Practice Exams:

PRINCE2 Practitioner – Introduction to Processes

  1. Process No 1 Starting up a project Part 1veg

My goal is to highlight and explain the key parts, but it is imperative that you also read the corresponding sections of the guide. Otherwise, to put it simply, you will not pass the exam. But as I’ve said before, a number of times you always need to check key words and phrases in The Prince to Glossary. And if you’re familiar with the 2009 version of The Princeary Guide, you will find a number of parts of the Glossary and the appendixes have changed, and so you really need to get those refreshed out. Okay? The reason you need to know the Glossary is because a lot of words and phrases in the glossary are different from the everyday meeting. For example, when I first started learning Princeton, the starting up a project process confused me, because in this process you’re not starting to manage a project, which is what it seemed to apply to me.

In fact, I used to think maybe it should have been called just Thinking about Starting Up a Project Process, because in this process, you’re not actually kicking off a project. The kicking off part happens in the process and they shade in a project. To me, just thinking about starting up a project process and kicking off a project process seem to be clear. But I would recommend that you use the official names for the examination. I can recommend these to Xloss for print. Three Purpose the purpose of the starting up a project process is to ensure that the prerequisites for initiating a project are in place by answering the question, do we have a viable and worthwhile project? The decision to start the project must be explicit. The activities from starting up a project happen before this decision. Nothing should be done until certain base information needed to make rational decisions about the commission of the project is defined. Key roles and responsibilities are resourced and allocated, and a foundation for detailed planning is available.

The purpose of the starting up a project process is as much to prevent poorly conceived projects from ever being initiated as it is about approving the initiation of viable projects. As such, starting up a project process is a lighter process compared to the more detailed and thorough initiated in the project process. The aim is to do the minimum necessary in order to decide whether it is worthwhile to even initiate the project. Why do we want to do the minimum necessary? That doesn’t sound professional, does it? In fact, it is totally professional, because minimum doesn’t mean cutting corners or doing things halfheartedly or missing out on things. It means doing only what needs to be done, just what’s essential to see if we want to proceed to a project and nothing more. Because at this stage we’re really enabling management to make a go no go decision, and we don’t want to use up time and resources unless it’s absolutely necessary. Let’s have a look at the objective.

The objective of starting up a project process is to ensure that there is a business justification for an issued in the project and as documented in the outlined business case. Business justification means that the project will deliver expected benefits to the organization and the value of those benefits will be significantly more than the cost to produce them. If not, why would you bother producing them? At this stage, we have just an outline business case because we are doing the minimum necessary. All the necessary authorities exist for an issue in the project. Sufficient information is available to define and confirm the scope of the project in the form of a project brief.

While it may take some time to get clarity around the actual project to deliver the products, you need to be really clear on what the required products are, because any uncertainty in scope will come back to by you the various ways the project can be delivered or evaluated and a project approach selected. At this stage, management are keen to see some action. In an early part of my career, I was managing a project to deliver a stock control package. After discussing the preliminary requirements with the customer, my manager asked me to start the project. I said the clients were still deciding what they wanted. But my manager said you need to actually do something. You can’t just sit around waiting for customers to decide what they want. Trust me, you do need to get the customer to decide what they want. There’s a saying if you don’t know where you’re going, you don’t need to waste time planning how to get there.

Yes, we’re working through the objectives for starting up a project process. Individuals are appointed who will undertake the work required in project initiation and or will take significant project management roles in the project. The work required for project initiation is planned documented in the stage plan. Time is not wasted initiating a project based on unsigned assumptions regarding the project’s scope, time skills, acceptance criteria and constraints. And you can read more about that on page 166 of the guide. Now we’ll have a look at the context in prints two. The trigger for the project is referred to as project mandate. This is provided by the responsible authority that is commissioned the project, typically corporate program management or the customer. The term project mandate applies to whatever information is used to trigger the project, be it a feasibility study or receipt of a request for proposal in a supplier environment.

