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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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3 Identifying and involving stakeholders in a project

For every project, there will be a range of individuals or groups who have an interest in the different stages of the project. It could be the end users of an IT system, the line managers who will be expected to lead a restructuring initiative throughout the organisation, or the marketing department which will promote a new product. The support of these stakeholders is essential, if the project is to succeed. Therefore a key responsibility of the project manager will be to identify these stak
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2.2 Effective communication

Whilst effective communication is an essential skill for the project manager, most people tend to be over-optimistic about the accuracy and efficacy of the communication process. Achieving understanding can be difficult, especially in the atmosphere of change and uncertainty generated by a major project. Verma (1996) identifies the following barriers to good communication.


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Learning outcomes

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

  • identify why managing people is an essential part of project management;

  • establish which people and groups of people are important for the success of a project and why;

  • explain what issues are at stake in managing them;

  • evaluate how particular groups of people involved in a project might best be handled;

  • recognise which skills are most important for managing people in proje
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References

Frame, J.D. (1987) Managing Projects in Organizations: How to Make the Best Use of Time, Techniques and People, San Francisco, Jossey Bass.
Buzan, T. (1982) Use Your Head, London, Ariel Books.

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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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