Prince2 Project Management Processes Series – Directing a Project (DP)

In the next part of our series, we look at Directing a Project. Whilst day to day management of a project is given to the Project Manager, it is key that the Executive exercise overall control and be responsible for making key decisions i.e the Project Board – and this falls within the scope of “Directing a Project”. Directing a Project as a process, starts after “Starting Up a Project” (SU) and continues to run until project closure.

The key steps involved in this process are:-

  1. Confirm the project organisation
  2. Agree the project objectives
  3. Approve the plan to generate the “contract for the project”
  4. Approve the “contract”
  5. Approve each stage of the project
  6. Make decision on any major problems
  7. Keep senior management informed
  8. Confirm the correct closure of the project

Each of the steps are applied at different points within the project as shown in last weeks diagram. DP4 – Giving Ad Hoc Direction is clearly seen to be running throughout the project. Authorising Initiation (DP1) is followed by Authorising the Project (DP2). Authorising a Stage or Exception Plan (DP3) usually occurs several times in any one project and eventually leads to Confirming Project Closure (DP5).

The core of Directing a Project, is defining responsibilities for the Project Board and the process also gives legitimacy and direction to the project and its control throughout its life. The main Project Board responsibilities are summarised:-

  • Approving the Project Brief and authorising initiation.
  • Authorising the Project Initiation Document, commonly known as the “PID”, and taking ownership of the project.
  • Checking project status at the end of each stage and authorising continuation to the next stage.
  • Providing management direction and guidance to the Project Manager.
  • Liaising with programme management.
  • Confirming project closure

There are projects where a Project Board is not clearly identified and not empowered, leaving all the responsibility to the Project Manager. This usually happens on “smaller” projects and is a practice not to be encouraged as this leaves too much responsibility on the shoulders of one person. Without the direction and guidance of the Project Board there is an increased risk of project failure.

Information contained within this post is copyright to Crown, OGC

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