Principle recommends that whilst we are trying to be minimalistic in our approach to the process, you need to do a good job of the outline business case and assembling the project brief because the time spent now and good planning will save time during project delivery, avoiding issues, exceptions and replanting. Which reminds me of saying used by carpenters measure twice but kept once. So what are the activities then? The activities within the starting of a project process are likely to be shared between corporate program management or the customer, the executive and the project manager. The activities are to appoint the executive and the project manager. The executive and there can only be one executive on each project.

Will head up the project board and will ultimately be responsible for the success of the project. The executive represents the business interest in the project and is the final decision maker. Capture previous Lessons this is another term that used to confuse me. It means capturing previous lessons means to take note of lessons learned on previous projects that are relevant to this project. It does not mean recording new lessons. Design and appoint the project management team. Prepare the outline business case, select the project approach and assemble the project brief. Plan the initiative stage and please read the principal guide, page 167.

  1. Process No 1 Starting up a project Part 2

Appoint the executive at the project manager, capture previous lessons, designed and appoint the project management team, prepare the outline business case, select the project approach and assemble the project brief plan initiation stage. Now we will examine them in detail, starting with appointee executive and the project manager. The project requires someone at a senior level in the organization to represent the business stakeholders interest, to drive the project forward, to be ultimately responsible for its success, to take advice from other organizational representatives, but also to be the final decision maker. And that person is clearly the executive. The tricky for investigating undertaking a project is the project mandate, which comes from corporate program management or the customer. The mandate may be an official document or something as simple as an email or even a verbal request. And I suppose technically it could be literally on the back of an envelope. Now we appoint the executive. Once the mandate is reviewed, a role description will be created for the executive position. This is often a standard template which most organizations have and modified as necessary, such as the example that you will find in Appendix C of the Minister Guide.

This would usually be accompanied by an estimate of the time and the effort required of an executive for this project. This is necessary for confirming that the person chosen will be able to commit the time to the project. The executive may then be chosen through a selection process. But in most organizations the choice is informal, and in slow organizations there may just be a single choice. Remember, the principal strength is that it is generic and non prescriptive, and so it will usually work in with what your organization does. Then appoint the project manager. The executive will create a role description for the project manager, which again is usually just a standard template, such as the project manager role description and Appendix C. And then the project manager will be selected by whatever is an appropriate method for the organization. Although again a small organization, the choice may be obvious. This previous step often confuses people. So I think I’ll spell it out again. The project manager is not appointed by the project board.

Why? Because the project board does not exist yet. In fact, it is the project manager who develops the role descriptions for the project board as well as for the rest of the project management team. Obviously that there will be exceptions to that, but I think you’ll find when you come to the examination that usually it assumes you’re following the advice of the principal guide. Please study Table 14, part One appoint the executive and the project Manager responsibilities capture previous lessons. The executive and the project manager should now review lessons learned from previous projects, as well as lessons learned provided by corporate program management or the customer, and from external resources too. The external lessons learned may even be in the form of books or other published materials.

Principle also recommends holding workshops to discover more lessons and I’ve run these workshops myself and I can strongly recommend them. It’s great to get a lot of people together because you get all sorts of things which okay some anecdotal, but a lot of the information just has never been written down through laziness or whatever. These lessons captured then recorded in the lessons log which project manager creates and used for improving the future project and they may even change the project direction or influence the appointment of certain people to various project management team roles. The project manager is responsible for producing the lessons log and the executive is responsible for reviewing it. Now. Design and appoint the project management team. Pinstripe is an efficient method and so anyone who is part of the project management team must be the best available choice for the position, who can represent the area of the organization, be able to make decisions as required and have the correct level of authority. Plus, of course, the time required to commit to the project lessons dog should be reviewed for lessons related to the project management team structure.

