Guide to Using the Project Complexity and Risk Assessment Tool

Version 1.3

Table of Contents

1. Introduction

1.1 Context

In , Treasury Board ministers approved the Policy on the Management of Projects, supported by the Standard for Organizational Project Management Capacity and the Standard for Project Complexity and Risk. Together, the policy and the two standards establish the responsibilities of deputy heads to ensure that projects are managed in an integrated manner across the organization rather than on a project-by-project basis. The expected results of this policy and associated standards are that:

  • Projects achieve value for money;
  • Sound stewardship of project funds is demonstrated;
  • Accountability for project outcomes is transparent; and
  • Outcomes are achieved within time and cost constraints.

The policy establishes the expectation that deputy heads will ensure that there are appropriate processes and controls in place to effectively manage projects, deliver expected results and limit risk to stakeholders. The policy focuses on project governance, oversight and departmental capacity to manage projects. The Organizational Project Management Capacity Assessment supports deputy heads in their responsibilities to establish and potentially improve relevant management practices through a comprehensive assessment and analysis of opportunities to invest in capacity to better position the department to deliver on planned projects. The departmental self-assessment of project management capacity will bring to light areas of strengths, potential weaknesses and opportunities for investment. This information should support departments and agencies in their decisions to tailor project management practices and processes to business operations, and will help them be in a better position to keep up with best practices globally as they evolve.

The Policy on the Management of Projects shifts the basis for determining the project approval authority limits of departments from a set dollar threshold to a more objective, evidence-based assessment of the organization's capacity to manage project complexity and risks. As such, the policy requires that the department's capacity to manage projects is accurately assessed using the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat (TBS) assessment tool as directed by the Standard for Organizational Project Management Capacity. The policy further requires that deputy heads ensure that the department conducts an accurate assessment of each of its projects in accordance with the Standard for Project Complexity and Risk. Taken together, the results of these assessments will support the determination of the relevant expenditure authority and the appropriate level of Treasury Board oversight.

The Standard for Project Complexity and Risk establishes the direction to ensure compliance with the Treasury Board Policy on the Management of Projects and requires that all projects subject to this standard be assessed to determine their level of risk and complexity. Projects are to be assessed using the TBS Project Complexity and Risk Assessment Tool that accompanies this guide.

1.2 Purpose and Structure of this Guide

The intent of this document is to provide guidance for completing the Project Complexity and Risk Assessment (PCRA) in accordance with the Standard for Project Complexity and Risk. This guide provides additional explanation and interpretation of terms and concepts to help practitioners complete and justify an assessment. Intended users of this guide are departmental personnel involved in the completion, review, approval and/or coordination of a PCRA. Secondary users of the PCRA and this guide may include TBS personnel and other stakeholders involved in project management and investment planning.

This guide follows the structure of the PCRA Tool and provides guidance and support for each of the assessment categories. It uses the following format:

Purpose of the Assessment Category

Summary of the significance and purpose of the assessment category in the context of the PCRA.

In other words, why is this category important in assessing a project's complexity and risk?

Stakeholders

Identifies primary stakeholders that would be in a position to provide insight and input for a given knowledge area.

This section also recommends deliverables and tools that the organization could review to support the assessment.

Rating Significance

Explains how to interpret the score for a given category of assessment criteria.

The Appendix contains a glossary of terms to clarify specific terminology used in the relevant policy, standard and the PCRA Tool. Within the PCRA Tool, the intent of each question has been highlighted to ensure maximum clarity.

2. Related Material

Documents that are relevant to this guide include:

  • Policy on the Management of Projects;
  • Policy on Investment Planning - Assets and Acquired Services;
  • Standard for Organizational Project Management Capacity;
  • Standard for Project Complexity and Risk;
  • Organizational Project Management Capacity Assessment Tool;
  • Guide to Using the Organizational Project Management Capacity Assessment Tool;
  • Project Complexity and Risk Assessment Tool;
  • Project Management Body of Knowledge, third Edition, Project Management Institute, 2004;
  • Project Management Body of Knowledge, fourth Edition, Project Management Institute, 2008;
  • Standard for Program Management, Project Management Institute, 2008; and
  • Standard for Portfolio Management, Project Management Institute, 2008.

3. Organizational Capacity and Project Complexity and Risk

Management expectations and requirements for Government of Canada projects are set out in the following policy instruments:

  • Policy on the Management of Projects;
  • The Standard for Project Complexity and Risk; and
  • The Standard for Organizational Project Management Capacity.

The Policy on the Management of Projects stipulates that a deputy head is responsible for conducting:

  • An organization-wide capacity assessment in accordance with The Standard for Organizational Project Management Capacity; and
  • An assessment of each planned or proposed project in accordance with The Standard for Project Complexity and Risk.

The two scores resulting from the above assessments are compared to determine the appropriate expenditure authority (i.e., sponsoring minister or Treasury Board) and to inform the determination of Treasury Board oversight. The department is required by policy to seek Treasury Board approval of any project with an assessed risk and complexity level that exceeds the Treasury Board-approved Organizational Project Management Capacity Class of the department, or if the project is otherwise identified by Treasury Board ministers for their further consideration (see Figure 1).

