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9 Summary

The project brief is a summary of previous discussions and research. If there is earlier documentation, the project brief can refer to these documents and summarise the key points rather than repeat everything. For example, there may have been previous documentation outlining the business case for the project so that commitment could be gained in earlier stages of the decision-making process. Similarly, there may be documentation that outlines the background to the project and the reasons for
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8 A basis for action and the project brief

Once the initial discussions about the purpose and feasibility of the project have confirmed that the project is worth carrying out, it is essential to establish the basic agreement as a document. The document will provide the reference point for all future work on the project and will be the basis for all judgements about whether the project is finally successful or not. This document is sometimes called the terms of reference, but usually incorporates some additional information in the form
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7.3 Risk and contingency planning

Risk in projects may be defined as ‘an event or situation … which can endanger all or part of the project’

(Nickson and Siddons, 1997).

Risk management is fundamental to project management and has an impact on estimates of time and effort required for the project. It is concerned with assessing the kinds of risk associated with trying to make something happen, for example the possibil
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7.1 Consider the purpose

A project that meets an important need for your organisation will contribute towards meeting wider organisational targets. Consider the purpose – what will the project contribute that will further the goals of the organisation? It is often useful to discuss this with the project sponsor and to align the project objectives with the strategic objectives of the organisation. If the ‘fit’ of the project with the organisational direction is considered at an early stage, it might be possible
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6 The stakeholders and their interests

Anyone in the organisation, or outside it, who has or might have a legitimate interest in the project and its outputs or outcomes, is a stakeholder. You need to identify these people and groups so that you can make sure you meet their expectations and manage the influence they may wish to exert over the progress of the project. Particularly important among the stakeholders will be:

  • the project sponsor – the person or group who set up the project, au
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5 Setting aims and objectives

‘If you don't know where you're going, you might end up somewhere else.’

(Casey Stengel, New York Yankees, quoted in Beckhard and Harris, 1987)

Aims are broad goals and can encompass an organisation's mission and values, whereas objectives define more precisely what a project is trying to achieve and how success will be recognised. The SMART principle is often applied to objectives. The
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4 Project inputs and outputs

A project involves the transformation of inputs into an output or product. For example, people's mental and physical efforts, bricks and mortar, equipment or materials might be transformed into a new road, a municipal park or an advertising campaign. Or perhaps transformed into a stream of outputs or products, for example, attendances at a conference or exhibition, state school places or data from a new in-house costing system.

The output or outputs might be used within the organisation
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3.3 Task breakdown chart

The task breakdown technique is a very logical approach to identifying the tasks involved in a project. Some people may find it suits them better than using mind maps; other people may find the techniques complement each other.

To do a task breakdown chart, first draw a box at the top of a page with the project title inside it. Then mentally identify the main elements that go to make up the project as shown below.


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3.2.1 To draw a mind-map (manually)

  • Put your paper (ideally a large sheet) in landscape format and write a brief title for the overall topic in the middle of the page.

  • For each major sub-topic or cluster of material, start a new major branch from the central topic, and label it.

  • Each sub-sub-topic or sub-cluster forms a subsidiary branch to the appropriate main branch.

  • Continue in this way for ever finer sub-branches.

  • You may
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3.2 Mind mapping

The term ‘Mind mapping’ was devised by Tony Buzan for the representation of ideas, notes, information, etc., in radial tree-diagrams – sometimes also called ‘spider diagrams’. These are now very widely used. Try a web search on ‘Buzan’, ‘mind map’ or ‘concept map’. Alternatively, you could try Compendium. This is open source software that allows you to create a variety of mind, concept or knowledge maps. For more information, please refer to our Author(s): The Open University

3.1 The idea

Essentially, any project begins with an idea. The idea is often one about how to do something that seems to be needed. Transforming ideas into projects begins with recognising the nature of this driving force:

Projects arise in order to meet human needs. A need emerges and is recognized, and the management determines whether a need is worth fulfilling. If it is, a project is organized to satisfy the need. Thus, nee
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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 projec
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Acknowledgements

Except for third party materials and otherwise stated (see terms and conditions), this content is made available under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Licence

Grateful acknowledgement is made to the following sources for permission to reproduce material in this unit:

Chris Stalker, He
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3 Conclusion

This unit has introduced a series of ideas that relate to campaigning and how organisations can adapt their outlook in order to achieve their campaigning goals.


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1 Problems facing campaigning organisations

This unit aims to explore some of the problems campaigning organisations can encounter, and how such problems can be anticipated and even avoided. It consists of:

  • a short case study about a parent teacher association which is campaigning for the lowering of the speed limit on roads within the vicinity of its school.

  • an audio extract from a podcast interview on campaigning which forms part of the learning material for the OU Business Scho
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Learning outcomes

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

  • understand some of the necessary changes that organisations may have to make in order to achieve particular campaigns;

  • give examples of how organisations have changed their campaigns to achieve their goals.


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Introduction

This unit will examine some of the key ideas connected with innovation in organisations. You will be introduced to some important concepts which are used to analyse innovation, in particular the distinction between innovation and invention. In exploring the theme of innovation, general links will be made to the implications for the business functions.

This material is from our archive and is an adapted extract from Understanding Business Functions (B202) which is n
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6 Impressing employers

'69 per cent of employers have done voluntary work in their lifetime, with over half stating that volunteering gave them people skills which helped them get to where they are today. Half of employers say that job candidates with volunteering experience are more motivated than other candidates.'

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3 What would suit me?

You should now have built up a realistic picture about what you want to achieve and what you have to offer and be able to match up all of these against some possible activities.

Here are some different ways to get you started:

Have another look at some of the statements in Section 1.3. These are just to
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1.2 Standing out from the crowd

'In today's climate when there are 30 people going for every job, volunteering makes your CV stand out and proves your dedication. What better way is there to stand out from the crowd?'

Emily Cook, August 2008 CSV website

So, employers are impress
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