Planning

Planning in Prince 2 is very important and an on going practice.  A number of baseline documents are produced such as the Project Initiation Document (PID) and the client’s Business Case.  Others such as the Project Plan and the Quality Plan are updated through out the project.  Yet others such as the Risk Register and Change Control are added to and updated on a regular basis throughout the project. One important planning document is the Work Package that designs a section or group of work that needs to be produced as part of the project deliverables.

At Gaia we believe that extensive planning, some of it before we appear on site, is important.  We do this in order to ensure that there is a minimal impact on the business and day to day operations of our clients.  Our really important planning documents are:

  • Project Initiation Document (PID): setting out the parameters, aims, obligations and deliverables of the project. This is a baseline document that the Steering Board signs off at the start of the project and then uses to guides the progress and aims of the project. It is never updated, instead change control is used to manage exceptions and changes to the PID.
  • Project Plan: this sets out deliverables, activities and milestones against time. It also maps dependencies and resource allocations.
  • Work Package: the specification and design of a section or group of work that needs to be produced as part of the project deliverables. It defines the interfaces and interactions, UX, API etc. The deliverable with the assigned responsible group or person as well as the expected date of the deliverable is on the Project Plan, referenced to this appropriate Work Package.
  • Risk Register: this allows our project team to recognise potential risks to time, budget or quality of project activities or interactions and ensures that our project manager can mitigate or minimise these risks.
  • Change Control: these are the ITIL procedures we follow to manage requested and required changes to the defined specifications in the PID and the Work Packages.
  • Plan of Works: detailing the expected times and dates for start and completion of the deployments.
  • Responsibility Matrix: sets out the team members and their responsibilities. We find this helps our clients understand how we work on a project.
  • Health and Safety Statements: detailing initial risk assessments and Gaia site requirements, we find this useful where building works are necessary. Some of our work also requires these statements.

We update the appropriate documents on a regular basis and as the project moves from stage to stage.

Communications

At Gaia we believe that communication within a project is vital, not only between project team members but also with the most important people in the project, the client.

At the start of the project we set up a Project Board, that includes the major stakeholders as well as a senior member of Gaia.  Their role is to oversee the project and provide sign offs to major changes and all deliverables.  The project manager reports to this the Steering Board and is guided by them during the project.

During the project we will hold formal project progress meetings to which the client is invited.  At these meetings we will also discuss any changes that issues that might have arisen in the past period. At all other times we have informal meetings with our clients and users to discuss the project, its requirements and its progress.

In some projects, particularly where building changes and/or networks are involved we will liaise on our client’s behalf with ISPs and energy suppliers.

Initiation

Initiation within a Prince 2 project is a vital process where baselines and justifications are established.  We assume that our clients have a Business Case and have thus defined the project needs, obligations and visions.  We thus use our PID as the main base line document.

During the Initiation stage of the project, as well as our planning activities and setting up our project team we will ensure that an appropriate and committed Project Board is set up. We will advise on their responsibilities should this be necessary.  We will also advise on the appropriate users to be assigned to the project.

Directing

At Gaia we believe that having the right people to direct a project is vital.  We use Prince 2 qualified project managers, all of whom have several years experience. As well as managing the day to day activities of the project they are also the main interface between the client and the project team as well as between the users and the project team.  Their role is to:

  • Initiate the project, kicking it off and preparing the appropriate documents.
  • Produce the deliverables and Work Packages throughout the project.
  • Ensure that the obligations, requirements and benefits of the project have been met and delivered.
  • Formally close the project on the authority of the Project Board.
  • Review the project after closure to add to the knowledge base.

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