A project plan is a document that outlines the tasks, activities, and resources required to complete a project and is used to guide the execution of the project. The project life cycle refers to the stages that a project goes through from its inception to its completion. Project control is the process of monitoring and controlling a project to ensure that it stays on track and meets its goals and objectives. Risk analysis is the process of identifying, assessing, and responding to risks that could impact a project.

Project life cycle

The project life cycle refers to the stages that a project goes through from its inception to its completion. The number and names of the stages can vary depending on the specific project and the methodology being used. Here is a common example of the stages in a project life cycle:

  1. Initiation: This is the first stage of the project, where the project is defined and a project team is formed. A project charter is often created at this stage to document the project’s goals, objectives, deliverables, stakeholders, and resources.
  2. Planning: In this stage, a project plan is developed to guide the execution of the project. The project plan typically includes a schedule, budget, and scope of work. It may also include a risk assessment and a communication plan.
  3. Execution: This is the stage where the project team carries out the activities specified in the project plan. This may involve designing and building the product or service, testing it, and training users.
  4. Monitoring and controlling: During this stage, the project team monitors the progress of the project and takes corrective action as needed to keep the project on track. This may involve adjusting the project plan, reassigning tasks, or obtaining additional resources.
  5. Closing: This is the final stage of the project, where the project team delivers the final product or service to the customer and transfers ownership to them. The project team also reviews the project to identify lessons learned and best practices for future projects.

Business case document

A business case document is a document that outlines the justification for a project or initiative. It typically includes information about the costs, benefits, risks, and stakeholders of the project. It is used to persuade decision-makers to invest in the project by demonstrating its potential value.

The contents of a business case document may include:

  • Executive summary: A brief overview of the business case that highlights the key points.
  • Problem statement: A description of the problem or opportunity that the project aims to address.
  • Proposed solution: A description of the proposed solution and how it will address the problem or opportunity.
  • Benefits: A list of the benefits that the project is expected to deliver, including any financial benefits.
  • Costs: A list of the costs associated with the project, including any upfront costs, ongoing costs, and opportunity costs.
  • Risks: A description of the risks associated with the project and how they will be managed.
  • Stakeholders: A list of the stakeholders who will be affected by the project and how they will be involved.
  • Alternatives: A description of any alternative solutions that were considered and why they were not chosen.

A formal document is helpful because it provides a clear and structured overview of the project, which can make it easier for decision-makers to understand and evaluate. It also allows the project team to thoroughly consider and document the costs, benefits, risks, and stakeholders of the project, which can help ensure that the project is viable and has a good chance of success.

Risk analysis

The three stages of risk analysis are:

  1. Risk identification: This is the first stage of risk analysis, where the project team identifies the potential risks that could affect the project. This may involve brainstorming sessions, reviewing project documents, and consulting with experts.
  2. Risk assessment: In this stage, the project team evaluates the likelihood and impact of each identified risk. This may involve using tools such as a probability and impact matrix to quantify the risks.
  3. Risk response: In the final stage of risk analysis, the project team develops a plan to mitigate, transfer, or accept each identified risk. This may involve implementing controls or procedures to prevent risks from occurring, insuring against risks, or accepting the risks as part of the project.

Project plan

The stages of a project plan typically include:

  1. Initiation: This is the first stage of the project, where the project is defined and a project team is formed. A project charter is often created at this stage to document the project’s goals, objectives, deliverables, stakeholders, and resources.
  2. Planning: In this stage, a project plan is developed to guide the execution of the project. The project plan typically includes a schedule, budget, and scope of work. It may also include a risk assessment and a communication plan.
  3. Execution: This is the stage where the project team carries out the activities specified in the project plan. This may involve designing and building the product or service, testing it, and training users.
  4. Monitoring and controlling: During this stage, the project team monitors the progress of the project and takes corrective action as needed to keep the project on track. This may involve adjusting the project plan, reassigning tasks, or obtaining additional resources.
  5. Closing: This is the final stage of the project, where the project team delivers the final product or service to the customer and transfers ownership to them. The project team also reviews the project to identify lessons learned and best practices for future projects.

Project initiation document

A project initiation document is a document that outlines the details of a project at the outset. It typically includes information about the project’s goals, objectives, deliverables, stakeholders, resources, and timeline. The benefits of a project initiation document are that it provides a clear and comprehensive overview of the project, helps to ensure that all relevant stakeholders are aware of the project’s purpose and scope, and serves as a reference point throughout the project.

Project staff

Key project staff may include:

  • Project manager: The project manager is responsible for leading the project team and ensuring that the project is completed on time, within budget, and to the required quality standards.
  • Team members: The team members are responsible for carrying out the tasks and activities assigned to them as part of the project plan.
  • Subject matter experts: Subject matter experts are individuals with specialised knowledge or skills relevant to the project. They may be consulted during the planning and execution stages of the project.
  • Stakeholders: Stakeholders are individuals or groups who have a vested interest in the project and may be affected by its outcomes. Stakeholders may include customers, employees, shareholders, and regulators. The project manager may work with stakeholders to ensure that their needs and concerns are addressed throughout the project.

Project control

The three stages of project control are:

  1. Planning: During the planning stage, the project team develops a project plan that outlines the tasks, activities, and resources required to complete the project. The project plan may include a schedule, budget, and scope of work. It may also include a risk assessment and a communication plan.
  2. Execution: In the execution stage, the project team carries out the activities specified in the project plan. This may involve designing and building the product or service, testing it, and training users.
  3. Monitoring and controlling: During the monitoring and controlling stage, the project team monitors the progress of the project and takes corrective action as needed to keep the project on track. This may involve adjusting the project plan, reassigning tasks, or obtaining additional resources.

Potential control actions during these stages may include:

  • Comparing the actual progress of the project against the project plan to identify any deviations
  • Identifying and addressing any issues or challenges that arise during the project
  • Adjusting the project plan as needed to ensure that the project remains on track
  • Communicating with stakeholders to keep them informed of the project’s progress and address any concerns they may have

Review

Post-project review

A post-project review is a review that is conducted after the project has been completed. It is an opportunity for the project team to reflect on the project and identify lessons learned and best practices for future projects. A post-project review typically includes a review of the project’s objectives, deliverables, costs, and benefits.

Post-implementation review

A post-implementation review is similar to a post-project review, but it is conducted after the project has been implemented and is in use. It is an opportunity to assess the effectiveness of the project and identify any issues or challenges that may have arisen after the project was completed. A post-implementation review may also include a review of the project’s ongoing maintenance and support requirements.


This content can be used as part of the Strategic Business Leader (SBL) module for the Association of Chartered & Certified Accountants (ACCA) examination.
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