template 6.2 The project organization (MS Word document)
Tool 6.3 The Resource Contract

Purpose

The purpose of resource contract is to provide an overview of the resources expended in the project and to make a clear agreement with each project participant about what he/she expected to contribute concerning time and deliverables.

   

Procedure

The resource contract is an agreement between the project participants and the project manager.
The contract agreed on deliverables, deadline and other resources for the individual participants, so that the project manager has an agreement, and so that participants can make visible to their manager that they are booked to the project.

The project manager can get an overview of resource use in the project making an aggregation of the resource contracts.

The employee can get an overview of its work load with projects making an aggregation of the individual contracts from various projects.

The project manager can by adding the employees' contracts get a picture of the project workload in the department.

The resource contract is completed on the basis of a conversation between team member and project manager. The contract can be completed at the end of that conversation or a party afterwards, which requires that both parties approve the contract subsequently.

Resource contract is only useful if both parties attach value to them. It often requires that the management team also demand them. Resource contract is best suited to projects where it is possible to some extent to predict the drain of resources.

   

Download: Template 6.3 The Resource Contract (MS Word document)
Tool 7.1 Project Journal

Purpose

The purpose of the project journal is to:
  • Maintain decisions in the project team and other working groups
  • Ensure follow-up on decisions.

Project Journal is used by the project manager and subproject managers, who are responsible for different areas of responsibility. It is completed by a person who is chairing the meeting, the secretary or project manager.

Project Journal is used instead of minutes. The Project Journal has the advantage that there is only one list to be used for follow-up, in contrast to the minutes of meetings in which one often has to take two to three minutes back to allow follow-up.

 

   

Procedure

The Project Journal is completed in the sense that all decisions will be noted. At each decision it is stated who is responsible, and when the activity / decision must be completed.

At the project meetings the team used the Project Journal for follow-up. The agreed decision can be "chopped off" when it is finished. This means that the list become shorter from the "top" and longer at the "bottom", when new things are agreed.

The result is that there is always only one list of outstanding issues.

The Project Journal does not substitute active monitoring and management, but is a good tool to maintain decisions and keep participants up on agreements.

   

Download: Template 7.1 Project Journal (MS Word document)
Tool 7.2 Minutes of Meetings

Purpose

The purpose of the meeting minutes is to maintain decisions taken at meetings relating to the project.

   

Procedure

The project manager is responsible for the preparation of the minutes, but does not need to write the minutes. However, it is important that the project manager approves the minutes and ensures that the most important points and decisions are clear before it is distributed to the other participants for information or approval.

The minutes are only interesting if it they are used actively to document decisions made at meetings, including who is responsible for the execution of certain actions.

   

Download: Template 7.2 Minutes of Meetings (MS Word document)
Tool 7.3 Project Review

Purpose

The aim of the project review is to:
  • Conduct quality assurance of the development work.
  • Find as many defects as possible in the present result
This type of review, also called examination, is a formal, documented review of a well-defined piece of work, where there are invited key people who critically examine and assess the work. This may be a product concept, a prototype, drawings or a plan to be presented and criticized.
   

Procedure

Review takes place in the following steps

1. Call for key personnel from relevant disciplines or organizational units.

2. Preparation. Before the meeting, all information on how individuals should prepare. Which point of view should be used during the review? The review carried out for certain viewing angles "glasses". For example - a design reviews with safety glasses, environmental concerns, from manufacturing or serviceability, etc.

Participants must be able to assess the following:

  • Meets the work of the original objectives and requirements?
  • Is the work a good basis for further work?
  • Non-compliance with the performance requirements, reliability requirements, standards, financial requirements, etc.?
  • Can the assessed work function in the whole?
  • Is the documentation adequate and understandable?

Each participant has at least one positive and one critical remark.

3. The review - the execution of the meeting
The meeting is chaired by a moderator. Project manager / project team is spectator and must only listen.

  • The meeting duration is known so key people do not suddenly go.
  • The subject is the result not the person who prepared the result.
  • Problems are listed up, but will not be solved at the meeting.
  • Review meeting conducted as a brainstorming session with the aim of finding as many problems and or errors. The game rules are the same as for brainstorming: Critique and evaluation of the opinions of others are absolutely prohibited. The aim is to get as many complaints as possible and combine criticisms.
  • The allegations should be weighted so we do not to start to improve minor problems.
  • Decisions regarding acceptance despite missing must be unanimous. Each participant shares the responsibility.

