COOs: An IT Project is not the Same Thing as a COO

The IT Function is often responsible for project management in many organizations. The IT Function is the equivalent of ‘the tail wagging a dog’. This anomaly must be rectified.
Project Management Capability
While it may be true that many projects have large IT components, this does not necessarily mean they are IT projects. It is a business project with large IT components! The business should have project management, and Business Operations is the best place to do this.
This gives project managers (and their project managers) the opportunity to see the breadth and depth of business relationships as well as the business impact from all three dimensions: people, process, and technology. It is rare for projects to only impact one of these dimensions.
Justification of a project
A business case should be prepared for all projects. Some projects may be required to address operational risk, regulatory or cultural changes.
The business case is a collaborative document that the business lead (or project manager) creates with input from all business areas affected to ensure that a holistic business plan is created. It considers the benefits, costs, and risks of each business area. IT is just one area of the business.
PRINCE2 & Gated Governance
Many UK organisations have adopted PRINCE2 project management methods. Many have also embedded a gated governance framework based on a Software Delivery Lifecycle (SDLC) into their project management process.
This has led to the misconception that PRINCE2 is linked to the SDLC gates and the gated-governance framework. This is incorrect. PRINCE2 is a method for managing business projects. It only specifies three governance gates: ‘Starting Up a Project, ‘Initiating a Project, and ‘Closing a Project.
There are many stages between ‘Initiating a Project and ‘Closing a Project’. The ‘Managing Stage Boundaries’ construct allows for this. However, these stages should be aligned with a business project’s lifecycle and not the SDLC or SDLCs of the organisation (some organizations use both Agile and waterfall).
Project Planning
The project plan (and by that I don’t mean Gantt Chart or project schedule) is a business document. It should be written from a business perspective. It should include the following:
What are your business objectives?
What are the top-level business requirements?
How will the project be managed?
What are the business benefits? How will they be delivered?
What business approach should you take to resourcing the project
When will the business benefits enablers be delivered?
What are the costs for the business? When will they be charged?
What reporting requirements are there and how often should they be done?
What are the key stakeholders?
What is the business communication strategy/plan?
Organization Structure for a Business Project
Each project will require subject matter experts to address each specific perspective or business area.
Project Change Management – Engaging employees in the project to improve adoption and, thus, earn the project’s Return on Investment (ROI).
Operational Impact – People and process
Communications – People
Training – People, process, and technology
Finance – Benefits and Cost
Legal, Risk & Compliance – regulatory
Human Resources – people
IT – Information technology
Sales & Marketing – benefits & costs
Procurement – Benefits and Cost
Facilities – Benefits and Cost
Each of these areas can either be covered by a workstream (see diagram) or a working group within Business Project (see diagram).

Governance of Projects

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