18.1 PRINCE2 guidance on Directing a Project
The purpose of the Directing a Project process is to enable the project board to be accountable for the project’s success by making key decisions and exercising overall control while delegating day-to-day management of the project to the project manager.
The objective of the Directing a Project process is to ensure that:
- There is authority to initiate the project
- There is authority to deliver the project’s products
- Management direction and control are provided throughout the project’s life, and that the project remains viable
- Corporate or programme management has an interface to the project
- There is authority to close the project
- Plans for realizing the post-project benefits are managed and reviewed.
The Directing a Project process starts on completion of the Starting up a Project process and is triggered by the request to initiate a project.
The Directing a Project process does not cover the day-to-day activities of the project manager, but the activities of those at the level of management above the project manager: that is, the project board. The project board manages by exception. It monitors via reports and controls through a small number of decision points. There should be no need for other ‘progress meetings’ for the project board. The project manager will inform the board of any exception situation. It is also important that levels of authority and decision-making processes are clearly identified.
There needs to be a two-way flow of information between the project board and corporate or programme management during the project. It is a key role of the project board to engage with corporate or programme management and to act as a communication channel. This need, and how it is to be satisfied, should be documented in the communication management strategy.
The project board should provide unified direction and guidance to the project manager. If the project board is unable to provide a single view or if independent, possibly contradictory, advice is given, then the risk of project failure significantly increases. In such cases, the project manager should defer to the executive.
The project board is responsible for assuring that there is continued business justification. The Directing a Project process provides a mechanism for the project board to achieve such assurance without being overburdened by project activity.
One of the functions of the project board is to provide informal advice and guidance to the project manager as well as formal direction. The project manager should seek advice whenever necessary during the course of the project.