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Project Management – Controlling the project (#5 in the series Project Management Guide)
By Lasa Information Systems Team

A group of people need to take control of the project – this is the Project Board.

The Project Board

The Project Board is charged with the task of controlling the project. A PRINCE2 Project Board consists of:

  • Executive – Senior manager with overall responsibility for the project.
  • Senior User – Represents the interests of users of the deliverables – staff within an agency for example.
  • Senior Supplier – Represents the interests of those responsible for product development
  • Project Manager – Runs the project on a day-to-day basis on behalf of the Project board.

This is a smaller group than many voluntary organisations would use to oversee a project.

The emphasis is on controlling the project; it is much more a working group than a talking shop. It shouldn’t be seen as a steering group representing the interests of all the stakeholders. If there is real need for such a body it may well be required in addition to the Project Board.

The model appears unusual to voluntary sector eyes, but it has some strengths. The inclusion of the executive, a manager from the organisation, provides a champion for the project and ensures it doesn’t get isolated. The senior user, usually a staff member who may represent service users, ensures that the project does meet its users’ needs, an important issue for IT projects.
Stages

The Project Board’s first task will be to agree and sign off the Project Definition. This will initiate the project and set the different stages. The Board will agree the different stages of the project, monitor progress through each stage and sign it off as it concludes. A basic principle is that a stage doesn’t begin till the previous stage is successfully concluded. This is in contrast to informal (or non-existent) methods of project management where projects just roll on despite unresolved difficulties. The Project Board will meet regularly throughout the project. They will control progress, review and agree key documents such as Product Descriptions, and receive regular highlight reports.

Lasa Information Systems Team provides a range of services to community and voluntary organisations including ICT Health Checks and consulting on the best application of technology in your organisation. Lasa IST is responsible for maintaining the ICT Hub Knowledgebase.

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