This procedure articulates the processes and responsibilities associated with the management of University projects.
- Governing Policy
- Project Categories
- Project Methodology
4.1 Service Improvements
4.2 Program Management
4.3 Portfolio Management
- Project Phases
5.1. Pre-initiate Phase
5.2. Initiate Phase
5.3. Plan Phase
5.4. Implement Phase
5.5. Close Phase
5.6. Post-project Operations
- Project funding
- ACU Project Management Community
- Revision made to this Procedure
- Further Assistance
1. Governing Policy
This procedure is governed by the ACU Project Management Policy.
The Project Management Procedure applies to projects in the University. A project is a body of work with distinct start and end dates that progresses through defined phases and adheres to a formal project management methodology.
It results in the delivery of one or more outputs.
3. Project Categories
Projects are categorised to simple, medium and complex projects based on their risk level, duration and funding required.
The complexity is determined by the risk level, business impact, familiarity of the solutions, and other pertinent factors which may influence the likelihood of success. To provide the relevant level of support, each project category has different expectations to the governance set up and artefacts produced. Guidelines to categorising projects are published together with this procedure.
4. Project Methodology
ACU recognises that each project is unique and supports two alternate approaches to implementing projects.
- Traditional mode This follows the “waterfall” approach which emphasises detailed planning upfront and execution of those plans, as they are. This model has previously formed the foundation of the ACU Project Management Model.
- Suitability: Well suited to situations where the business requirements are well known in advance and are expected to remain stable throughout the project implementation. Projects with large capital outlays would expand the traditional model to so called front-loaded planning where planning is extensive before the implementation commence
- Target: Deliver the full scope but may be require additional time or funding to complete, if any unforeseen complexities are encountered.
- Planning: Detailed planning upfron
- Implementation: Execution of the plans as closely as possibl
- Funding: Released in full against an approved Business Case.
- Flexible model. This follows the “agile” approach in which the implementation is done in small, time-bound stages (iterations), and allows responsiveness to uncertainty and evolving business needs.
- Suitability: Well suited to situations where the requirements are likely to evolve through the implementation.
- Target: Implement the project outputs in priority order, as determined by a representative from the end-user community (appointed by the Senior User). The project delivery is “time-boxed and cost-boxed”, e. a fixed time and budget is given, and the delivery adheres to those constraints. Should any unforeseen complexities arise during the implementation, the scope may be reduced by removing low-priority items.
- Planning: Iterative, developing an outline plan upfront in the Project Initiation Document and detailed plans only for the next one or two stages (“iterations” or “sprints”) and keeping plans for later stages at a higher le
- Implementation: All stages are fixed for time. The implementation in whole is fixed for time and fund
- Funding: Released in full against an approved Business Case, or alternatively in increments against approved delivery of milestones and acceptable plans for next stage
In all models, the approvals and project governance model are based on the applicable project category.
The Project Manager – in liaison with the Project Owner – chooses the most applicable approach from the two. The project methodology is largely based on Prince2 but adapted to suit the University.
4.1. SERVICE IMPROVEMENTS
Service excellence improvements can be implemented as a project where the outputs are developed using the lean methodology. These projects will apply either a traditional or flexible model to deliver the project. Lean process, tools and templates are used to inform and create the changes in the applicable services during the Implement Phase.
4.2. PROGRAM MANAGEMENT
Where a program is set up to deliver change through related projects, the methodology is based on Managing Successful Programmes (MSP). Guidance is provided by the Portfolio Projects Office (PPO) within the Office of the Deputy Chief Operating Officer (DCOO), Corporate Services.
4.3. PORTFOLIO MANAGEMENT
Project portfolio management practice supports decision-making about investments and project spending. Its purpose is to analyse and provide information about projects in their performance and support the selection of new projects.
It also monitors and reports on projects to assist senior stakeholders in directing projects. The methodology is based on Management of Portfolios (MoP).
5. Project Phases
It is recommended that projects progress through the following project phases.
5.1. PRE-INITIATE PHASE
The Pre-Initiate Phase builds the foundation of a future project and is often triggered when an individual identifies an opportunity or need to improve a process, implement a new service or solve a problem. It defines what the proposed change will attempt to achieve, defining the change delivered and resulting impact to the University. All proposed changes are expected to go through the Pre-Initiate phase to develop their business justification and gain support to it.
The Pre-Initiate phase is led by the Executive Sponsor. Key outputs:
- An initial assessment of project category and governance structure.
- Proposal for Business Change, or similar. This articulates the business opportunity or need, outcome and benefits of addressing the need and what type of a response would be appropri
- The proposal is added to the project register as a potential future proje
5.2. INITIATE PHASE
The Initiate Phase assesses the business opportunity or need in detail. This assessment identifies the outcome and benefits of the proposed change, potential solution options, resources and time required, and any significant risks associated with the change. This leads to a funding decision and agreement of a project delivery approach.
An exploration activity, feasibility study, or proof of concept (PoC) can be undertaken in this phase to inform the decision-making on the recommended approach and funding required for the implementation. This work can be funded separately as ‘seed funding’ to cover any significant consulting, resource or material costs.
