How do I know my project is a “good one”?

Make your information count

Programme and project management relies on information, much of which is contained in documents and tools. Good practice (and indeed common sense!) says that a deliverable needs to be verified to ensure it is fit for purpose. So, for example, software deliveries are verified through formal testing. Documents are “reviewed” by the appropriate people before they are approved. But who are the “appropriate people” and what are they looking for when they review a document? How do they know it’s a “good one”?
Good documents as a basis for rigorous decision making and baseline management
Most programme and project management information is contained in documents. All the key ones are defined in templates, which act as a prompt to the author to ensure the right information is included. Templates also ensure there is consistency in terminology and approach, so that the people who review the document (and later approve it) don’t waste time resetting their brains to yet another “way of doing things”. The documents form the basis for decision making and for setting baselines. Good documents lead to more rigorous decisions and control.
The product description as a key enabler to “good”
Coupled with every significant template you should have a “Product Description“. This is a technique taken directly from PRINCE2 which helps ensure the documents which are produced are fit for purpose. The product descriptions contain key information defining:

  • composition what the deliverable is made up of
  • quality criteria which can be used to judge if the deliverable meets the need
  • review skills, suggesting what skills reviewers need to have if they are to be effective
  • tailoring guidelines, which say how you can change the template to suit your particular needs.

By including standard product descriptions in your enterprise approach, you can save your company time as your people do not need to develop their own each time.