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5.5.3 Normative pressures

Normative pressures concern what we think we ‘should’ do. They concern our values and the broader social values to which we subscribe. Some organisations make explicit attempts to foster particular kinds of value (for example, in relation to customer service), but normative pressures also come from outside the organisation, such as from a particular professional or religious affiliation.

Institutional pressures are important for both private and public-sector organisations.
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4 Summary

This section has examined marketing communications’ claims to strategic credentials. Historically there have been several barriers to this – the fragmented nature of development and execution in the absence of strategic co-ordination, rivalries between different communications disciplines, and short-termism in the marketing communications industry itself which has led to communications being seen as a tactical rather than strategic resource.

The traditional hierarchy of strategy has
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References

Craig, S. and Jassim, H. (1995) People and Project Management for IT, Maidenhead, McGraw-Hill.
Elbeik, S. and Thomas, M. (1998) Project Skills, Oxford, Butterworth-Heinemann.
Gulliver, F.B. (1987) ‘Post-project appraisals pay’, Harvard Business Review, March–April.
Sabbagh, K. (2000) Power into Art,
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4.2 Personal self-evaluation

You could also carry out a personal self-evaluation, to contribute to your own development as a project manager. You can develop a list of questions to evaluate your own performance:

  • Were the project objectives achieved?

  • Did the project stay within budget?

  • How were problems that occurred during the project been resolved?

  • What could you have done differently to improve the final result?

  • <
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4.1 Introduction

Managing a project provides considerable opportunities for self-development, but these can be lost if you become too immersed in delivering the project to remember that you will move on to other work once it concludes. For many managers, taking responsibility for a project is a time-bounded task with clear objectives and a fixed budget. A project usually involves managing staff, finance, operations and information across the boundaries of departments and functions, with complicated interactio
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3.8 Following up the report

The evaluation report will often contain recommendations for further actions and these may lead to new project ideas. Recommendations may relate to processes and procedures within the organisation. Project evaluation and debriefing can be a learning experience for the organisation as a whole, as well as for individuals. For example, British Petroleum gathers the lessons learnt from post-project appraisals in a series of booklets that are then used as guidance for writing project proposals. In
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3.6 Collecting and interpreting data

In many projects it can be difficult to make comparisons with anything similar. However, there may be quality standards that can be used for one of more of the outcomes, perhaps alongside different targets for time-scales and resource use. Benchmarks are another possible source of comparative data; they have been established for many processes, and data are available from industry, sector and professional support bodies.

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3.3 Evaluation during implementation of a project

At this stage the project activities are monitored to determine how their timing, quality and cost match the plan. The results of this monitoring are reviewed to see whether the plan needs to be modified. New environmental conditions may indicate the need to change the organisation's strategic direction. It might be necessary in that case to re-align the project, so that the outcomes relate to the new direction. In some cases it may be necessary to abort the project, if it is no longer approp
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3.2 Evaluation during the planning stage

Evaluation at this stage is usually concerned with whether plans represent good value for money. It may be appropriate to evaluate inputs to the project, to ensure that their quality and quantities are sufficient to achieve the objectives. In large building projects, many specialist tasks are subcontracted. Specifications are developed, and potential contractors are invited to tender for work. The element of competition can lead to problems if some tenderers are over-anxious to win contracts.
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3.1 Evaluation while developing the vision

A project is often shaped through discussion among those developing the vision and direction of the project. They may agree in general terms about what is to be achieved, but have to make a number of choices before deciding how to proceed. It may be important to allow time for different views to be heard and considered, and for attitudes to change and – hopefully – converge.

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Project drift

Project drift is a common problem when one project leads into another without a clear break, or when extra tasks, which were not identified at the beginning, are added to a project. If possible, significant changes of the latter kind should be treated separately as a follow-on project: otherwise they may not be properly resourced and this can have adverse consequences for motivation of the project team.

<
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2.4 Problems in closure

Projects do not always go according to plan. If problems develop during the closure period there are particular difficulties. The following story is told by an integration manager of an IT project.

Activity 3

0 hours 15
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The closure meeting

The final meeting is a time for celebrating successful completion. It could have a similar format to the launch meeting, and involve many of the same people. It might include:

  • reviewing the outputs or outcomes;

  • confirming the arrangements for any follow-up work;

  • thanking the team, the sponsor(s) and the stakeholders for their support;

  • presenting the completion report for approval and sign-off.


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2.2 Closure tasks

The closing stages of a project need as much, if not more, attention as the early stages. Many of the final tasks in a project may seem rather tedious ‘housekeeping’ once the project's main purpose has been achieved. Nevertheless, there are a number of actions that must be taken to close the project and ensure that any necessary maintenance arrangements have been made.

  • Make sure that all project staff actually stop work on the project.


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1.2 What is handed over, and when?

Not all handovers are at the completion of a project. In some projects there might be several different types of handover, which happen at different stages. For example, the Tate Modern was built within the shell of a disused power station, and an early handover point was when the building was purchased and became the property of the Tate Trustees. Such a handover is significant when a building may present long-term problems (in this case, contamination from its previous uses).


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1.1 Formal handover

The outputs of a project should be defined at the planning stage, including any conditions that will be required for a smooth transfer. Each outcome should be formally handed over to the sponsor who should confirm their delivery (‘sign them off’) so that there is no dispute about whether outcomes have been completed.

A closure list is likely to have sections to include the following groups of tasks, but each project will have different features to consider. A list of suggested areas
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Learning outcomes

At the end of this unit you should be able to:

  • explain the key components of project closure and their importance;

  • plan an effective project closure;

  • ensure that the project activities have been completed;

  • be alert to problems that may need to be resolved at the closure stage;

  • contribute to evaluating a project;

  • plan personal development to improve your performance in managing projects.


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References

Boddy, D. and Buchanan, D. (1992) Take the Lead: Interpersonal Skills for Project Managers, London, Prentice Hall.
Buchanan, D. and Badham, R (1999) Power, Politics and Organizational Change, London, Sage.
Deeble, S. (1999) ‘Holding hands on the brands’, The Guardian, 17 July.
Fowler, A. and Walsh, M. (1999)
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7.1 Sharing the project

As we have seen, the execution of a project may depend on the involvement and co-operation of several departments or functions within an organisation. If this is the case, then, for it to succeed, they must be prepared to share ownership of the project, be willing to work together to help the project achieve its objectives and be happy to release adequate resources when appropriate. The project manager and their team therefore have to create and maintain good relationships with all interested
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