4. Documentation of results   
The allegations are noted in a summary. Next to each complaint there is also stated that the problem must be changed, should be changed or not is important. Decisions are also noted in the minutes.

The moderator is responsible for the minutes.

5. After the meeting
The minutes shall be approved by signature of all participants.        
Participants are required to raise objections within a week of the meeting, if they do not agree with the minutes.

   

Download: Template 7.3 Project Review (MS Word document)
Tool 8.1 The Communication Plan

Purpose

The communication plan must ensure that the project has a strategy for how and when to communicate to the relevant stakeholders in the project.

The purpose is to:

  • Prevent or reduce resistance against the project and
  • Create and maintain awareness of the project among relevant stakeholders.

It is crucial to consider the project's communications already in the initial planning. The communication plan must be developed in the project's start-up phase, specifically after the stakeholder analysis and risk analysis have been made, as they both provide valuable input to the communication plan.

   

Procedure

Template 8.1 outlining the what a good communication plan should include. Below are the items elaborated:

Who: Which stakeholder is targeted for communication

What: What is the message?

Where: The medium or the place where the communication should occur, who is the sender?

What impact: What will you achieve that stakeholders must do as a result of the communication?

When: Specify in relation to phases and milestones the timing.

Responsibility: Who in the project team is responsible?

The communication plan should be included as a work stream in the plan, and there must be formulated milestones and actions.
   

Download: Template 8.1 The Communication Plan (MS Word document)
Tool 8.2 Resistance to Change Mapping

Purpose

In an organizational change project, it is appropriate to assess stakeholders' opposition to the planned changes. The method is well suited to develop alternative approaches to minimize resistance from various stakeholders. The analysis is performed to:

  • Evaluate what each stakeholder benefits from the project.
  • Assess how much contribution or sacrifice each stakeholder must deliver as a result of the project.
  • Assess the areas of concern for the individual stakeholders regarding to the future solution.
Develop measures that can minimize stakeholder resistance and maximize their proceeds.
   

Procedure

The “Resistance to Change Mapping” can be used in many contexts and forums. For example. can the project team develop it on behalf of the stakeholders? The purpose here is to make the team clear on the stakeholders' attitude to the project.

The analysis can also be conducted with the stakeholders: it requires a good facilitator who manages to involve the stakeholders in the following steps.

Step 1:
The current situation is noted in Template 8.3 in the left column. Why should the current situation change? In the same step the vision and benefits of the future situation is described in the right column.

Step 2:
All the benefits of the current situation are described, seen in the eyes of the stakeholder group.
After the advantages describe the drawbacks of the future situation. These drawbacks will often be directly related to the employees' uncertainty and fear concerning the future.

Step 3:
Conclude in terms of the stakeholder group's perception of the upcoming change. The stakeholders will often feel that they are losing the benefits they have and get the disadvantages of the future system. Often they have difficulty seeing the drawbacks of the current system and the vision of the future system.

   

Download: Template 8.2 Resistance to Change Mapping (MS Word document)
Tool 9.1 Project Team Recruitment

Purpose

By spending time in a targeted recruitment of project Participants, the project leader may secure influence on how the project team is composed and hence the persons he/she has to the work within the project.

The purpose is to:

  • Ensure the right professional skills to the project
  • Ensure the proper social skills and dedication from start
   

Procedure

 There is a big difference in project maturity in various organizations in terms og recruitment procedures for project managers and participants.

In some organizations, the rule is that all the jobs relate to projects and are posted on a common "project exchange" so that employees can apply here. Elsewhere, the line management will appoint project manager and participants and

enter into formal contracts, while a third variant is that the project itself will find participants to the project and are dependent on each participant who find the project interesting.

.The recruitment process can be considered in the following steps:

Step 1: Preliminary analysis of needs
Depending on the project scope, the project participants will first be recruited after an initial analysis of the overall project or the next project phase. In dialog with the project owner, the following are assessed:

  • What professional skills do we need for the project?
  • How many resources do we need and for how long?

