Improved Stage Planning: Output Decisions from the Client Checkpoint
In keeping with the Co-Manager model introduced in an earlier article, the Client Checkpoint is a major decision step in the ECPM Framework.
You can think of it as a StageGate that directs and channels project execution with the goal of maximizing delivered business value. Needless to say, meaningful client involvement in the Client Checkpoint is a Critical Success Factor (CSF) to the delivery of expected business value. The Client Checkpoint is structured around the well-known Input/Process/Output Process (shown below).
Figure 9.6 ECPM Framework IPO Process
It is described within the context of the ECPM Project Execution Phase and adapted to the PRINCE2 Framework.
The final piece of the Client Checkpoint Step is a decision-making step. It basically answers the question: What are we going to do in the next cycle? The Process Analysis gives the co-managers all of the information they need to answer that question. From the above Input Data and Process analyses, the following decisions to bring the Client Checkpoint Step to a close: re-prioritized list of Integrative Swim Lane contents; re-prioritized list of Probative Swim Lane contents; next cycle duration; and next cycle contents.
Related Article: Probative and Integrative Swim Lanes: A New Stage Planning Tool
Re-Prioritized List of Integrative Swim Lane Contents
Any functions or features planned for integration in the previous cycle, but not integrated, will have to be added back into the Scope Bank List and reprioritized with all other functions and features not yet integrated. This is not unusual. Just remember that the functions and features not integrated in the previous cycle should have been the lowest priority in that cycle. From what has been learned in the previous cycle about the priority of functions and features to be added, those functions and feature not integrated into the previous cycle may have a priority lower than the new candidates for integration. The failure to complete the previous cycle may not be a failure after all.
This decision will be an updated and prioritized list of the functions and features that have been identified as part of the solution, but not yet integrated into the solution. The more of the solution you can present to the client team the better. So, some priority should be given to an Integrative Swim Lane over a Probative Swim Lane.
Re-Prioritized List of Probative Swim Lane contents
The discovery and learning from the previous cycle will suggest further Probative Swim Lane ideas. These will be integrated with the current list of Probative Swim Lane ideas and the new list re-prioritized. The criteria used to prioritize will have to account for the likelihood that a discovery or learning will actually result in addition to the current solution.
This will be an updated and prioritized list of all of the ideas that have been identified, but not yet investigated. If the solution is mostly unknown and the Integrative Swim Lane list is sparse, some priority should be given to a Probative Swim Lane over an Integrative Swim Lane. The tiebreaker will always be the capability of the project team to accommodate the mix.
Using these updated and re-prioritized swim lanes is the major input to the next cycle plan. See Article 7, Part 2 for details.
IMPLICATIONS FOR PRINCE2 STAGE PLANNING
The whole swim lane approach is well suited for direct integration into the PRINCE2 Stage Planning process. The only caveat is to limit the need for outside intervention and decision making. The co-managers and entire project team should have the knowledge to make all decisions for solution discovery and integration within the time, cost and quality constraints of the project.