Saturday, December 27, 2014

PRINCE2 Governance: Who is Accountable for the Project Plan?

Approved PRINCE2 Project Plan
Some Executives have the perception that a project plan is something they order from the Project Manager. The Project Manager is then challenged to tune the project plan to shorter timelines and lower cost. The result is an unrealistic plan, and the Project Manager is held accountable to deliver on it. No wonder many project managers are stressed and burned out.

If this scenario sounds familiar, you should read on, because the PRINCE2 Organization and Planning Themes are really a great help in these situations – especially if you understand how to utilize them. The key trick is to get the Senior Supplier to take ownership of the realism of the plan – and this is how you do it:

  • Do not create the project plan in a vacuum, but rather in dialogue with stakeholders and key specialists. As a PRINCE2 Project Manager, you should not sit in your office and write a plan purely based on your own experience. An experienced project manager might be the best person to secure realism in the plan, but it doesn’t help if there ownership is not secured on the specialist side of the project.

  • Secure the proposed plan with supplier(s) management. The Senior Supplier might have several discipline managers in his or her line organization. These key resources can have an official assurance role in the project, but regardless, they should review and be held accountable for the realism touching their disciplines.

  • Review the Project Plan with the Senior Supplier before it is presented to the Project Board. Discuss the input given from the key specialists and discipline managers.

  • Have the Executive and the Senior Supplier in the same meeting the first time the project plan is presented. If you as a project manager is challenged on time and cost, you can pass the question on to the Senior Supplier.

PRINCE2 states that the Project Board is not a democracy. The Executive has the final say. If there is imbalance in seniority and authority between Senior Supplier and the Executive, you can get into a situation where the Executive is ordering a more “aggressive” plan, against the Senior Supplier advice. If so, there is only one thing left to say: The Executive is the final approver of the project plan and is ultimately accountable for the plan.

Read more about the PRINCE2 Organization Theme
Read more about the PRINCE2 Plans Theme
or the other PRINCE2 Themes
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