Saturday, 28 May 2011

Project and Programme Management #04: Project assessment

When you are preparing to write a business case, you need to have some idea of the size and complexity of your project, to give you a guide as to how much work needs to go into the business case (and subsequent project management). One or two pages may be sufficient for a “new garden shed”, but a lot more detail and analysis is needed for “a new office building”.

How much detail do you need?

There are many tools for assessing project size and complexity. The one I present below was first developed by the (then) Office of the Deputy Prime Minister in the UK for Local Government projects in around 2004. I have adapted it for more generic use, and it can be modified to fit your own circumstances. I do recommend, however, that you develop a standard assessment tool for your organisation so that different projects can be compared.

The assessment tool has two grids: one is used for assessing how risky the project might be, and the other is for assessing its complexity. The combination of the two scores gives you an assessment of the overall risk and complexity of the project. You can simplify this by using just one grid (the complexity grid) and using the single score to "size" your projects. (This was what the orginal ODPM grid did).

Each grid consists of a number of questions (the rows), and for each question there is a number of options (the columns). Each column within the grid carries a score (from 0 to 4), so if the first question has a score of 5, the second a score of 1, the third a score of 2, and so on up to 4. You simply add up your scores for all the questions.

You will end up with two scores – one for riskiness and one for complexity. These are then plotted on a grid as X and Y coordinates: where they cross marks your place on that grid. The grid is colour coded into four sections: not a project, minor project, medium project, major project. Depending on where you score, you can then proceed to manage the project accordingly. If all your projects are assessed in the same way, you’ll also be able to assess projects against each other and build a more standard approach to the way you manage them.

Grid 1: Project Risk

The risk grid is shown here - click the image to enlarge.

Grid 2: Project Complexity

The complexity grid is shown here - click the image to enlarge.

Grid 3: Risk/Complexity result

The risk/complexity grid for plotting the result is shown here - click the image to enlarge.

Example assessment

Let’s imagine you have a project to upgrade from Windows XP to Windows 7 in your organisation. Let’s say your organisation is quite large: 3,000 IT users, and that there is a mix of internal business users (e.g. HR and Finance) and customer facing users (e.g. Call Centre and Customer Advice Specialists).

Risk grid – score 11

The risk grid is shown here - click the image to enlarge.

Complexity grid – score 11

The complexity grid is shown here - click the image to enlarge.

Risk/Complexity result grid – Small project

The risk/complexity result grid is shown here - click the image to enlarge.

No comments:

Post a Comment