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Project Management

An Introduction to PRINCE

This document aims to give a general introduction to PRINCE ( PRojects IN Controlled Environments, the method developed by the Central Computer and Telecommunications Agency (CCTA) of UK ) used in OGCIO for its IT projects. PRINCE has been referred during the development of such practice. The method is currently being supported by the Cabinet Office, the UK Government.

The practice takes a process-based approach. The processes define the activities to be carried out during the project, e.g. processes of starting a project, managing product delivery and closing a project. In addition, the practice includes a number of components that are applied within the appropriate activities, e.g. organisation, planning, risk management and control.

Major components are :

Organisation

It is recommended to set up proper project organisation with representatives from executive user, application user and service provider such that their interests can be protected and responsibilities are clearly defined. The organisation usually composes of three parts, namely the Project Steering Committee (PSC), the Project Assurance (PA) and the Project Manager (PM). The roles and responsibilities of each member in the organisation should be clearly defined in the Project Initiation Document (PID).

Planning

The concept of 'Staging' is recommended. A project should be divided into stages to facilitate project management and control. It provides senior management the opportunities to assess the project progress and business case at the stage boundaries. It also enables more realistic estimate for each stage. In addition, Product-based Planning is introduced. It encourages planning the products first and then the activities. It ensures that the derived activities will directly contribute to the development of the products. The project manager should also plan on project level for PSC to oversee the project and he / she should also plan on detailed stage level for his / her day-to-day control.

Controls

'Tolerance' is the room or spare capacity given to the project manager by PSC to handle exception without necessary asking for additional time, budget or direction from the PSC. This reduces administrative effort to be spent by the PSC & project manager. The concept of 'Creeping Commitment' is also recommended. At the end of that stage, the situation is reviewed and the next stage is authorised only if the PSC is satisfied with the project progress. This ensures that the project are running as planned and over-commitment can be avoided.

Other practices such as Risk Management, Quality Management and Change Control for a project are also introduced.

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