A risk management plan is a must for any project and is very important. The document should contain the high level risks, risk register, risk categories (external, internal, technical and unforeseeable), methodologies, roles and responsibilities, costs, tracking and should list the risk factors and their probability of occurrence and impact, time and frequency of occurrence. A risk response strategy needs to be adopted prior to the execution of the project. Responses may include one or more or a combination of the following: eliminating threats before they happen; decreasing the chance of threats; increasing the probabilities or impact of opportunities; avoiding the risk altogether; transfer of the risk to third parties.
The quality of the work done on a project is as important to the project as the project itself. Quality is defined as the degree to which the project fulfils its requirements and is in conformity with the project design. If the quality of the job done on a project is not acceptable then the project is deemed to have failed as the sponsor would reject it as not in sync with defined specifications. Poor quality is costly and should be avoided at all times.
A quality management plan is required for any project. When planning quality for a project a lot of factors are considered such as enterprise environmental factors, risk register, organisational process assets as well as cost, scope and schedule baselines. Once a project completely meets a customer’s objectives and requirements, then quality is achieved. Improved quality leads to increased productivity, increased cost-effectiveness and decreased cost risk.
Project controls – performance measurement
A project that is not well monitored and controlled is a candidate for failure. This is an area of project management that is not fully understood. Projects with very little or no visibility will surely end up with schedule slippages and cost over-runs leaving the project in serious trouble and in most cases leading to cancellation. Lack of project performance measurements during execution leads the project team with no insight into how well the project is doing relative to what is in the project management plan at different periods of time during the lifetime of the project.
Project controls is a vital area of project management; a subset that deals with measuring the health and wellbeing of a project during execution. Irrespective of which industry you belong to or what your mission is, project controls is the value driver that helps you get most out of your investment. A performance measurement baseline needs to be established for every project no matter how small. This allows you to know and report how well a project is doing against the cost and schedule baselines as a project progresses. Project controls is achieved by a concept called Earned Value Management (EVM). It is the process of measuring the performance of project work against a plan to identify variances. The earned value technique lets you have a very good idea of early signs of trouble so corrective actions can be taken.
Lack of a good communication plan can spell doom for a project. The most common problems and issues on a project are communication related. If not well planned a “tower of Babel” can easily rear its head as a project’s execution progresses.
A very solid communication management plan is essential for any project, big or small. This plan stipulates clear channels of communication amongst all the stakeholders, having determined and analysed everyone’s requirements. The project manager spends the better part of each day communicating with his team members, sponsors and senior management and must figure out in advance what each stakeholder’s communication needs are.
Without stakeholders there will be no project. Stakeholders consist of the project sponsors, senior management, project managers, project team members, vendors and members of the community where the project is situated. Positive and negative stakeholders have a big impact on successful and failed projects. A lot of projects have failed solely based on the actions of stakeholders. An example is when resources are mismatched by managers. Undue favouritism towards an unqualified resource is a way this happens.
A stakeholder management plan is needed to avoid problems which can lead to project failures. The document should identify all stakeholders, determine their interests, requirements and expectations, influence and how to generally manage and communicate in standardised format with them.
There are various methodologies employed in executing projects. Whichever one is chosen at the portfolio level has to be properly understood and used in the appropriate manner. Incorrect use of any methodology for a project or programme can result in disastrous outcomes with the resultant effect of either total rework or cancellation.
Project/programme failures can be avoided if the project management processes, discipline and ideals are strictly followed during implementation.