Step 2: Design of advertisement
Formed an advertisement. The design depends on whether it is an internal or external advertisement.

Step 3: Dialogue with middle managers
If the job is advertised internally, it is very important to get the leaders to agree, before the ad goes up. They should be advised that it happens and there should be an agreed clear guidance on what the procedure is, if one of their employees is looking for and maybe get the job.

Consider in particular:

  • Must executives/managers be informed if one of their employees is looking for the job?
  • Can the project manager inquire boss/leader concerning the employee's effort, skills and behavior?
  • How must boss/leader be asked / informed by you after interviews if it is planning to staff one of their employees in the project?

Step 4: Conduct interviews and selection of suitable candidates
There may be a relatively large work concerning incoming applications, answer them and conduct interviews. However, if the project has a certain size and importance the time is well spent. It is important that the recruitment takes place professionally and that all interested get feedback on their applications.

Step 5: Conclusion of resource contracts
It may be a good idea to hold a meeting with the selected project participant, his or her manager and project manager, which fills a resource contract, see Tool. The aim is to ensure that all parties have the same understanding of the resources to be allocated to the project.

Step 6. The first conversation between the project manager and project participant.
Create a good relationship with your project participants and show them that they are specially selected because they are important for the project. Talk to them about the following:

  • What experience do they have from previous assignments that the project may benefit from.
  • What are their special interests in the project.
  • Where do the participants see the most exciting tasks.
  • What do you expect of them as project participant.
  • Do the participants have special expectations from you as a project leader.
   
Tool 9.2 The Team Constitution

Purpose

The purpose of defining rules or a team constitution is to create a common understanding in the project of how the cooperation should be carried out. Team members shall formulate the rules that precisely this group should work according to.

The team constitution can be defined in the start-up or on the way if  you experience emerging conflicts. In the beginning, there is typically no conflict, allowing a freer discussion. The team constitution can help to prevent or reduce conflicts - provided they actively used.
   

Procedure

Preparation: The project manager should consider where this group needs clear agreements concerning the cooperation, before the group starts.     E.g. What do we do when we disagree on the method? What do we do when some of the group did not participate in a meeting? How do we distribute the less exciting tasks?
Make sure that these themes will be involved in the discussion.

The group may of course find a common team constitution just by talking about it in the team, but here is a little more systematic approach. The tool 'The Team Constitution’ "was developed friendly inspired from the book "Active Project Management" by Andersen, Ahrengot and Ryding Olsson, Børsen 2002.

Working on the team constitution takes 2-3 hours, and there is a need for follow-up later when the team undergoes the minutes of the agreed statements.

The tool consists of 18 statements that the team is working on in three steps:

1. Individual answers.
2. Joint discussion on selected or all statements.
3. Decision on the team constitution.

The project manager can also select the statements that he / she considers most important and limit himself/herself to using these.

In order to have an impact, the rules must be used actively in the future cooperation. E.g., for regular evaluations of the work in the project team.
   

Download: Template 9.2.1 The Team Constitution (MS Word document)
Tool 9.3 Evaluation and Feedback

Purpose

Evaluation and feedback are tools that identify inappropriate behavior and provide an opportunity to correct this. Another purpose of the evaluation is to give - and get - information about what you as a project participant do well. The good feedback and evaluation obviously promote the required behavior while the individual and group develop self-confidence and energy.

   

Procedure

The first prerequisite for evaluating the work is that the project manager ensures that all are evaluated along the way. By pre-positioning evaluation sessions at selected points in the project, for example, after each milestone or after every third meeting, you will ensure that there is time for evaluations in the project.

The second requirement is that the project manager creates a framework which ensures that the evaluation will be appreciative, specific, constructive and forward-looking. The evaluation shall not only give the interested persons motivation and self-confidence, but must also inspire for a better effort next time.

They will find many ways to do this. The following describes three small methods for evaluation and feedback.

1. Evaluation of the group's work
Assess the work in the project team. Describe what went well and what would you do differently if you were to start now.

Consider both process and outcome

Getting all the people on the field, so it is not only the most "vociferous" that dominates. The feedback is not a public "punishment" of individuals in the project, but a serious dialog that creates future learning.

