Management control success factors


Management Control Success Factors

Success Factor 1.1

Agree an appropriate management lifecycle

To meet Management Control Success Factor 1.1 the project will:

  • Select, agree and communicate the Project Management Lifecycle to be used.
  • Operate in accordance with the lifecycle.

The lifecycle definition will provide a high level ‘route map’ for the project ensuring project activities are carried out in a logical sequence with agreed review and decision points. The breaking down of the project into manageable stages enables concentrated focus whilst providing direction into future stages.

Success Factor 1.2

Maintain a robust plan

To meet Management Control Success Factor 1.2 the project will:

  • Maintain a single, coherent plan and schedule.
  • Recognise, check and reflect assumptions in its plan.
  • Ensure its planning and scheduling reflect uncertainty.
  • Plan how it will verify it has met its objectives and requirements.
  • Plan for implementation and/or handover.

The Project Management Plan (PMP) is key to the project. It provides an agreed direction on how the project will achieve its objectives and is a reliable source of authority, reference and information. The plan also gives stakeholders a high level view on how the project objectives will be met and provides a central mechanism as the basis for project control.

Success Factor 1.3

Maintain effective control of the project against the plan

To meet Management Control Success Factor 1.3 the project will:

  • Know its status against its plan and progress on schedule.
  • Use its plan and schedule as the basis for tasking resources.
  • Understand supplier provided progress against plan and schedule.
  • Identify and assess variances.
  • Take management action to address any significant variances.

The PMP and schedule are at the hub of the project and should be actively used and updated in tasking and progress tracking toward achievement of objectives, monitoring project performance, identifying variances and associated issues, risks and opportunities.

Success Factor 1.4

Understand the projected range of performance, schedule and cost outcomes

To meet Management Control Success Factor 1.4 the project will:

  • Regularly carry out forecasting to predict performance and schedule outcomes.
  • Regularly carry out cost estimating and forecasting.
  • Understand the range of uncertainty and use this to inform the plan.

The PMP and schedule are the baseline for the project and should be used for comparison with actual current estimates to monitor project performance. Projections or predictions for performance, schedule and cost enable potential problems to be identified at an early stage and appropriate action to be taken.

Success Factor 1.5

Understand objectives and requirements sufficiently to inform project decisions

To meet Management Control Success Factor 1.5 the project will:

  • Understand the objectives and requirements to be delivered.
  • Assess the realism and achievability of objectives and requirements.
  • Seek clarification or additional detail relating to requirements where necessary.
  • Understand the boundaries and constraints within which it is to deliver its objectives.
  • Establish the acceptance criteria applicable to the objectives and requirements.

Understanding the objectives and requirements that the project is tasked to deliver ensures clear understanding of project scope. Awareness of the benefits to which the project contributes, further aids understanding and informs project decision making.

Success Factor 1.6

Manage the relationships between the projects component parts effectively

To meet Management Control Success Factor 1.6 the project will:

  • Have a clear understanding of its component parts, products, activities and deliverables.
  • Understand the dependencies and co-ordinate component parts, products, activities and deliverables.
  • Manage dependencies and align these to optimum effect in delivery.

Different products and activities within the project may have interdependencies which can be managed to the benefit of the project or can be prioritised to minimise impact to the project.

Success Factor 1.7

Control changes to the project effectively

To meet Management Control Success Factor 1.7 the project will:

  • Identify change/s or receive notification of required change.
  • Record identified change.
  • Assess the impact of the change against the plan and schedule (considering impact on objectives, contribution to benefits, viability and dependencies).
  • Ensure that an empowered individual agrees change response.
  • Record change and incorporate it into the Project Plan.

Change needs to be considered in terms of the impact it will have on the delivery cost, schedule, performance and viability of the project. Changes may need to be reported to or agreed by higher organisational levels or notified to stakeholders. The plan should be updated with actions required in response to the change/s and a record of changes maintained as part of the Project Record.

Success Factor 1.8

Respond to issues effectively

To meet Management Control Success Factor 1.8 the project will:

  • Identify or receive notification of issues.
  • Assess the impact of the issue against the plan and schedule, benefit contribution, viability and dependencies.
  • Report issues that exceed tolerance levels.
  • Record issue, decide response and update the Project management plan.
  • Implement response and monitor effectiveness.