The Initiate phase is led and governed by the Executive Sponsor.
- Confirm project category and recommend a governance structure.
o At the discression of the Executive Sponsor, the governance may commence in order to oversee the development of the Business Case.
- Complete a Project Business Case (for medium and complex projects) or expand the Proposal for Business Change to describe the intended approach to manage the project (simple projects).
- When applicable, a feasibility or proof of concept report, or similar, to complement the Business Ca The review, endorsement and approval of a Business Case is described in a separate guideline.
5.3. PLAN PHASE
The Plan Phase provides further detail about how the project will be conducted, change delivered and the resulting benefits realised. This phase has three major activities: to plan the implementation, including the schedule, resourcing and budget information; to plan how business change will be managed; and to plan the activities, measures and data used to evidence that the benefits will be realised.
This phase is expected of medium and complex projects. The simple projects can choose to expand their Proposal for Business Change to describe how the project outputs are delivered, as applicable.
The delivery approach documents consist of all the arrangements and activities related to management of the project, and systems, staff, processes and training that must be completed to achieve the intended project outputs.
For medium and complex projects, a Project Manager is appointed and is responsible for the Plan phase.
The governance commences to direct and oversee the project, as applicable (if not commenced in the Initiate phase). The Plan phase is led by the Project Manager and governed by the Project Owner or Project Governance Group.
Key outputs for medium and complex projects:
- Project Initiation Document (PID)
- Project Schedule
- Project Budget
- Preparation of Project Registers (risk, issue and change registers)
- Benefits Realisation Plan and Project Benefits Register with measurement of initial baseline values
- Business Change Plan
- Delivery approach documents (for complex projects)
Simple projects can optionally produce any of the outputs above, where it assists in the oversight and delivery of the project.
Project following the flexible model typically do their upfront planning at a higher level and the detailed planning is done only for the next one or two stages (iterations or sprints).
5.4. IMPLEMENT PHASE
The Implement Phase focuses on the process of developing and implementing the project outputs (often called ‘deliverables’) and transitioning them into operational use.
The implementation can be performed in one stage or be split into two or more stages. Such a split would first develop a “minimum viable product” (MVP) and then gradually expand that. Each stage is to be designed and planned so that the project can be paused or closed after any of them, if required for organisational reasons (such as changes in strategic goals or funding allocations). Funding may be released on a similar staged basis, subject to successful completion of the previous stage(s).
The implementation concludes in the verification of the project outputs and transitioning (handover) to the Executive Sponsor and staff or students for continuous use of the outputs. They are also transitioned to the operational areas or external suppliers responsible for ongoing support and maintenance (if applicable to the project).
An integral part of the Implement phase is the Project Manager’s work on the project to manage stakeholder expectations, risk level, scope, resources, time and financial position of the project and resolve any issues or changes encountered.
The Implement phase is led by the Project Manager and governed by the Project Owner or Project Governance Group.
- Milestone Reports
- Updates to project’s plans, schedule and registers, as required
- Any additional documentation required in the project
5.5. CLOSE PHASE
The Close Phase is the final phase of a project and performs the formal closure of the delivery component of the project. It has three main activities:
- Communication to stakeholders about the completion of the projec
- Evaluation of the success of the project and completion of a Post-Implementation Review
- Measurement of the output benefits and the first interim measure of the outcome
The Close phase is led by the Project Manager and governed by the Project Owner or Project Governance Group. At the end of the Close phase, the project governance and all key project management roles cease.
- Prepare communications to the project stakeholders and the wider community to notify them of the completion of the proj
- Complete Post-Implementation Review (for medium and complex projects)
- Project benefit measurement results
5.6. POST-PROJECT OPERATIONS
Following the project closure, post-project operations commence. During this period, the project outputs are taken into full use and embedded into the normal functions of the impacted parts of the University. Two key activities will take place:
- Reinforcing the business change
- Benefits realisation
Capital-funded projects have a Financial Closure stage for the finalisation of any outstanding invoices and other contractual arrangements. This stage lasts for three (3) months after the end of Close Phase and is controlled by the relevant Management Accountant (finance), supported by a Project Office Manager, Portfolio Manager, or similar.
Major capital and development projects belonging to the Properties & Facilities directorate have a Defect Liability Period (DLP). During this period any issues discovered in facilities delivered are rectified. The Project Manager remains attached to the project and remaining project funds are held within the project for this purpose for 12 months after the handover of a facility from the main contractor to ACU.
The post-project operations are led by the Executive Sponsor. Key outputs:
- Updates to the Project Benefits Register
- Benefits Realisation Report
- Business Change Report
- Payment of any outstanding expenses
The realisation of intended benefits and success of the business change is reported by the Executive Sponsor within 12 months from the end of Close phase. This is supported by a Portfolio Manager, Portfolio Analyst, or similar role. For benefits which are to be realised over a longer period, this is an interim report evidencing the progress achieved.
