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Setting up a project group

Processes Blog

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In our previous post ( we introduced the first step in

Take a project-based approach to setting up a project group

Mapping processes is not something that can be accommodated as part of “business as usual”, it requires focus and therefore naturally suits a project-based approach. When designing a project structure there are several things that are very important. Disregarding these means increasing the chances of the project failing.

1. Define a vision with goals – Business management must ensure that its vision and goals for process management are documented and broadly supported across the organisation but particularly by senior stakeholders.

2. Position the project within the organisation – Business management must clearly communicate their decision to embark on a process management/quality management project to the internal organisation, highlighting its importance to the organisation and explaining the selected approach and what they expect from employees. It may go without saying, but it is key that business management not deviate from the project's positioning.

3. Appoint a project manager, board, team – Business management must appoint a project manager and possibly also the project group members. Together with the project group members and, if required, the relevant departmental heads, the project manager will appoint employees to work on the project (both for administrative work and process description, for example).

4. Agree on tasks, authorisations and responsibilities – Tasks, authorisations and responsibilities within the project structure must be clearly documented and allocated. There must be clarity on who is authorised to make which decisions and what will require permission from another (higher) organisational level. These - advance - agreements must be approved, documented and communicated internally by business management.

5. Draw up and communicate a phased action planThe project manager shall, at the request of business management, draw up an action plan. Needless to say, this plan will take the vision and goals as its starting points. Depending on the scope of the project, this will be a phased plan, with clear targets for each phase in terms of time and budget.

The action plan

The action plan should at least cover the following points:

  • background to the project (vision, goals, reason)
  • project objectives (for each phase), preconditions, scope, assumptions
  • project business case
  • project organisation structure (including tasks, responsibilities and authorisations)
  • project plan for each phase
  • risk management
  • embedding in the organisation
  • configuration management
  • internal communication plan

Pitfalls in setting up a project group and/or structure

When setting up a project structure, a number of things need to be made clear and laid down unambiguously to prevent possible difficulties in the future and give the project a real chance of success. In the first white paper in this series we have already identified several of these things as pitfalls:

  • An approved and documented vision/objective is lacking
  • No support by business management
  • Actions are prompted by ad hoc policy by business management (changing priorities)
  • Lack of clarity and/or approved action plan
  • No clear allocation of tasks, responsibilities and authorisations
  • Agreements have not been laid down unambiguously
  • Processes are not embedded in the organisation
  • No people from the line freed up for the project group
  • Staff shortage
  • Employees have too little background knowledge
  • Poor internal communication

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