Establishing the project organisation is one of the more important things to do at the start of a project. This is particularly so for any large project and particularly so for any green field site project where there is no project organisation in existence and no precedent to fall back on.
Setting up a large project from scratch is like setting up a new company. It requires much of the same entrepreneurial drive, skill and imagination. Something like 90% of UK companies employ less than 10 people. Starting up a large project is akin to setting up a company in the top ten percent of UK companies by size. If you were a senior executive and decided to set up a new subsidiary company that will employ, say, 100 people would you choose a fairly junior manager with no experience of company set up who you don't even know and you don't even bother to interview to set that new company up for you?
And yet executives have been known to entrust the management of large IT projects - even projects with the potential to break the company - to junior managers who have no demonstrated ability to perform the task. And when was the last time you heard of a project board putting candidate project managers through a rigorous interviewing and selection process?
Why don't they? Well, if they want a Managing Director to set up a new subsidiary they know what questions to ask them; they know what they looking for; the new MD will be someone like them. But a project manager? They wouldn't know what to ask or what to look for. Anyway, surely anyone can manage a project?
And if you were setting up that new subsidiary would you pick someone whose only qualification was that they had been on a 5 day business management course and had a certificate to prove it? But: he's done a 5 day project management course and got a certificate? Give him the job!
We read in the press about major companies that have significant and costly business problems because new IT systems don't work properly. The public sector has its own horror stories too. There are, as always, many causes for such problems but amongst them will be a lack of a proper project organisation, symptomatic of which are comments such as these from senior executives:
Project Organisation chart starts at the top. That is, the top of the company. If the Chief Executive does not hold anyone responsible for the project not only will a key - the key - accountability be missing, but accountability will probably not be assigned further down the project organisation hierarchy.
This course therefore covers not just the things that the project manager and team members should do and be accountable for. It starts at the top and addresses how to get proper accountability established at company board level and how this should be propagated down through the project organisation. And how the same kind of thought processes that would go into setting up the organisation of a new company should go into the setting up of a large project.
The course covers the things that each person in the project organisation should be
accountable for and then goes on to examine the practicalities - the mechanics - of how
they should do things like risk management, estimating, planning, reporting and a host of
is covered in Chapter 3 of this Project Management Book:
Project Management in the Public Sector
Project Risk Management
Project Quality Management
The Tale of Three Project Managers
Business Leadership of IT Projects
Project Management Proverbs Laws
So You Want To Be A Project Manager?
Project Management Book - full text online