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Writing a Project Initiation Document - Project Controls 11/13

01.Document Change History, Related Documents and Purpose
02.Project Scope Statement
03.Project Background
04.Project Definition
05.Assumptions, Dependencies and Constraints
06.Business Case
07.Organisation and Governance
08.Communications Plan
09.Quality Plan
10.Initial Project Plan
11.Project Controls
12.Initial Risks and Issues Log
13.Initial RFC's, Open Questions, Training & Appendix
14.Getting A PID Approved

11.0 Project Controls

This section basically details how your project is going to be managed and controlled. The general idea is to give your Business Stakeholder a warm fuzzy feeling that they aren't going suddenly get "surprised" at a later stage and discover the project they have sponsored is badly behind schedule, over budget or with an out of control scope. Well that's the theory anyway. Of course if one was able to simply fill in this section and voila, projects would miraculously be delivered, then being a Project Manager would not be such a complex and difficult job!

There are usually three Sections which need to be completed. These usually consist of:

  • 11.1 Project Controls
  • 11.2 Project Stages
  • 11.3 Exception Process

11.1 Project Controls

In this section you would include some or all of the following:

  • A MS Project Plan will be maintained for financial forecasting and PM control.
  • A weekly Highlight Report for the Corporate Programme Board and PMO;
  • A weekly presentation on key issues and risks to the Corporate Programme board and / or Business Stakeholder;
  • Weekly project Team meetings;
  • Weekly supplier meetings;
  • A formally approved Quality Plan;
  • Existing Change Control processes will be followed;
  • A Risk Mitigation Plan, identifying project risks and plans for their mitigation;
  • An Issues Log;
  • Project tolerances will be followed, as documented in Section 11.3.;
  • Product reviews, as documented in the Quality Plan;
  • Exceptions to be escalated to the Corporate Programme Manager;
  • Budget Actuals and forecasts produced for each financial period.

11.2 Project Stages

Again keep this simple. Remember the more you commit to the more you will need to deliver, so keep it high level. I usually only put the following in:

11.3 Exception Process

This part you need to be careful on since it covers how much your Budget, Time and Project Scope can increase without the project being forced to go into Exception. Believe me, having seen colleagues go into Exception is not a pretty sight. It means the Project Manager has to fill in numerous reports, spend time explaining why it has happened and then essentially beg for more time or money.

On top of which if it is agreed that the project can move into Exception, an Exception Plan will need to be produced which will replace the versions of the project/stage plans which were in use before the Exception. And on top of all this additional paperwork the Project Manger will also have to keep the project moving forward and ensure their team are motivated!

The table below basically lays out what you could write in your PID. Please note that the text highlighted in red in the table are figures which you should change based upon what you and your Organisation feel is appropriate.

Writing a PID Project Controls Section, Exception Process which details the Project Tolerances allowed before the Project moves into Exception

Project Controls - Tip

The Organisation you work for may well already have a standard tolerance figure which you will have to use. However check whether this is the case. I have found that this is not always the reality, just the theory and as a result have been able to put in much higher tolerance figures.

Once the PID is Formally Approved this then means I have additional contingency to utilise before having to move into Exception. This can make all the difference to the successfully delivery of a project in much the sameway as good cashflow is key to the success of any growing business.

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