Issues arising need to be considered in terms of the impact they will have on the delivery and viability of the project. Responses will need to be considered and may need to be reported to higher organisational levels or notified to stakeholders. A response to the issue will need to be agreed and the project plan should be updated accordingly to reflect the actions taken in response to the issue/s. A record of changes should be maintained as part of the Project History and effectiveness of response monitored.

Success Factor 1.9

Provide accurate, timely and well managed information

To meet Management Control Success Factor 1.9 the project will:

  • Know what information is required to deliver its objectives (internally generated information and information received from stakeholders etc.).
  • Know what information it is required to provide to others, including management information.
  • Understand what information it has and what information it is required to keep.
  • Identify and record how information will be managed.
  • Identify and record how information release, retention and destruction will be managed.
  • Generate and maintain key management information as required.
  • Understand how/for what purpose the required information will be used.

To ensure that the right information is obtained, that it is managed and that it is provided for key management decisions.

Success Factor 1.10

Manage the relationships between the project and the bigger “system of systems” effectively

To meet Management Control Success Factor 1.10 the project will:

  • Have a good understanding of the environment within which its outputs will deliver (other projects, programmes, initiatives, infrastructures).
  • Be aware of other projects, systems and activities with which it shares interdependencies or could exploit synergies.
  • Understand where interdependencies could have a positive or negative impact upon each other.
  • Manage inputs and outputs between itself and the wider system.
  • Manage communication between itself and the wider system.
  • Consider synergies between projects / systems / activities as a way to maximise benefits.

The interdependencies between a project and other projects, systems and activities within its environment need to be recognised and managed to ensure that outcomes do not conflict with each other or create risks for each other. Equally, there may be an opportunity for the interdependencies to be exploited to the mutual benefit of the projects or strategic goals. Agreement on how communication between interdependent stakeholders will be achieved is important in achieving this success factor.

Success Factor 1.11

Check whether the project remains viable

To meet Management Control Success Factor 1.11 the project will:

  • Maintain an up to date business case that considers viability, strategic alignment, costs, risks, timescales, uncertainty, delivery confidence, affordability, benefits, outcomes, outputs.
  • Use accurate, up to date projection of schedule, cost, performance and resource utilisation when reviewing viability.
  • Take into account the level of threats / risk when reviewing viability.
  • Be informed of the current strategic contribution that it is expected to deliver.
  • Consider the viability of the project when delivery conditions change and make recommendations accordingly.
  • Consider the viability of the project when project reviews take place and make recommendations accordingly.
  • Review the business case at stage boundaries or if there is a major change to any of its components.

The project requires an approved business case providing justification to proceed. The project should openly re-assess whether it remains worth doing when conditions change. This is to ensure that the project delivers an outcome that represents a valid investment for the organisation. If the organisational strategy changes or planned outcomes cannot be met within agreed parameters, or the level of risk involved in meeting the objectives is considered too high, the validity of the project should be reconsidered.

Success Factor 1.12

Make informed, responsible and holistic decisions

To meet Management Control Success Factor 1.12 the project will:

  • Make timely decisions.
  • Use the best available, reliable information to make decisions.
  • Involve relevant stakeholders in reaching decisions.
  • Consider a wide range of factors when making decisions (include users; usage; environment; obsolescence; lifecycle; value-for-money; support, licensing, de-commissioning, ‘future-proofing’, sustainability, legal, commercial, safety etc.).
  • Understand the context and environment in which outputs will exist (users; usage; environment; obsolescence; lifecycle; value for money; support; licensing; de-commissioning etc.).
  • Ensure that considerations outside of the project delivery cycle have been addressed responsibly for example: the down-stream (post-project) impacts (environmental, ‘future-proofing’, supportability etc.).
  • Consider its reputation by making balanced and considered choices.

Effective project management is about much more than delivering a set of requirements on time and budget. Decisions made during the delivery of the project may well affect the end product/s, its reputation, the way in which it is used into the future and its interaction with other products or people. Responsible organisations will encourage the wider thinking that includes other factors which may ultimately lead to cost and time savings for the organisation in the longer term.

Article series on “Project Management Success Factors”:

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