If requested by the Executive Sponsor or any member of the University’s Senior Executive, a project review can be facilitated by the Portfolio Manager to assess the performance of the project and governance arrangements, and provide recommendations for future projects. The review is conducted by a team independent of the project stakeholders and team or by a third party organisation.
6. Project funding
Projects can be funded from operational or capital funds or a combination of both.
Operational funds (opex) can be used for simple projects and to absorb any staff costs in relation to the work done in the project. It can also be used to fund any professional or consulting services provisioned for a project where the output is not an asset to be capitalised, e.g. specialist services to produce a report.
- The relevant financial delegate will endorse the use of funds and set a ceiling (cap) to the amount allowed for the proje
- The use of operational funds in a project should be monitored and reported, where possible, to the accuracy allowed by the available method
Capital funds (capex) are used for medium and complex projects. Any procurement for assets (durable goods or items used for University business conduct) or licences is funded with capital funds. These items are capitalised by the Finance Directorate at the completion of the project. Also, any professional and consulting services in relation to items to be capitalised are funded through capital funds, e.g. engineering services for construction work.
- All requests for capital funding are submitted as a Business Case, reviewed by the Finance Directorate and the Portfolio Project Office and approved by the Capital Planning Committee (CPC), Finance and Resource Committee (FRC), or the Senate.
- For approved new projects, a new project code is set up in the General Ledger and funds transferred onto that.
- The use of capital funds is reported through the General Ledger and all applicable spend is to be recorded the
Project funding can be released in two different ways:
- All at once. The Proposal for Business Chance or Business Case requests the release of all funding required to plan, implement and close the proposed project. This can be considered for projects with a well understood scope and outpu
- Staged release. The Business Case requests initially a partial release of funds (“seed funding”) to cover a feasibility study, proof of concept, or similar exploratory stage. During this stage, the business requirements, options analysis, preferred implementation approach and related resource requirements are detailed. An amended Business Case is presented to request funds to plan, implement and close the proposed projec
- Where applicable, the funding releases can be staged further on re This should be considered for projects with incremental adoption of the outputs or high degree of uncertainty, and should be linked to the success of the previous stages. For example, stages could be (1) ‘System selection’, (2) ‘Process change and system rollout in Faculty A’, (3) ‘…faculty B’, (4) ‘…remaining faculties’.
7. ACU Project Management Community
A Project Management Community is hosted through the Office of the Deputy Chief Operating Officer (or as delegated) and is responsible for facilitating the group. The community aims to support staff engaged in projects by providing information and organising workshops and similar sessions on topics related to project management.
This procedure will be formally reviewed every 5 years in conjunction with the ACU Project Management Policy.
The procedure will be reviewed for any minor amendments every 12 months by the Responsible Officer or delegated.
9. Revision made to this Procedure
September 2019 (minor amendments): Added ‘Flexible model’ for implementations, amended descriptions for project phases, added section ‘Project funding’.
10. Further Assistance
Guideline documents and project management templates are available through the ACU staff intranet, ACU Project Management Model page.
The ACU Project Management Model is maintained by the Portfolio Projects Office (PPO) within the Office of the Deputy Chief Operating Officer (DCOO), Corporate Services. Any contacts should be directed to the National Manager, Portfolio Projects Office.
- ACU Benefits Realisation Plan - 2019 09.xlsx (Policy, MS Excel Document, 29.3 KB)
- ACU Project Benefits Management Guideline 2019 11 (Policy, PDF File, 3.4 MB)
- ACU Project Management Procedure - Oct 2019 (Policy, PDF File, 163.1 KB)
- Business Case financial model workbook - 2019 11.xlsx (Policy, MS Excel Document, 27.6 KB)
- Business_Change_Plan_-_2019_05.xlsx (Policy, MS Excel Document, 28.7 KB)
- Project Controls Workbook 2019 11.xlsx (Policy, MS Excel Document, 35.5 KB)
- Project_Change_Request_Template_2018_09.docx (Policy, MS Word Document, 1.6 MB)
- Project_Status_Report_-_Template_2018_08.pptx (Policy, MS PowerPoint Document, 391.6 KB)
- Proposal for a Business Change template - 2019 11.docx (Policy, MS Word Document, 471.5 KB)
- ACU Project Management Post-Implementation Review Report Template (Template, MS Word Document, 44.6 KB)
- Project Business Case - 2019 11 (Template, MS Word Document, 3.5 MB)
- Project Initiation Document PID - 2019 11 (Template, MS Word Document, 3.4 MB)
|Policy applies to||
|Policy Status||New Policy|
|Governing Authority||Planning, Quality and Risk Committee|
|Responsible Officer||Deputy Chief Operating Officer|
|Date of Last Revision||Not Applicable|
|Effective Date of Last Revision||01/01/2018|
* Unless otherwise indicated, this policy will still apply beyond the review date.
Related Policies, Procedures, Guidelines and Local Protocols
Project Management Policy
Project Sizing Guidelines
Project Management Lifecycle
ACU Business Case
ACU Project Initiation Document
ACU Post-Implementation Review Report
Page last updated: 2019-11-11
Short url: https://policies.acu.edu.au/795520