Everyone involved in the evaluation, is starting to fill in the form below individually. Think of both the group's cooperation in the project and the project results.

You may agree to focus on a more limited area for evaluation, for e.g. dialog with the steering committee, cooperation in the recently completed phase.

   

Download: Template 9.3.1 Evaluation & 9.3.2 Written individual feedback (MS Word document)
Tool 9.4 Planning Workshop

Purpose

Planning Workshop is used at the project start and at the phase start.

The aim is to:

  • Ensure quality of the plan by involving of all disciplines in the planning process.
  • Ensure acceptance and ownership from all responsibles participating in the planning.
To achieve rapid mobilization and the start of the project.
   

Procedure

The participants in the planning workshop are the project staff. The usefulness of the workshop is precisely that all project participants are involved, including those who only need to make a performance later in the process.

The project team devotes a day or two depending on the project scope. The plan is drawn up on the wall using cardboard cards or Post-it stickers. If the project team is less than eight participants, you can prepare the plan in one group. If the project is large, it may be beneficial to split into smaller groups, each working in his field of action (workstream).

A planning workshop may well be held with participation of customers and suppliers. But it must then be prepared extra well. Besides at the start of the project, a planning workshop can also be used with advantage in the following situations:

Change of pace: The project should be finished earlier than planned, or it is for other reasons necessary to increase the pace.

Restart: The project is delayed or has been paused. Now you want to restart the project and bring it back on track.

Phase start-up: At the start of each phase in larger projects, it may be fruitful to conduct a detailed planning of the next phase. This ensures insight, motivation, and focus on the critical elements of phase and shall ensure that any new project participant will obtain knowledge and commitment.

Crisis seminar/problem-solving seminar: Crisis can often be resolved by the project team if they meet and draw up plans: "What do we do now".

Transfer to operation: It may be appropriate that the project team and representatives of the operating organization conduct a seminar together where the transition into operation is planned.

   
Tool 10.1 Project List

Purpose

The form "Project List" completed to:
  • Collect data from all the projects in a document.
  • Provide PMO/project committee overview of all projects.
  • Provide opportunity for a comprehensive resource and investment calculation.
  • Collect data on all projects to facilitate portfolio management.

The project list is a list of all the projects, indicating the most important project information, eg. project number, project manager, budget, termination, indicating the current phase, success criteria, project priority and risk figures.

   

Procedure

  • Once a project has been at the PMO/project committee meeting and passed through a "gate", the figures are adjusted in the project list.
  • The project list also indicates compliance with the plan. If a project does not pass the milestone or "gate" on time, then you change the last column of the table "On plan" from “Yes” to “No”. Traffic lights with green and red are often used. This column can also refer to milestone compliance, depending on how dense the data is.
  • The project list is maintained by the PMO/project committee  secretary. The project list is updated after PMO/project committee  meetings.
  • The project list can be used directly or as a basis for various graphical representations of the project portfolio.
  • An aggregation of the resources column gives an overview of the resource requirements in the project portfolio. The same can be done with the column "Investments".
  • Some companies report the amount of the anticipated benefits of the project instead of the column "Strategic fit or impact ". The business case for the complete project portfolio is defined by summing column for strategic fit or impact, investments and resources.

 

   

Download: Template 10.1 Project List - Portfolio Management (MS Word document)
Tool 10.2 Portfolio Overview

Purpose

The project portfolio is shown graphically in order to:

  • Provide an image on a single page that can give a quick overview so the portfolio management can take the necessary decisions.
  • Provide the product committee or steering groups an overview of the project portfolio status.
  • Collect data on all projects to allow the portfolio management making the right priorities.

The graphical overview is used during meetings in the project committee or steering committee to qualify the discussions on possible decisions. The statement works in some cases as a graphic representation of information in the project list.

   

Procedure

Before deciding which type of report that is appropriate to the situation, it is important to clarify the following:
  • What decisions must be made on the basis of the statement?
  • What factors should be visualized in the overview?
  • What data is needed to make the overview?
Below are shown various examples of portfolio overviews, which can easily be combined.

Example 1: Portfolio Overview – the project list
This type of report is a graphical project list which focuses on important danger signals.

