Practice Exams:

PRINCE2 Practitioner – Introduction to Processes Part 3

  1. Process No 4 Controlling a Stage Part 1

You will recall from the principle of management stages, certain things happen that you need to remember for the exam. Such as additionally, the project manager suggests a way to break the project into management stages. This plan is then submitted to the project board for approval. The minimum number of stages that a principal project can have is two the initiation stage and one other stage. To increase or decrease the level of control the project board has over the project. They can increase or decrease the number of management stages, but increasing the number of stages increases the demand on the project board’s. Time the project board will authorize the project manager to manage the project one stage at a time. The project manager does not need to bother the project board during the stage as long as the project is forecast to remain within tolerance.

Objective the objective of the controlling stage process is to ensure that attention is focused on delivery of the management stages products. Any movement away from the direction and products agreed at the start of the management stage is monitored to avoid uncontrolled change and loss of focus. This seems obvious, but I will mention it anyway. In a non print street project, the project manager tries to focus on all of the products and this leads to stress and products actually being overlooked. In a Prince street project, the method reduces the stress and risks of accidentally forgetting about products. By focusing on just the products that are required to be worked on in any one stage, risks and issues are kept under control.

The business case is kept under review. The great products for the management stage are delivered to State of the City standards within cost, effort and time agreed. And ultimately in support of the achievement of the defined benefits. The project management team is focused on delivery within the tolerances led down. The project team has collected the three levels of tolerances. One, project tolerances, which are set by corporate program management or the customer. The project board has to ensure that they are not exceeded. Otherwise, the project board has to ask corporate program management or the customer for help. Stage tolerance is number two, which are set by the project board. The project manager has to ensure that these are not exceeded. Otherwise, the project manager has to ask the project board for help.

Number three the work package tolerances, which are set by the project manager. The team managers have to ensure these are not exceeded. Otherwise, the team managers have to ask the project manager for help. Let me come to the context. Figure 17. 1 provides an overview of controlled in the stage. In the control in the stage process, it is a project manager who takes center stage because this is where the project manager is performing the day. The day project manager work. So this process is to do with the project manager. Allocating work packages to team managers setting work package tolerances and checkpoints, then receiving products back from the team managers. The project manager will also be monitoring progress, managing risks and issues, and ensuring that the stage is within stage tolerances which have been set by the project board and any other day to day project management duties. This is what the project manager is doing during its delivery stage.

What is the delivery stage? It’s any stage where products are being delivered, which is normally every stage except the initiation stage. Why is that? You may recall from Prince To glossary that there are two types of products management products and specialist products. And of course, there are management products created in the initiation stage. However, if you check the definition of an output in the glossary, it says an output is a specialist product that is handed over to a user or users. Note that management products are not outputs that are created, but are created solely for the purpose of managing the project. So the outputs from the initiation stage are not specialist products and that is why it is not a delivery stage.

See how useful the glossary is. Read it as often as you can. Okay, so the controlling estate process is usually employed from the first management stage after the project has been authorized by the project board. However, I need to make you aware of three areas that you may be tested on the exam. Firstly, I said that the controlling stage process is usually employed from the first management stage after the project has been authorized by the project board. However, the controlling stage process can be used during the initiation stage for delivering the management products on very large or complex projects. Secondly, I said that the project manager allocates work packages to the team managers and sets work package tolerances.

However, there can be a twist to that as well. If the project manager is also doing the work of the team manager, then although there’s just now one person, the project manager, the project manager should still use work packages because work packages are necessary to assign work to the team members. And in this case, it’s important to remember that any references to the team manager in the controlling stage process should be regarded as team member. And thirdly, the controlling a stage process is from the project manager’s perspective because it’s focused on requesting and receiving products. We’re whereas the managing product delivery process is viewed from the team manager’s perspective because it’s focused on delivering products. So I’ll say that again, the control in the stage process is from the project manager’s perspective, and the managing product delivery process is from the team manager’s perspective.

  1. Process No 4 Controlling a Stage Part 2

Work packages authorize a work package review work package status receive completed work packages monitoring and reporting review the management stage status report highlights issues and risks capture and examine issues and risks escalate issues and risks take corrective action let’s have a look at authorize a work package activity project manager will decide what products need to be worked on during the stage and for each they will create a work package on smaller projects. Relevant sections of the project plan or the Pit are often copied into the work package so that everything is in one place.

However, you will need to be careful with configuration management and remember to update the work packages if the project plan or PID change in that area. On large projects, the work packages often contain references to the project plan or Pit. Otherwise it becomes simply too large to manage. A work package normally represents a product. You would start with a main product in a product breakdown structure, then decompose the products down into smaller products until arriving at products which can be delivered by a team manager. That is what the work package describes. We find the definition in the Prince Two glossary, page 389 of the work package a set of information relevant to the creation of one or more products. It will contain a description of the work, the work descriptions, details of any constraints on production, and confirmation of the agreement between the project manager and the person or team manager who is to implement the work package that the work can be done within the constraints.

This is an important definition because many people think work packages are project outputs, but in fact they are a package of documents which is used by the team manager to deliver project outputs. And please remember that management products are not project outputs they are used to deliver project outputs. We can confirm this by checking the definition of an output in the glossary output a specialized product that is handed over to a user or users. Note that management products are not hard puts looked at.

Figure 17. 2 Authorize a Work Package Activity Summary Puts You recommends examining the stage planned for the details of the products to be produced, along with the estimated cost, effort and tolerances from the Pit. The team manager can find the project controls required, such as progress reporting requirements, the quality standards to be followed. These will often remain uniform across projects, but can change and must be checked, especially when quitting products that are new to the organization or when producing them to the customer standards. The Gems control approach will describe the handover process for completed products. You can read about the other inputs on page two, one, nine and 220.

