A4 TenStep Context

Guiding Principles (A4.P1)

The following statements represent a set of guiding principles for the TenStep® Project Management Process and are reflected in all the subsequent content.

  • Manage scalably. A project management process must be flexible and scalable, based on the size of the underlying project. The TenStep process refers to this concept as "small methodology for small projects, large methodology for large projects™". Scalability refers to the level of complexity of the project management processes, as well as the time and focus applied to them.

  • Use on all projects. The TenStep® Project Management Process is designed to be applicable to all projects, whether you are building a house, a circuit board or a computer application. Fundamentally, all projects deal with planning, managing issues, scope, risk, etc. However, you may see some particular reference or example that is software-related (for instance, a suggested metric for system response time). In these cases, just substitute a comparable example that is applicable for your project (like circuit board speed).

  • Manage proactively. Projects must be managed proactively regardless of the size. Project managers that wait for things to happen most often get into trouble.

  • Develop project team – customer partnership. A successful project normally requires a partnership between the project team and the customer. The project is at higher risk of failure without active participation from the customer.

  • Establish project management processes up-front. Project management processes must be established up-front, and understood by the project team and the customer. Most processes require the involvement of multiple members of the customer and project team. These people will not understand their role in these processes if the processes are not discussed with them ahead of time.

  • Grant sufficient authority. roject managers must have a sufficient level of authority to be successful. If the project manager is responsible for the delivery of the project, yet he cannot make key decisions needed to manage the project, he will not be successful.

TenStep does not Include the Project Life Cycle (A4.P2)

The project management methodology is an umbrella under which the rest of the project work gets done. Remember that project management is what facilitates a project being successful - it is not the project itself. The work of the project is referred to as the “life cycle”. Regardless of the type of work, the life cycle typically follows a process that includes analysis, design, construct, test and implement (or one of many other project life cycles). While recognizing the importance of understanding the process needed to produce the project deliverables, this area is outside the scope of the TenStep process. (The life cycle for software development projects is explained in detail in the LifecycleStep product at www.LifecycleStep.com.)

TenStep does not Include the Gathering of Detailed Requirements (A4.P3)

Some methodologies include the gathering of business requirements to be part of the project management process. The TenStep® Project Management Process includes enough high-level analysis so that the Project Charter document can be prepared. Otherwise, the formal analysis/business requirements phase is considered part of the project life cycle and is out of the scope of the project management process. (See the LifecycleStep product at www.LifecycleStep.com for more details on the Analysis Phase.)

The Project Officially Begins When a Project Manager is Assigned (A4.P4)

There are many events that can signify that a project has officially started. In the TenStep Process, the project officially starts when the project manager is assigned. Typically the first job of the project manager is to formally define the work using a Project Charter document and build the schedule and budget. This definition for the project start-date still applies even if the formal project manager does not complete the Project Charter and schedule (they may have been completed ahead of time). Remember that project management is a role. Whoever completes the Project Charter and schedule is filling the role of the project manager, even if another person is assigned to the formal role at a later time.

The Project Manager has Authority and Responsibility (A4.P5)

In the TenStep process it is assumed that the project manager has a degree of responsibility and authority on the project. They do not necessarily have total control, but they have some amount of authority. If your organization has project managers with very little authority they are probably project coordinators or project expediters. In the TenStep process, the project manager has more authority than that.

Recognize the Purpose of the Business Case and the Project Charter (A4.P6)

In the TenStep process, the Business Case document is used to justify the project from a business perspective and it is used to allocate the funding for a project. However, just because the Business Case is approved does not mean that project is ready to start. It might be that it will be a number of months before the project actually starts.

The project officially starts when the project manager is assigned. The first thing that the project manager does is Define the Work and Build the Schedule and Budget. The Business Case is used as input. This work results in a Project Charter, Project Management Plan, schedule and budget. When the Project Charter is approved, the project is ready to begin execution. (Contrast this to the  PMBOK® Guide where the Project Charter authorizes the project. In TenStep, the project is authorized when the Business Case is approved, and the project is ready to begin execution when the Project Charter is approved.)

The TenStep Model is Focused More on Internal Project (A4.P7)

The overall approach behind the TenStep model generally assumes that you have an internal project with internal customers. While most of the process is also applicable to ccustomer-vendor projects, some of the model will need to be revised. For instance, on a project where you have an external customer, you may use a Statement of Work instead of a Project Charter. You might also have much stricter expectations about whether you are allowed to go over schedule and budget. Many of the roles might be different as well.

The Role of the Sponsor is Very Important (A4.P8)

TenStep identifies the role of the Sponsor as a key player in the success of the project. Many organizations have a person in this role, but they may be called by different names such as Project Champion or Customer. The TenStep process relies on this role to get project funding, approve major deliverables, clear roadblocks, and generally ensure that the project has the support it needs to be successful. However some organizations do not have this type of sponsor role. In some organizations, the sponsor is removed from having direct access to the project by a middle person that represents the client’s interest. In some projects, such as a federal government grant, the role of the sponsor may not exist at all. However, in the TenStep process we need someone in this role. If a true sponsor does not exist or cannot be identified, the project manager should look for another person that can fill this role.  

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