Plan­ning for Project Suc­cess

Insurance - - CONTENTS - Text Do­rai Sinna, mfQ Asia

IN MY FIRST AR­TI­CLE I TALKED ABOUT IM­POR­TANCE OF PROJECT MAN­AGE­MENT AND THE VAR­I­OUS OP­POR­TU­NI­TIES THAT ARE AVAIL­ABLE FOR THOSE WANT­ING TO PUR­SUE A CA­REER IN PROJECT MAN­AGE­MENT. AND IN THE SEC­OND THE AR­TI­CLE I EM­PHA­SISED ABOUT HOW TO GO ABOUT SE­LECT­ING THE RIGHT PROJECT MAN­AGE­MENT QUAL­I­FI­CA­TION. IN THE THIRD AR­TI­CLE I EX­PLAINED WHAT CON­STI­TUTES A PROJECT AND GAVE A VERY SHORT BRIEF ON PROJECT MAN­AGE­MENT. IN THIS AR­TI­CLE I WOULD TALK ABOUT AS TO HOW TO PLAN FOR PROJECT SUC­CESS.

BUILD­ING A BUSI­NESS CASE FOR YOUR PROJECT

To en­sure that a project is a suc­cess, there should be a jus­ti­fi­able rea­son to start it,and this jus­ti­fi­ca­tion should re­main valid through­out the life of the project. This jus­ti­fi­ca­tion should be doc­u­mented and this doc­u­ment shall be the main ref­er­ence doc­u­ment for all de­ci­sion mak­ing through­out the project – from start to the very end of the project. And, this doc­u­ment is re­ferred to as the Busi­ness Case, and it pro­vides jus­ti­fi­ca­tion for un­der­tak­ing a project or pro­gramme. It eval­u­ates the ben­e­fit, cost and risk of al­ter­na­tive op­tions and pro­vides a ra­tio­nale for the pre­ferred so­lu­tion. The ben­e­fits are doc­u­mented in the Ben­e­fits Re­view Plan, which I will ex­plain a bit more to­wards the tail end of this ar­ti­cle. Al­though the jus­ti­fi­ca­tion should re­main valid, it may change. It is there­fore im­por­tant that the project and evolv­ing jus­ti­fi­ca­tion re­main con­sis­tent. If for what­ever rea­son, the project can no longer be jus­ti­fied, the project should be stopped. Stop­ping the project in these cir­cum­stances is a pos­i­tive con­tri­bu­tion to an or­ga­ni­za­tion as its funds and re­sources can be rein­vested in other more worth­while projects. Or­ga­ni­za­tions that lack the rigor in de­vel­op­ing Busi­ness Cases may find that some projects pro­ceed even where there are few real ben­e­fits or where a project has only ten­ta­tive as­so­ci­a­tions with cor­po­rate strat­egy. Busi­ness Cases can be bro­ken down into five dif­fer­ent and dis­tinct el­e­ments:

1. Strate­gic Case - What will be dif­fer­ent from what we are do­ing now?

2. Eco­nomic Case - Why does this fi­nan­cially make sense?

3. Com­mer­cial Case - How does this im­pact our terms and con­di­tions with our client?

4. Fi­nan­cial Case - How do we af­ford the cost of im­ple­men­ta­tion of this so­lu­tion?

5. Man­age­ment Case - How will we im­ple­ment this so­lu­tion into operations? All of these as­pects are im­por­tant. How­ever, their size and com­plex­ity will vary from project to project de­pend­ing upon a project’s na­ture and com­plex­ity. Some less com­plex Busi­ness Cases (par­tic­u­larly those not in­volv­ing sig­nif­i­cant new spend­ing, new sys­tems, or low cost of im­ple­men­ta­tion) may need lit­tle or noth­ing in the way of a com­mer­cial case and re­quire a less com­plex man­age­ment case. The cases will be de­vel­oped as the Busi­ness Case pro­gresses. The Busi­ness Case is de­vel­oped over time and gen­er­ally has three stages; with more de­tail be­ing pro­vided at each stage.

