THE BUSINESS CASE 7 -- How is the project going to be controlled?

You must be able to demonstrate how the progress and status of a project is going to be tracked, and how the value is going to be protected -- and then delivered.

CIO brings you an ongoing series on project management from Jed Simms on a vital component of any project: the business case.

Finding out two years later that the value proposition vapourised during the project and that the net result was negative when (and if) the project staggers over the line, is not good management!

On larger and longer projects/programs you need to demonstrate how the progress and status of the project is going to be tracked and how the value is going to be protected and then delivered.

You need to answer the following questions:

  • When will it be reported and to whom? (Hopefully there is a standard value-based reporting process for all levels up to the Board).

  • How often will in-depth health checks be conducted? And who will get the results?

  • How will increases in the risk profile/risks/critical success factors be reported?

  • How will the financial viability of the project be tracked and reported?

  • Is the governance team trained in, for example, tracking the leading indicators of failure; and how will they be reported?

Control is not just focused on tracking time and cost; but on tracking scope, value, risks, viability and many other factors.

At the end of this section you need to have established:

  • that the proposed controls will ensure the project is successfully delivered;

  • AND that any problems that arise will be identified and acted upon early;

  • and that this will all be visible to those that need to know.

You need to give me, senior management, comfort this project won’t go off the rails and crash before anyone knows; and that if it does go off the rails, that we’ll know and know what is being done about it.

How does your business case process compare? Tell me

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

This is the last article in Jed Simms’ 7-part series on the business case. To view the first article in this series, click here.

To view the previous article in this series, click here.

For previous project management articles by Jed Simms visit How Do You Know if Your PMO is Successful, "PMO: What’s In A Name?" and “The Self Evident Truths of Project Management”.