Managing a Project Stage Gate – Part 2
The “current state” Action List
This part of the stage gates is to assess the current state of the project and also to establish if a authorizing the next stage is at the right thing to do. If the project is out of control or was no longer viable, the correct management decision is to stop the project, not to let it roll on and so waste money and staff resources.
The project board should make it easy for the project manager to advise them of the facts including, importantly, any bad news. Do not play any management games with the project manager such as “don’t bring me problems, bring me solutions”, or “we don’t have problems in this organization, we have opportunities” which really prevent people from telling you what is really going on.
It is important for project board to get to the truth, and then be onside and totally supportive in helping resolve any problems.
If the project manager has messed up on something and that’s the cause some of the problems, help them to say so and move forward. Everyone makes mistakes, even you and I.
Project manager’s assessment
The project board will want to check out the project manager for you on the project both the positive and negative aspects.
Review the business case carefully and think about the implications of any changes. For example, the projection of benefits may have changed in either direction and that can affect the viability of the project.
Check the scope statement to ensure that it remains both accurate and sensible. If any new requirements of the merged in the last stage, check that they have been recorded together with the sauce, and that the scope statement or any other documents reflect them.
The rest of the charter
Review the rest of the project charter to be sure the their accurately reflects the current position of the project.
The project management plan (PMP) controls
Review the controls and the project as set down in the latest version of the project management plan (PMP). Check things such as referrals to the project board and progress reporting and ensure that they have been working satisfactorily.
If there’d been any problems, then make sure that necessary adjustments have been made or make them now.
The project board
Following on from checks on the overall controls honestly review whether the project board itself has functioned well within the last stage. If not, make changes
Review how well people have been functioning in the project roles. For example, have you got the right people and are they doing their jobs well? If necessary, make changes, and that may include changes to the project board roles.
Review the overall project risk position as it is now, based on the project managers reason update of the risk log. Also check the risk management mechanisms to ensure that they are working and having the desired effect.
Based on the knowledge you have gained from the previous items on this checklist, especially the business case, assess whether the project is still viable and should continue.
If not, instruct the project manager to begin the work to close it down in a controlled manner.