If a Project Control Board (PCB) is set up with the right people on it, and by this I mean those with the level of decision making authority to be able to make decisions at a level to directly influence a project, then the project will be in the best state for it to deliver successfully.
Too often I see PCB’s with members who either (a) don’t understand their roles and what it is that they are supposed to be there to do – and this is very common or (b) PCB’s with incorrect makeup meaning that it’s members do not have the right level of decision making authority within the organisation, in order to assist the project where necessary.
Project Managers should NOT be making decisions on key aspects on of a project by themselves. They should NOT be managing high rated risks without the PCB being fully aware of the situation and controlling the mitigating scenarios. They should NOT be dealing with issues that are really above their authority levels on the project.
When this occurs, chaos and mayhem reign on the project.
The Project Managers roles is to manage delivery on a day to day basis, with a full level of detail in relation to the business requirements and how delivery will occur. There should be fully documented agreement on what the project will and won’t deliver up front, BEFORE the project is even initiated.
It is then the PCBs role to monitor adherence to the deliverables against the business requirements. Which can mean assisting with bottlenecks in delivery; fully monitoring the risks identified on the project and ensuring that mitigation is being correctly managed; having full visibility of all issues that are being identified and how they are being tracked and monitored – especially when this relates to issues that arise outside the deliverables and/or outside what is know to be normal in relation to delivery outputs.
When the PCB is not involved in the decision making on a project the way that they should a number of the following may occur:
1. The project may inadvertently end up off-scope.
2. Risks may not be properly mitigated and managed
3. Issues that cause an impact on delivery are not escalated and therefore not suitably managed
4. Their may be damage to relationships, especially where the project has deliverable pertaining to external parties
5. The project team may feel the need to ‘fix’ the things that come up in a reactive way, rather than having them fully detailed and planned in a way to positively impact the outcome
6. The project manager may feel constantly stressed and under pressure, when/if things start to go wrong and feel that they have to manage them themselves without support
7. A higher rate of errors may occur
8. Project timelines may blow out
Each of these items has an impact on the successful delivery of the project, not to mention relationships not only within the project team, but also externally.
Get smart, and ensure that your PCB really does understand their responsibility and as the PM let them be the decision maker on your project – if only to protect yourself when key hard decisions need to be made.