Project Management Framework - Operational Policy - University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

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Project Management Framework - Operational Policy

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Approval authority
Vice-Chancellor and President
Responsible Executive member
Vice-Chancellor and President
Designated officer
Chief Operating Officer
First approved
15 March 2017
Last amended
26 November 2018
Review date
1 December 2022
Related documents
Enterprise Risk Management - Governing Policy
Superseded documents
Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Project Management - Managerial Policy

1. Purpose of policy

The purpose of this policy is to ensure a standard university-wide approach for smart project management to ensure successful delivery of project outcomes aligned to organisational strategic priorities.

2. Policy scope and application

This policy outlines the organisational project management framework and with the exception of research grant projects and consultancies, applies to all projects across the University.

This policy applies to all staff, consultants, and contractors involved in the initiation or delivery of organisational projects.

3. Definitions

Please refer to the University’s Glossary of Terms for policies and procedures. Terms and definitions identified below are specific to this policy and are critical to its effectiveness:

Project means a temporary endeavour undertaken to create a unique product, service or result. A project can create: a product or enhancement; a service or a capability to perform a service; an improvement in existing product of service lines; or a result such as an outcome or document.

Project governance means comprehensive, consistent method of controlling the project and ensuring its success by defining and documenting and communicating reliable, repeatable project practices. It includes a framework for making project decisions, and related roles and responsibilities.

Project lifecycle means a series of phases that a project passes through from its initiation to its closure, and provides the basic framework for managing the project.

Project management means the application of knowledge, skills, tools and techniques to project activities to meet the project requirements.

4. Policy Statement

4.1 The University is committed to the implementation and maintenance of an organisational Project Management Framework, providing a consistent approach for the governance and management of projects, and clearly articulating for all stakeholders the acceptable components of project management. All organisational areas (excluding research grant projects and consultancies) will adopt this framework for the management of organisational projects.

4.2 In its application of this policy, the University is committed to:

  • Aligning project activity to organisational strategic plans;
  • Maximising project benefits across the whole organisation;
  • Minimising the impact of project risks;
  • Ensuring appropriate project governance and control is established and maintained;
  • Providing consistent and scalable project processes and outputs;
  • Enhancing project communication between business areas; and
  • Continually improving project management processes and skills.

4.3 The University’s approach to project management is based on PMBOK, the Project Management Body of Knowledge (developed by the Project Management Institute). Internationally recognised, PMBOK provides a clear project governance foundation on which project lifecycles and various methodologies can be applied (across integration, scope, time, financial and procurement, quality, human resources, stakeholders and communication, risk, safety, environment, and claims).

4.4 The Project Management Framework supports predictive, incremental, and adaptive project lifecycles, executed across five project phases: initiating, planning, executing, monitoring and controlling, and closing.

4.5 All organisational projects are designated a project category (standard, substantial, complex), with required governance, actions and outputs advised. A tool to determine project category is available from the Managing Projects section of MyUSC (staff intranet).

4.6 All organisational projects are classified to one of the following project types:

  • Business and organisation change projects
  • Infrastructure and facilities projects
  • Product services development projects
  • IT & communications projects
  • Events project

4.7 All projects must be approved in accordance with the University’s Delegations Framework – Governing Policy. For Substantial and Complex projects, the Project Sponsor role must be held by a member of University Executive. For Standard projects, the Project Sponsor role must be held by a member of University Executive or their delegate.

4.8 Project approvers must ensure adequate resourcing is applied, commensurate with the project category and subsequent governance requirements. Project manager expertise and skills must align with the project category and, if appropriate experience is not internally available, must be sourced externally. Costs for project management should be included and funded from the project budget and allocated prior to project approval.

4.9 Project quality management and assurance will be applied appropriate to the scale and risk of the project. This includes processes and activities to determine quality policies, objectives, and responsibilities so that the project will satisfy the needs for which it was undertaken. Project assurance costs will be funded from the project budget.

4.10 The Project Management Framework outlines handling requirements for project information, including a suite of project outputs, and related system utilisation. All project reporting must be via established framework outputs and delegated project systems. All project records and outputs must be captured in an approved records management system.

4.11 The Project Management Framework Manual provides processes for managing projects according to this policy. The Managing Projects section of MyUSC (staff intranet) steps USC staff through these processes.

4.12 All project staff must be trained in the use of the Project Management Framework and ensure all related project work aligns with related requirements. Training information is available on the Managing Projects section of MyUSC (staff intranet). Project support is available via the Enterprise Project Management Office (EPMO).

5. Responsibilities

Role Responsibility
Project Sponsor Provides resources and support for the project and is accountable for enabling success. Has responsibility for:
  • approving gateway review decisions;
  • leading development of the project scope;
  • promoting the project, gathering organisational support, and promoting project benefits;
  • senior role in project issue escalation; and
  • ensuring smooth transfer of the project’s deliverables into the business after project closure.
For substantial and complex projects, the Project Sponsor role must be filled by a member of University Executive. For standard projects, the Project Sponsor role must be filled by a member of University Executive or their delegate.
Project Lead   Senior representative on the project who:
  • understands both the strategic project sponsor needs and user needs of the project;
  • provides project direction, innovation, and motivation;
  • utilises influence for positive change management; and
  • genuinely leads the people involved in the project.
Program Manager   Assigned by the organisation when a program (a group of projects) is put in place. Responsible for managing the program (group of related projects) in a coordinated way to obtain benefits and control not available from managing them individually.
Project Manager   Assigned by the organisation to lead the team that is responsible for achieving the project objectives.
Project Steering Group   A group of individuals who oversee a project and meet at key stages to ensure:
  • the strategic requirements of the project scope are being met;
  • risks, issues, and change requests are being addressed; and
  • the attainment of project outcomes are realised.
Membership can range from three people up, and usually includes: Project Sponsor, Project Lead, a business/stakeholder representative, and the Project Manager (in a non-voting capacity).
Project Team A group of individuals who support the Project Manager in performing the work of the project to achieve its objectives. The team is comprised of the Project Manager and individuals from different groups with different subject matter knowledge or with a specific skill set to carry out the work of the project. The composition of project teams varies. They can be:
  • Dedicated / Non-Dedicated team members.
  • Collaborative team / Functional division team.
  • Virtual / Co-located.
  Project teams include roles such as:
  • Project management staff
  • Project staff
  • Supporting experts
  • User or customer representatives
  • Business partners
Project Stakeholders Includes all members of the project team, as well as all interested entities that are internal or external to the organisation. Stakeholders have varying levels of responsibility and authority when participating on a project, and these levels can change over the course of the project’s lifecycle.