Preparing a project
Preparing a project

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Preparing a project

1.2 What is expected from projects?

  • The project may be expected to deliver financial benefits to the organisation.

  • In the public sector projects are usually expected to lead to social, economic and political outcomes.

All projects are different. The level of complexity differs and the context in which a project exists will affect it. There is no single right way to manage a project. All projects have customers.

There are three key dimensions to a project:

  1. budget

  2. time

  3. quality

and these have to be balanced to manage a project successfully.

Figure 1
Figure 1 The balance of project dimensions

These three dimensions are interlinked and each of the dimensions will probably receive particular attention at different stages in the project. The model is useful in reminding us of the tensions that may arise in attempts to keep each of these dimensions progressing according to plan. Traditional approaches to management of projects have focused on the technical aspects and often paid less attention to the influence of people on the project. People commission and sponsor projects, people are stakeholders in projects and people plan and carry out projects. In managing a project, the leadership, motivation and management of the people involved are as important as using appropriate planning, control and monitoring techniques. Again, there is a balance to be achieved. There will be people who want the project to succeed and people who are antagonistic towards it for some reason – for example, not everyone benefits from a new road, shopping centre or airport. There are also people involved in completing the project. The project team will have a range of different attitudes towards the project and may or may not want it to succeed! It would therefore be useful to draw up a communications matrix in order to see the stages of the project and who needs to be contacted.

The communications matrix

A communications matrix is a way of noting who needs to be consulted and at what stage. It can be a formal chart or rough notes, but its purpose is to help minimise the problems that arise when people feel they have not been consulted. The communications matrix below shows an example of a communications matrix for putting a new building unit into use.

A communications matrix

Stages Operations Director Area Manager Site Manager Marketing Director Equipment Suppliers Fittings Suppliers
Initial plan
After first site meeting
Operation of unit agreed
On-site work nearing end
Start operations
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