The project manager creates the role descriptions and the project management team structure, which is usual hierarchical chart based on a Table 14. 3. Design and appoint a project management team. Prepare the outline business Case this is the outline business case because like everything else in the pre project phase, we want to put in just the minimum so we don’t waste time, effort and money and so on if we don’t go ahead with the project. Principle recommends the executive drafts in the outline business case and that can be with the help of the CDU user, if one has already been appointed to the Board, that is. And the outline business case will later be reviewed by the project manager. In order to do this, they must have a clear understanding of the reasons for the project and what it is trying to achieve and the expected benefits of their known.

At this stage, the executive will also need to know how the project will be funded. The project manager, in consultation with the project Board, will produce the project product description, which should capture the customer’s quality expectations. Capture and agree the project’s acceptance criteria. Check feasibility of the timescale from the project mandate as required by the outline business guest. Determine any key milestones. Capture any new risks in the daily log, review the risks captured in the daily log and lastly, the project manager should summarize the key risks from the daily log into the art line business case. All this who does what? Information on each process is important to know for the exams, so please remember to revise it. In this case it is in Table 14. 4. Prepare the outline business case Responsibilities now we come to select the project approach and assemble the project brief before any planning of the project can be done.

Decisions must be made regarding how the work of the project is going to be approached. For example, will the solution be developed in house or contracted to third parties? Will the solution be a modification to an existing product or built from scratch? Will the solution be based on commercial off the shelf product often referred to as COTS, COTS or something that is custom designed but delivery approaches should be used? Will the delivery approach be agile? Working methods that’s from Prints to Guide, page 173. You can read more about this on pages 174 and 175. Now we plan the initiation stage keeping in line with principles.

Focus on efficiency. The initiation stage is carefully planned in advance so that every action has a clear purpose and plan. Please note for the exam that there may be a decision to apply the controlling stage and managing product delivery during the initiation and project process. This is largely left to large projects, but just make you aware that is a possibility and it may be asked in the examination. The output from this activity will be the stage plan for the initiation stage, updates to the dilig, and a request from the project manager to the board to authorize the initiation of a project. Peace Study Table 14. 6 plan the Initiation Stage Responsibilities let’s have to come to tailoring guidelines. The activities in this process may be combined, split or run concurrently to sit to contacts.

But care should be taken to ensure the integrity of the interface with the directing a project process. When a request to initiate a project is submitted at this point in the project lifecycle, it may not always be clear what output the project is intended to create. If this is a career, it should at least be clear what business problems it is meant to solve and what outcomes are required. Please read pages one, seven, seven and one, seven eight in the principal guide for more information on tailoring during starter of the project.

  1. Process No 2 Directing a project Part 1

Keeping with the principle of manage. By exception, the project board does not get involved in everyday management of the project. They make important decisions when required. Otherwise they leave the everyday project management to the project manager and don’t get involved in micromanagement. This is a win situation because senior management time is used efficiently and the project manager is empowered by working with the world class project management framework and key managers are available when required for advice. Objective the objective of the directing the project process is to ensure that there is authority to initiate the project. There is authority to deliver the project’s products. Management direction and control are provided through the project’s life. The project remains viable. Remember, a project must be desirable, viable and achievable according to the business case. But what does that mean? Desirable means that after balancing the costs, risks and disk benefits against the benefits, it is still value for money.

Who worries about the value for money on the project? That’s the executive. Because the executive represents the business. Viable means that the project is able to deliver the products. Who’s responsible for that? The senior supplier. Because the senior supplier represents the people who will actually make the products and it has to be achievable, which means that using the products is likely to deliver the benefits. Who is responsible for the benefits? The senior user. Here’s the senior user represents the people who specified the benefits and also represents the people who will use the products to produce the benefits. Please remember to review my video. I put outcomes and benefits because that’s a very important topic. Now back to the objectives. A corporate program management or the customer has an interface to the project. There is authority to close the project. The principal continued business justification demands that the project must always be able to deliver the expected benefits to the organization.