To get stake­hold­ers or man­age­ment to ap­prove the project, one will need to build a busi­ness case to demon­strate why the project is needed and what the ben­e­fits of the project will be when it is fin­ished. The rea­sons and ben­e­fits of the project may seem per­fectly ob­vi­ous to those who are in­ti­mately in­volved with it, but to the stake­hold­ers and other de­ci­sion mak­ers it may not be so ob­vi­ous. Of­ten­times, they are deal­ing with a myr­iad of dif­fer­ent busi­ness units and ob­jec­tives and tasks that need to be done. A well-pre­pared Busi­ness Case can help the project stand­out in the crowded field of every­thing that is hap­pen­ing in the com­pany and might just be the key to get­ting ap­proval and fi­nances for the project.

THE BUSI­NESS CASE IS A LIV­ING DOC­U­MENT

A Busi­ness Case is a liv­ing doc­u­ment that is con­stantly ref­er­enced through­out a pro­gram or project of work. It may be nec­es­sary to re­view and up­date a Busi­ness Case based on what is dis­cov­ered as a pro­gram or project pro­gresses over time. For many, the Busi­ness Case is in­deed some­thing that you do at the beginning of a project in or­der to se­cure the ap­proval and then for­get about it. If ben­e­fits out­lined in Busi­ness Case are not likely to be re­alised, the project should be aborted, for the jus­ti­fi­ca­tion for the project is no longer there, in ma­te­rial as to how close to the end of the project life cy­cle it is. To il­lus­trate the point let’s take an ex­am­ple. Say a project claims to save RM 2.5 mil­lion a year and cost just RM 1 mil­lion to run., ev­ery­one may agree im­me­di­ately to run­ning it on the grounds that it is jus­ti­fied on cost sav­ings. But, sup­pose you find part way through that cir­cum­stances have changed and the project now costs RM 1.5 mil­lion and saves only RM 150,000 a year. If the main in­ter­est was sav­ings, then al­most cer­tainly, the cor­rect de­ci­sion is to stop the project. The up-to-date liv­ing Busi­ness Case pro­vides this es­sen­tial on­go­ing man­age­ment de­ci­sion. There­fore there are four steps which cover the devel­op­ment of the Busi­ness Case, and keep­ing it up-to­date through­out the project life­cy­cle. These are:

1. De­velop the Busi­ness Case:

First one would need to gather all the right in­for­ma­tion upon which de­ci­sions can be made.

2. Ver­ify the Busi­ness Case:

The Busi­ness Case will need to be checked at in­ter­vals to en­sure that the Busi­ness case is still valid and the project is still jus­ti­fied.

3. Main­tain the Busi­ness Case:

The Busi­ness Case will need to be kept up-to-date with the lat­est in­for­ma­tion, such as project cost and ben­e­fits pro­jec­tions. There­fore, the Busi­ness Case should have a Change Log, in which ex­tended ob­jec­tives, changes in al­lo­ca­tion of re­sources or bud­get are up­dated.

4. Con­firm the Ben­e­fits:

Check to see whether the in­tended ben­e­fits have been (or will be) re­alised. Con­firm­ing ben­e­fits will most likely take post project. Ben­e­fits are iden­ti­fied and writ­ten down at the start of the project in the doc­u­ment The Ben­e­fits Re­view Plan and the Busi­ness Case. For each ben­e­fit, you must in­clude how the ben­e­fit will be mea­sured and when this ben­e­fit will be re­al­ized. This in­for­ma­tion is placed in the Ben­e­fits Re­view Plan.

Ex­am­ple of mea­sur­able: X% re­duc­tion in costs, X% in­crease in profits

Ben­e­fits are usu­ally re­al­ized af­ter the project is closed, but some can be re­al­ized dur­ing the project. The step Con­firm the Ben­e­fits checks to see if ex­pected ben­e­fits have been re­al­ized. And this would be a very use­ful in­di­ca­tor of the project suc­cess.

For many, the Busi­ness Case is in­deed some­thing that you do at the beginning of a project in or­der to se­cure the ap­proval and then for­get about it.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Malaysia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.