The next activity is Review work package status. The work package normally will detail the frequency of the assessments and whether the assessments will be formal or informal. More information can be found in the stage plan and the progress information will be recorded in the checkpoint report. The inputs and outputs are shown in Figure 17. 3. Review Work Package Status Activity Summary the mid input for the status is Checkpoint report as previously mentioned, and thus an estimate of the work to be completed can be made. The team plan helps the team manager determine if the work package is within time and budget. The quality register can confirm the status on current work.

The risk and issue registers are listed as outputs because performing the work on the work package may uncover risks or issues, and the configuration records are updated with the item status. And lastly, the accruals to debt forecasts and adjustments are updated in the stage plan. Next one is receive completed work packages activity. This activity is for accepting, confirming and approving completed work done against work package. The approved work is automatically challenged through change control in accordance with the Change control Approach c Chapter Eleven. Please see figures 17. 4.

Receive completed work packages. Activity Summary now we come to review the management stage status activity. The project manager is entrusted to manage each stage largely unhindered, but that is on the condition that the stage remains within tolerances. Stages don’t have an autopilot, so the project manager will need to routinely perform a health check on the stage, make inflight adjustments, and update the records. That is why Figure 17. 5 review the Management Stage status. Activity Summary has so many inputs and outputs. You can read more details of this process on pages two, two, four and two, two, five. And if you check tip 17. 4, review the Management Stage Status responsibilities, you will see that it is a solitary duty of the project manager and we come to report Highlights Activity. When the project manager is managing a stage, the project board does not get involved much, so they are applying the principle of manage by exception. And as you will recall, the project board provides the project manager with tolerances to work within, and if those tolerances are forecast to be exceeded during the stage, the project manager must produce an exception report.

However, the project board want to have some reassurance that everything is still going according to plan, even if they haven’t received word of an exception. And so they require the project manager to produce a regular highlight report at a frequency determined by the project board themselves. The frequency of this report, what it should contain, who it is to go to, and in what format is documented in the Communication Management approach. Figure 17. 6 shows the inputs to and outputs from its activity. As you can see, this requires the project manager to scan all inputs, which means problems are less likely to slip through. There’s something about this section Capture and Examine issues and Risks, that I must admit that as I said earlier on the course at the beginning of a project, the executive and the project manager capture lessons learned.

Capture means reviewing lessons recorded from previous projects. It does not mean recording you lessons, but in this case, the word capture has its common meaning. I e. This time you are recording new information, not looking at the old information. So please remember the two meetings for the same word within Princetow. Now back to the activity. Issues and risks will arise throughout the project, and one of the most important messages is you must always record the details and assess the impact before taking action. And then any action must be controlled through change control procedures. You can find out more about risk management in chapter ten and Change Control in chapter eleven. Next we come to escalate issues and risks activity.

During the stage, a project manager will take corrective action within their control as a result of issues and risks according to the risk control procedure. But if the stage is forecast to exceed tolerances, even if these corrective actions are taken, an exception plan could take some time to be compiled, and during that time, further damage to the project could occur. However, if the project board were made aware of the problem, it is possible they could be involved in its resolution, or at least be expected to receive an exception report, and this will help them manage their times to deal with it. And that is why the project manager escalates the problem.

The inputs and outputs to this activity are shown in Figure 17. 8. Escalate issues and risks. Activity summary. And finally, we come to take corrective action activity. The purpose of this activity is to enable the project manager to attempt corrective actions that are intended to keep a stage within tolerance. Not every risk can receive corrective action by the project manager. For example, the solution to the problem could exceed the project manager’s authority, or could even be external to the project. Using the project manager will examine the information, identifies who is of dealing with it, then choose a preferred method and issue a work package for it to be resolved. Then the various management products will be updated to reflect the change. Remember that even if the project manager is performing the duties of the team manager, a work pilot package should still be used to enable the work to be properly tracked.

  1. Process No 5 Managing Product Delivery Part 1

The role of the team manager is to coordinate an area of work that will deliver one or more of the project’s products. They can be internal or external to the customer’s organisation. You can read more about that on page two, three six. The objective of the managing Product Delivery process is to ensure that work on products allocated to the team is authorized and agreed. Team managers, team members and suppliers are clear as to what is to be produced. What is the expected effort, cost or time skills. The planned products are delivered to expectations and within tolerance for the exam.

We can note that Managing Product Delivery process is viewed from the team manager’s perspective because it’s focused on delivering products, whereas the control in the stage process is from the project manager’s perspective because it’s focused on requesting and receiving products. The team manager ensures that products are created and delivered by the team to the project bar. Accepting and checking authorized work packages from the project manager. Ensuring that interfaces identified in the work package are maintained. Creating a team plan for the work packages being assigned.

This may be done in parallel with the project manager. Creating the stage plan for the management stage. Ensuring that the products are developed in accordance with any development methods specified in the work package. Demonstrating that each product meets its quality criteria to the quality method or methods specified in the product description. This may include using the Pinstripe Quality review technique, which is explained in Chapter Eight.

Obtaining approval for completed products from the authorities identified in the product description. Delivering the products to the project manager in accordance with any procedures specified in the work package. If the project uses external suppliers that are not using Prince Two, managing Product Delivery provides a statement of the required interface between the team manager and the Prince Two method being used in the project by the project manager. The work package may be part of a contractual agreement. Therefore, the formality of a team plan would vary from simply a pending schedule to the work package to creating a fully formed plan that is presented in a similar style to a stage plan. Ed.