Case Study

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1 - agree precise specification (terms of reference) for the project Often called the project 'terms of reference', the project specification should be an accurate description of what the project aims to achieve, and the criteria and flexibilities involved, its parameters, scope, range, outputs, sources, participants, budgets and timescales (beware - see note below about planning timescales). Typically and prior to the project's formal establishment the project 'terms of reference' are produced or at least drafted at a fundamental level by a 'project sponsor', or 'executive in charge' (of the project). Often such an initial top-level general project description (a 'business case' basically) is required for the project to be justified,…show more content…
A project specification is essential in that it creates a measurable accountability for anyone wishing at any time to assess how the project is going, or its success on completion. Project terms of reference also provide an essential discipline and framework to keep the project on track, and concerned with the original agreed aims and parameters. A properly formulated and agreed project specification also protects the project manager from being held to account for issues that are outside the original scope of the project or beyond the project manager's control. This is the stage to agree special conditions or exceptions with those in authority. Once you've published the terms of reference you have created a very firm set of expectations by which you will be judged. So if you have any concerns, or want to renegotiate, now's the time to do it. The largest projects can require several weeks to produce and agree project terms of reference. Most normal business projects however require a few days thinking and consulting to produce a suitable project specification. Establishing and agreeing a project specification is an important process even if your task is simple one. A template for a project specification: 1. Describe purpose, aims and deliverables. 2. State parameters (timescales, budgets, range, scope, territory, authority). 3. State people involved and the way the team will work (frequency of meetings, decision-making process). 4.

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