CIO brings you an ongoing series on project management from Jed Simms on a vital component of any project: the business case.
The business case is just words unless someone is taking accountability for its delivery. If you’re going to give someone $10m you’d want them to be committed to and accountable for delivering the promised value proposition.
The Project Sponsor is primarily accountable for delivering the value proposition -- this is their commitment. They need to understand it, ‘own’ it and know that they’re going to be measured on its achievement.
The Project Manager is primarily accountable for delivering the project or program to enable, support and deliver the value proposition -- this is their commitment. If the project/program fails to deliver or delivers to an inadequate standard, the business value will be diminished and the project manager will have failed in his or her commitment.
The Steering Committee (or Project Board) is accountable for facilitating the success of the project/program in long term business terms, and ‘steering’ it successfully into the business so that the outcomes, benefits and value can be realised in full. Like the Project Sponsor, their accountability outlasts the project and continues until the benefits have been realised in full.
Various technical, risk and financial experts are accountable for assessing and asserting that the project as proposed is feasible and in alignment with any required standards, policies et al. If the solution is, for example, subsequently found to not be technically feasible, the technical expert should be shot, not the project manager.
At the end of this section you need to have established:
- which executive is taking full accountability for the successful delivery of the value (and their experience/competency to take on the role)
- which project manager is taking full accountability for the project’s successful delivery (and their experience/competency to take on the role)
- which executives are taking accountability for ensuring the project’s successful adoption into the business (and their experience/competency to take on the role)
- which experts have taken accountability for ensuring the project is valid, compliant and feasible.
Jed Simms is CIO magazine's project management columnist. Simms, founder of projects and benefits delivery research firm Capability Management, is also the developer of specialised project management and project governance Web site valuedeliverymanagement.com
To view the first article in this series, click here.
To view the last article in this series, click here.
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