Project and Programme Management
Project and programme management is the key to ensure a successful pilot. PRINCE2 [OGC 1998] is a structured project management methodology which provides clear guidance on the effective design and implementation of projects. The Agency is in the process of developing a Project Control Framework based on PRINCE2 principles. PRINCE2 is a project management method designed to provide a framework covering the wide variety of disciplines and activities required within a project. The focus throughout PRINCE2 is on the Business Case, which describes the rationale and business justification for the project. The methodology also helps to manage risk, control quality and change effectively.
All projects should have clear timescales and objectives. A project should have the following qualities in order to improve the chance of a successful delivery:
- Stages: A grouping of tasks at the end of which a review will take place and a decision will be made as to whether to move on to the next stage
- Gateways: A decision or approval point mid-stage or between one stage and the next
- Milestones: Key points in time
- Resources: Money or staff time to ensure delivery
- Organisation: A management structure, with clear roles and responsibilities to ensure the projects success.
Within the Highways Agency there is an Ethos which under pins all aspects of the project delivery process. The Ethos defines the way in which project delivery should be carried out in the future. The Ethos fully embraces the Agency’s requirement for continuous improvement. As a project, all pilots should follow this Ethos to ensure the successful delivery.
The Ethos defines three elements that should be used during project delivery. The successful delivery of any project depends on getting the balance between these three elements correct.
The first element is the ‘Process’ i.e. how the project is delivered.
Next is the Practical element i.e. the things to consider to plan and to deliver the pilot.
The final and most important element is ‘People’ i.e. the way the people behave towards each other.
Pilot managers should conduct the following activities to ensure successfully delivering pilots:
- Plan: Decide what needs to be done, when and by whom in order to achieve the objective
- Act: Put the above decisions into action
- Review: Review all parts of the project and identify if they have had the desired result
- Improve: Improve those parts of the project that did not have the desired result or could improve the likelihood of success next time.
The HA have introduced the ‘Investment Control Framework’ [HA 2007A] to ensure effective corporate governance regarding investment appraisal, and the control of income and expenditure in the Highways Agency. In particular to ensure;
- Best value for money
- Effective management control and decision making
- Good financial and contractual propriety.
Practitioners should follow the Investment Control Framework as required for all Agency projects. This means that all projects must be formally approved by an Investment Decision Maker and conducted in accordance with the Framework. The framework ensures that robust and visible financial and contractual delegations exist within the Agency. It also ensures compliance with the newly introduced DfT IAF, and where appropriate, the guidance of the Office of Government Commerce (OGC) gateway review process.
If necessary, an OGC gateway review should be carried out. The OGC Gateway process examines a programme or project at critical stages in its lifecycle, to provide assurance that it can progress successfully to the next stage. It is carried out at a key decision points by a team of experienced people, independent of the project team. More information about the OGC gateway review can be found on www.ogc.gov.uk