2 - Project Requirements
We use the PRINCE2 methodology as a guide. You will need to use your judgement and agree with Project Board which of the templates are appropriate to your project when you are planning the project. At all times you must consider costs, the impact on stakeholders, and risks. From there you can choose which template forms to complete - and if you need to complete every section or add in more detail - dependent on the size and complexity of the project
You will need to complete the following in some form for every project, although the complexity required will vary considerably between large and small projects. Large projects will require the completion of the full templates, whereas small projects may only need very short documents:
- Business Case – This is to ensure that it is worth carrying out the project. If you do not know why you are carrying out the project, you should not be doing it. This would normally be completed in the starting up phase of a project before anything else is done. However, if the Project Board agrees there is a clear business need and it is very clear the project is worth undertaking, this can be completed at the same time as the PID in the Project Initiation and Authorisation stage
- Project Initiation Document (PID) - you should also always complete a PID of some sort to make sure you have planned the project well enough. This helps you identify what you need to produce, who needs to be involved and when things are going to be done. For small projects, action plans or project plans showing what will be done, by whom and when may be sufficient. All projects should also identify and assess risks. If one person or one team is doing all the work then the Work Package template could be used to agree what will be done and when.
- Project Close report – this will ensure that the Project Board has the information they need to decide to close the project, either because it has delivered what it should or because the business case no longer stacks up and it needs to be closed prematurely. Project closure needs to include identifying and sharing lessons learned, identifying the benefits already achieved and those expected to be delivered after the project has been closed and looking how well the project was delivered.
Key Corporate Projects
CLT identify the most important or key corporate projects and programmes and give them extra oversight and Quality Assurance. Most key corporate projects/programmes are sponsored by directors or the Chief Executive, but occasionally a head of service may sponsor a key corporate project. In addition to the normal reporting and monitoring of projects done by the Project Board and Project Manager, the following needs to be carried out for these key corporate projects:
- The initial Business Case must be agreed by CLT
- In the Initiation stage, the PID (including the refined Business Case) and any other essential project documents must be reviewed and commented on by a team of people identified by CLT, which will include at least one PRINCE2 trained Project Manager. Once this is done and any agreed improvements to the document have been made, the PID must be agreed by CLT. This provides some important Quality Assurance and ensures the projects are sufficiently well planned and able to move to the next stage: delivery of the project. If it is not, the team will recommend the project does not move forward to the delivery stage until improvements have been made
- If additional Quality Assurance is required, one or more officers external to the project should be identified to provide this and Project Board must make sure they are clear on what is required of them
- At the end of each quarter the Project Manager must prepare a highlight report for CLT. This will be requested by the Improvement Manager
- CLT will identify any projects with which they have particular concerns and will request that the relevant Project Managers and sometimes other members of the Project Board attend the quarterly CLT Project Board to discuss any issues and try to find solutions
- The Project Close Report must be agreed by CLT
It is important to understand whether it is worth doing a piece of work or buying and implementing something (this is shown by the Business Case). It is also important that work is well planned and controlled (planning is done by preparing and monitoring the PID) and that benefits are analysed and lessons are learned for future projects (in a Project Close Report). However, small projects do not require the same levels of control and oversight as larger, more risky projects. Some small projects may be able to be managed as ‘line management tasks’, meaning that that work is all managed in one team or service area and only affects that team. In these circumstances one manager can act as the Project Board, ensuring that they consider all the Project Board roles and that key stakeholders are consulted and kept informed as required. If one person or one team is doing all the work then the Work Package template could be used to agree what will be done and when.
Projects Involving ICT
All ICT procurement should be agreed by the ICT Joint Commissioning Group
If your project is likely to involve buying, changing or implementing ICT, including websites, communications hardware or software, or any other hardware or software, it will need to be discussed with the ICT Commissioning Group before it can proceed. .
Capital projects involve the use of capital funds, normally to build something or improve the value of an asset the Council already owns. Capital projects are almost always corporate projects and are agreed by Cabinet for inclusion in the Council's three year capital programme.
Capital projects generally involve construction project management, which can be very complex - it is common for this expertise to be bought in from outside the Council for large capital projects. In order to help officers who may be managing capital projects or who may be managing contractors who are managing the construction, a checklist to be used in addition to the project management toolkit can be found on the Project management toolkit intranet page. Some documents specific to capital construction projects are also available in the list of useful project management documents.