Non principal projects do not usually have this requirement. Which begs the question why have we doing all this work and spending money like crazy making products that nobody can use and probably nobody actually wants? The honest answer is that in many occasions it’s the project manager having a good old time managing the project. In other times it could be the CEO’s project and people are just too afraid to ask the CEO if the organization really needs this. If a project is not going to deliver the expected benefits, it should not be allowed to continue. You can try various things. You can try change of direction, try to look for other benefits, but basically your benefits are not going to be delivered. There’s no point in continuing. But sometimes senior managers in an organization can fill the system by skipping the prints to safeguards. I’ve seen that happen.

I was managing a project remotely many years ago. The organization was in New Zealand and I was in Australia. It was going well, but after about ten months with about four months to go. The customer’s executive in New Zealand at the one on the project, told me that she was terminated in the project because there was a change in the company structure. And that meant that the project would no longer deliver the benefits. This makes sense because you shouldn’t consume organizational resources unless the benefits can be realized. And so termed it in. A bad project has a positive impact on the organization. Now some people get a bit confused by the idea of a bad project when the project is on time, within budget, and we’re producing everything, the scope, but it’s bad because it’s not going to deliver the benefits, so we have to stop it. So anyway, I went through the process to close the project and of course I updated and saved the lessons learned. Even if a project is ended prematurely, you still must save all the lessons learned. Okay? The project was our dead. The company paid for my consultant and project management services. Everyone is happy. But about five years later, I got a phone call from the executive. I remembered the project that she had asked. Toby determined it after a short pause. I said yes, I remembered. She says, that’s great, we want you to complete it. It was a much longer pause. I asked deep and meaningful questions such as why?

To cut a long story short, the executive said that recent circumstances meant that the project could now deliver benefits. Fortunately, I’d followed the correct procedures and had filed all the documentation, including lessons learned. There had been originally four months left on their schedule, but that had to be increased to about six months because there’s always inefficiencies because you have to do some research and things like that when you’re restarting. However, I checked the benefits and said, I don’t see how you’re going to get any value out of these benefits. But the executive told me they were confidential, they were hidden benefits and she couldn’t reveal them. So I had to accept the executive instructions, of course, because she represented the business interest of her organization. So I had to follow what I was told. I managed the project to completion.

A few weeks later, the executive resigned and took up a much higher position in another organization. And it was only then that I realized that the confidential hidden benefits she had mentioned were not for her organization, they were for her personally, so that she could get a big successfully delivered project on her resume to enable her to get the better job. Now you’re thinking, but the project wasn’t successful because the benefits would not be accrued to the company. But she had written in the benefits review plan that the benefits should not be measured until six months after the project ended. And that’s perfectly normal to do that. But it means this was long after she had already moved into a new job. Her previous organization would then realize that the project didn’t actually succeed. But back to our list of objectives. And the final objective is plans for realizing the post project benefits are managed and reviewed.

The above list of benefits was from The Prince to guide PH 180, so please revise those carefully. Next we come to the context. This is important. Please study figure 15 one overview of directing a project. On page 181 of the principal guide. The project board members are following the principle of managed by exception, and so their duties are largely decisions and advice. Looked at figure 15. 1 we see authorize Initiation authorize the project. Authorize a stage or an exception plan? Give ad hoc direction. What that means is sometimes project managers are afraid to ask questions of the project board. They think they have to wait until a formal thing happens, like the end of a stage, or wait until something really bad happens and they can communicate with the board through a formal exception report. But giving ad hoc ie. Informal or out of session advice is one of the duties of the project board members as per the same a stitch in time saves nine. Ask for advice when you need it rather than winning. Nobody is going to thank you for winning.

Authorize project Closure none of this is everyday work. Project board members are involved only when it is essential for them to be involved, and only duties they perform are the ones best suited to their position, skills and knowledge. The rest of the time, therefore, me to work on the usual job, which is probably playing golf, I mean networking with other senior managers. And that’s what makes Pennsylvania so efficient.