The principle is a project list of devices on the important parameters: progression, resources and risk. Green indicates no problems, yellow means trouble brewing, and red are existing problems.

Example 2: Timeline Indicating the status

This type of report is often used in project portfolios where resource allocation can be crucial. The statement does not indicate importance or significance. The individual projects are plotted as an Gant chart with signal colors indicating the overall risk.

In Example 2A, the gray color indicates project progress today. Green indicates low risk, that there is high probability for future compliance.
Yellow is trouble brewing, and red indicates high risk.

In Example 2B, the assessed delays are plotted. It can be the rule that it must always be considered for projects that are not green.

If resources from project 3 must be used in the future project, there may be problems with resource allocation.

Example 3: Classical portfolio overview
The classic image of the portfolio, which allows a balanced assessment based on their significance, the cost level (size of the circles) and project risk. This report is often used by top management and can be plotted from information in the project list.

Review can be complemented with different color codes and texts in circles. In this case, the projects are placed on two axes concerning strategic importance and risk.

The circles determine each project resource consumption.
The color indicates the termination compliance.

In the circle, the text can indicate project number, phase, initials on the project and so on.

Download: Template 10.2. Portfolio Overview - Project list (MS PowerPoint document)
Tool 10.3 Project KPIs

Purpose

The template "Project KPI’s" is completed to:

  • Collect the key figures in a document.
  • Be able to see the ongoing development of the project indicators.
  • Give the steering group to compare projects on selected ratios.
  • Provide opportunity for a comprehensive resource priorities.

Collect data on project development for collecting experience.

The most important figures are assembled on one page, creating an overview of the project's development and history. The table is constructed in such a way that it always shows the project status against plan and budget.
The key figures include dates, resources, indicators of the desired results, the project's importance and risk.

The project manager can use the chart to collect experiences and adjust the estimates.

The steering committee is using the form for assessment of the project's development, especially the commercial development of the project and to prioritize multiple projects.
   

Procedure

The form follows the project throughout the project life cycle and can be placed on the project portal.
In Phase 1 the project manager fills out the column under "Phase 1". towards the final project contract refined estimates. After the final decision concerning project start (in this case Phase 2) the current figures are introduced in the table under Phase 2

The updated schedule is forwarded to the steering committee as input to all decisionmaking meetings. At steering committee meetings project importance is defined, and imported into the table. That way there is an updated assessment of the individual projects importance in the portfolio.

The figures from this table can be joined to an overview indicating the portfolio total business value.

In order to ensure overview, it is necessary to limit the number of information. There is a tendency that the project's importance and risk figures are repetitions of the previous assessments. It is important to conduct a proper assessment each time.

   

Calculating the value
of the portfolio

On the basis of ratios from all the projects, it is possible quarterly to make a count of the last current column of ratios forms.

This could be done in the form below. This form will then indicate the total value of the project portfolio. This requires that all projects indicate the same type of success criteria, for example, sales for the next three years, saving, change in gross margin. It will also be possible to calculate the total payback time for the portfolio.

It can be valuable to follow developments in the portfolio's total value.
   
   

Download: Template 10.3.1 Project KPI’s & 10.3.2 Portfolio value (MS Word document)
Tool 10.4 Health check or Risk level check

Purpose

The analysis of risk level or the health check is completed to:

  • Assess the project risk in a standardized way, so that the risk is comparable to other projects.
  • Assess the project's risk at various times during the project.
  • Create focus on insecure areas in the project.
  • Create a basis for prioritization of projects, so that the project portfolio is composed in a balanced way.
   

Procedure

A uniform way of assessing project risk level. Some talk about the project "health" or health checks, but then the scale must be reversed.

More people benefit from the Health check or Risk level check

  • Product committee uses the risk level for portfolio management and prioritization of individual projects.
  • The project team uses the analysis to the planning of the next phase of the project.
  • The analysis indicates the risk factors in the project the project manager must have this focus.

When a project phase is completed, the project team completes the form in the project. The risk level are discussed, so that the entire project team has a common understanding of what risk factors there will be in the next phase.

The form "risk-level check" has the following structure:
The form has a number of statements, which are essential for the project. Next to each statement you can record a number of points.

