Define and characterize mission statements. What roles do mission statements play for a project?
A mission statement states the purpose of a project—its general direction and aims. In a few sentences or paragraphs, it states what the project and its sponsoring clients are trying to achieve.
Mission statements play two very important roles in a project. The first is that a mission statement helps establish and maintain the project’s overall direction. The second is that it can help establish “common ground” among a project’s stakeholders.
Describe how mission statements help to establish common ground.
Mission statements that are designed with the principal stakeholders’ advice and consent become a declaration of the stakeholders’ common aim. As such, they provide common ground for those stakeholders’ interests. That common ground can be used throughout the project to keep stakeholder ties strong, especially when unforeseen events arise and call for project changes.
What is a stakeholder in a project? Who are the stakeholders reviewed in this chapter, and what are their concerns or interests in a project?
Stakeholders are those who have an interest in the mission of a project or how it will be achieved and who can deeply affect it in some way.
Important stakeholders in any project include the clients of the project and the host or performing organization in which the project is being done. The project team is an important stakeholder, as are the end users and various resource suppliers.
Clients’ interests lie in having their needs met as much as possible, as quickly as possible, and, generally, for as low a price as possible.
The interests of host organizations include making a profit from the endeavor and keeping the project and other parts of the organization running smoothly.
Project teams’ interests are simply to be able to do the project given the time and cost constraints and the products and services to be delivered. Other key interests are to have a smoothly running project with minimum disruption from changes and having the resources to do the job when they are needed.
End Users’ interests focus on the utility of what is produced for them.
The primary interest of outside suppliers is to increase their revenues by servicing the project. Often, their interests focus more on revenues than on other issues important to the project.
What are the objectives and deliverables in a project? How do they differ from one another and from the mission statement? What roles do objectives and deliverables play for a project?
Project objectives are those outcomes a project needs to achieve to fulfill its mission. The project’s deliverables are the specific products and services produced to achieve those objectives.
One objective might focus on the effects of the event itself—what kinds of customers show up and how many. Another might focus on the advertising designed to get them to show up—who will it reach?
Project deliverables include interim as well as final deliverables. Final deliverables include the products and services the project is to ultimately provide the client. Once these deliverables are provided, the project’s mission is complete—the job is done.
Project objectives and deliverables play a variety of roles in a project. One is that they help clients define their goals in concrete terms. Another is that they provide the project team with specific outcomes to achieve. Still a third role is that they force stakeholders to make hard choices and trade-offs as they pursue their interests.
What are some of the key resources that need to be considered early in the development of a project?
Resources include all products and services that the project team will need in order to produce project deliverables. These include human resources, information, and authority.
How might ballpark estimates of project costs be developed early in the project? How should cost estimates be handled when working with the project’s stakeholders?
Outside clients, tend to overlook a lot of project activities and underestimate the actual costs of project items. Higher level managers in the host organization can also overlook cost items that are more apparent to project leaders working in the trenches.
Whether a project leader is asked to develop a project budget or is given one by the performing organization, he or she needs to think through the implications in terms of deliverables and scheduled delivery very carefully and convey the implications to his or her manager and clients. This is a valuable service but one that often requires, at the same time, both tact and assertiveness.
7. What is a project charter? What forms can a project charter take? What are reasons that a project charter should be developed and used?
A project charter is a thorough description of a project, and it formally authorizes the project to proceed.
A project charter can be as formal as those used in project organizations or as informal as a memo or e-mail that has been approved by the project sponsor—the manager with the authority to approve a project and commit organizational resources to it.
A project charter describes the project in enough detail that a sponsor can make an informed decision about whether it is worthwhile to commit resources to it.