For each section, the total is calculated, which is then divided by 10. The totals for each section are transferred to page 1 in the tool. The totals for the different sections are summed finally on page one.

There may be a tendency that the scores are repetitions of the previous assessments. It is important that you do a proper assessment each time.

   
   

Download: Template 10.4 Health check or Risk-level check (MS Word document)
Tool 10.5 Strategic Fit of Project

Purpose

The table "Strategic Fit" is completed in order to:

  • Provide the product committee/steering committee the opportunity to prioritize projects based upon commercial and strategic considerations.
  • Provide an opportunity to compare and prioritize projects.
  • Provide the opportunity to assess whether the project is commercially or strategically interesting.
   

Procedure

Carry out an assessment of its "Strategic Fit" based on a series of statements. These statements focus on the benefits desired by the project. These can be strategic, political or commercial benefits.

The product committee /steering committee is using the form for portfolio management and prioritization of individual projects.

  • During the product committee or steering committee meeting, the project's commercial or political importance is assessed. Is this project still interesting?
  • The discussion can be based on the information in the table. Have there been changes in the market/strategic issues since the last meeting? The changes may be caused by the incoming data from the project team on the table: "Project KPIs". If there are changes, it is a good idea to update the form "Strategic Fit".
  • Complete the table by evaluating the various statements and assess the project's impact on these statements. Does the project have a great influence, the score is high (5) - is the project's impact low, the score is low (1). Finally the numbers are summed. The information can be transferred to the Project KPIs or Project List.
  • The attached example comes from new product development project. In the case of organizational change projects, the statements must deal with the desired effect, for example. savings, greater flexibility, better customer satisfaction, shorter lead times and so on. Projects in political organizations must be judged from statements that support the policy objectives and policy statements.

It is essential that relevant parameters are selected, when the statements are formulated. It is important that the criteria on this form can be found in the project success criteria, as they should describe what you want to achieve with the project.

   
   

Download: Template 10.5 Strategic Fit (MS Word document)
Tool 10.6 Project Auditing

Purpose

Project auditing is conducted to assess whether the organization is executing projects aligned with the project management model and the project model.

The aim is to improve the project execution, so that it is consistent with the project management model or to adjust the model, where it is not appropriate.

   

Procedure

The project audit is carried out by the program management, project committee, project manager or steering committee.

Often, the project management office is responsible for the practical implementation of the audit.

The results of the audit can be used to launch project manager training, describe the project processes that are not appropriate or adjust in project work form.

The audit is to verify that the projects are carried out as prescribed. This means that it is a prerequisite that the project process is described in a project management model, otherwise there is nothing to audit!

The auditing is done in this way: The project manager is invited for an interview, where the project is reviewed. It is judged whether meetings are held as scheduled, is the plan followed, are administrative routines followed, e.g., is stakeholder analysis prepared has risk analysis been conducted, are there minutes of meetings.

They may also be involved conducting interviews of project participants or to ask them to fill in a form similar to the Health check or Risk level check (see this tool).

Based on the results, the individual project manager gets feedback on his own management. The total picture from all projects will provide the project director feedback on where the project work form should be professionalized.

Beware it may not seem like control the idea is organizational learning.

It is unethical to measure project managers up to standards, they are not familiar with or trained in. Auditing therefore requires a described project management model, and the project managers are trained in it, and that the management itself follows it.

   
   
Tool 10.7 Project Management Model – Project models

Purpose

The Project Management Model should ensure the quality of all the management activities in the projects. The Project Model is designed to ensure the quality of the project product. It provides a common language and terminology of the organization with respect to the project execution and the project process.

There are differences on a ” Project Management Model” and a ” Project Model”

The Project Management Model ensure "the quality of the project management". The focus is typically on the requirements for project organization, roles, responsibilities, decision points, management tools and reporting, etc.

The Project Models ensure quality through standardization of methods, tools, etc. concerning solution of specific project types and is therefore focusing on typical process / methods within a specific academic discipline, or special type of project .
   

Procedure

Start by defining the types of projects implemented in the organization. There may be different requirements for different types of projects, but it is appropriate to have one overall generic project management model.

The Project Management Model consists of:

  • Project management phases
  • Decision points for the steering committee or program management
  • Management tools, for example templates for project description, plan, risk analysis, stakeholder analysis, etc.
  • Principles of organization and roles
  • Principles of division into workstreams

The Project Models consist of:

  • Project phases,
  • Professional tools, templates for test plans, description of test methods, templates for statistical standards, etc.
  • Description of professional processes and workflows.
Do not make the overall project management model for detailed. It must be applicable to all project types. Try to avoid too many variants of project models. It is about creating an overview and common language and methodology. The model must be flexible, so it is not too rigid. If the model is not followed (also by management), it will not work.
   
   

Download: Template 10.7.1 Project Management Model & 10.7.2 Project Models (MS Word document)
Tool 10.8 Project Descriptions, Project Contract

Purpose

  • To define the agreement between the steering committee and the project manager.
  • Describe what the project team needs to deliver to agreed times.
  • Resources (money and time) that are allocated to the project.
  • To define the responsibilities and roles in the project.
  • The overall timeframe for the project.

The project description defines the three corners of
project triangle: the quality of the deliverables, time and resources.

The project description (contract) is the agreement concluded between the steering committee and the project. The contract describes what the project must deliver at the termination, as well as what the steering committee has to "pay" for this service – the resources.

   

Procedure

Normally, the steering committee or the client makes an overall draft for their wishes to deliverables and deadline.

It's is then the  project manager and key project participants' task to analyze how these desires or objectives can be achieved. They then prepare a proposal for the project description, which then must be negotiated with the steering committee or project owner.

Once the agreement has been reached in the contract, it becomes the existing agreement between the project owner and the project team.  The agreement is mutual and can’t be changed without both parties' consent.
It is the project manager's responsibility that the project contract is adequate and updated all times.

Attached you find two examples of such a project description / project contract. The first example will supply you with the necessary points to be described in a project description.

The second example comes from a specific company. Here are the descriptions so extensive that the contract is merely a front for the entire documents can be on many pages. The contract is used as a cover and table of contents for the documents to be approved by the steering committee. The contract is signed by the project manager and the steering committee chairman or project owner.

   
   

Download: Template 10.8.1 Project Descriptions & Template 10.8.2 Project Contract (MS Word document)
Tool 10.9 Idea Description

Purpose

The idea descriptions form is designed to get ideas documented in a fast and simple way.
The Idea descriptions form is constructed such that it can be completed without knowing all the facts concerning market size, cost and so on. These business conditions must be clarified later if it turns out that the idea is interesting.
   

Procedure

The form is completed by the creator (author) and archived in a central idea bank. The idea will be discussed at regular meetings in the product committee and will be assessed and prioritized.

If the idea is interesting, there will be allocated resources for detailed investigations of market conditions and technological opportunities.

The disposition of the form indicates the minimum requirements for a good idea. Already by filling out the form there will be a sorting, because there is actually not a product idea, if it is not possible to describe the six points in the form.

At the top of the form you record the customer segment. It is important because the value of the idea depends on the customer group involved.

Description of the product idea
A brief outline: What is "it"? What does "it"? Why are these features?

Description of the market, the customers use of the product.
Who are the customers? Is the market a homogenous group of this type of customer? Is the market in US or in Europe?

Technical conditions
A brief outline, is it something we already have. If we do not know the technology, how do we solve the problem? Is there a special principle or concept of the idea?

How is your product better than existing solutions and how it differs from competing products?
The new product idea should not only be better in competition with other products, but also with the existing solutions. You must therefore describe how the idea is better. It is not enough to solve a problem for the customer. It must be solved better than how the competitor does.

What benefits will the customer group receive from this new product compared to known solutions?
What is the impact of the benefits listed for the customer? What are the benefits for the customer if there are multiple customer groups? What are the yields of different customer groups?

Why should we be the first? Are we the best for this solution? Is it a good business?                                            
It is not enough to solve a problem to the customer's satisfaction. We must also be able to earn money from it.

Enclosed you will find two examples of idea description forms. The first example comes from an idea bank in a R&D department. The second comes from a municipality and is a description of project ideas for internal change projects.
   

Download: Template 10.9.1 & 10.9.2 Idea descriptions form (MS Word document)