Figure 1: Treasury Board Authority and Oversight with Respect to Project Complexity and Risk and Organizational Project Capacity Management
Treasury Board Authority and Oversight. Text version below:
Figure 1 - Text version

Figure 1 is a graph that illustrates how the relationship between the organizational project management capacity class and the project risk and complexity level determines the project approval limits of an organization by using two projects undertaken by the same department. The y-axis depicts the organizational capacity class of 0 to 4. The x-axis depicts project complexity and risk levels of 1 to 4. The department has an organizational project management capacity class of 3 - Evolutionary. For this organization, any project that has a project risk and complexity level of 4 requires Treasury Board approval and expenditure authority to proceed with the project, or any phase of the project. Project A has a project complexity and risk level of 4 - Transformational and would therefore require TB approval. Project B shown in this graph is a project in the same organization that has a project risk and complexity level of 2. This project would likely not require Treasury Board approval and expenditure authority.

Figure 1 illustrates how the relationship between the Organizational Project Management Capacity Class and Project Complexity and Risk Level determines the project approval limits of a department. For example, for a Treasury Board-approved Organizational Project Management Capacity Class of 3 – Evolutionary, any project that falls within the non-shaded area, e.g., Project A (Project Complexity and Risk Level 4 – Transformational), exceeds the Treasury Board-approved Organizational Project Management Capacity Class and requires Treasury Board approval and expenditure authority in order to proceed. Projects that fall within the shaded area, e.g., Project B (Level 2 – Tactical), have an assessed level of complexity and risk within the Treasury Board-approved Organizational Project Management Capacity Class and will likely be within the department's approval limit and be subject to minimal direct Treasury Board oversight.

Capacity should be commensurate with the level of risk and complexity of projects typically undertaken. For example, a high level of project management capacity and the associated costs may not be a suitable investment for an organization that undertakes few large and complex projects.

4. Key Stakeholders

The following stakeholders are directly accountable or responsible for the deployment of the PCRA. Section 7 of this guide, “Completing the Assessment,” includes suggested responsibility centres or other information sources that would likely be well positioned to support responses to assessment questions in a given category.

Stakeholder Role

Section 4 Table Notes

Table Note 1

Please see the Financial Administration Act.

Return to section 4 table note * referrer

Table Note 2

Please see the Accountable Government: A Guide for Ministers and Secretaries of State.

Return to section 4 table note referrer

Table Note 3

Standard for Project Complexity and Risk, 2007.

Return to section 4 table note § referrer

Treasury Board

Treasury Board is a committee of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada and assumes its legal responsibilities under the Financial Administration Actsection 4 table note * and other statutes. (Accountable Government: A Guide for Ministers and Secretaries of Statesection 4 table note )

As the general manager of the public service, the Treasury Board has three main roles:

  • It acts as the government's management board;
  • It acts as the government's budget office; and
  • It acts as the employer of the core public administration.
Minister

Ministers are individually responsible to Parliament and the Prime Minister for their own actions and those of their department, including the actions of all officials under their management and direction, whether or not the ministers had prior knowledge (Accountable Government: A Guide for Ministers and Secretaries of State)

Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat

The Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat submits recommendations and provides advice to the Treasury Board on all matters relating to general administrative policy and organization in the public service of Canada, financial and asset management policies and procedures, review of annual and long-term expenditure plans and programs, and determination of related priorities. (Accountable Government: A Guide for Ministers and Secretaries of State)

Deputy head

Deputy heads are responsible for the effective management of projects according to legislation, regulations and Treasury Board policy instruments.

Responsible for ensuring that projects are accurately assessed to determine the level of project complexity and risk for the purposes of project approval authoritysection 4 table note §.

Organization

Responsible for conducting an accurate assessment of each planned or proposed project in accordance with the Standard for Project Complexity and Risk and informing TBS of any new projects and or significant changes to projects that are underway.

5. Using and Scoring the Assessment

5.1 Defining Risk

TBS's Framework for the Management of Risk encompasses best practices on risk, including those supported by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and the Software Engineering Institute (SEI). This framework provides a standard for Government of Canada application:

Risk refers to the effect of uncertainty on objectives. It is the expression of the likelihood and impact of an event with the potential to affect the achievement of an organization's objectives.

Source: Framework for the Management of Risk, Government of Canada, 2010

There are three key characteristics of a risk:

  1. It looks ahead into the future;
  2. It has an element of uncertainty: a condition or a situation exists that might cause a problem for the project in the future; and
  3. It has an outcome. Although it is acknowledged that risk, if managed properly, can lead to opportunity, the definition of risk adopted for the purposes of this assessment focuses on adverse outcomesFootnote 1.

The risks that are present before the development or application of any mitigating strategies are called inherent risks. These are the risks that could have a negative impact on the project if no action is taken. Once mitigation strategies have been put in place, the remaining risks are called residual risks. The PCRA focuses on inherent risks.

5.2 Defining Complexity

Complexity is, fittingly, a much more difficult concept to define. SEI provides a definition of complexity:

  • (Apparent) the degree to which a system or component has a design or implementation that is difficult to understand and verify.Footnote 2
  • (Inherent) the degree of complication of a system or system component, determined by such factors as the number and intricacy of interfaces, the number and intricacy of conditional branches, the degree of nesting, and the types of data structures.Footnote 3

The Standard for Project Complexity and Risk states that project complexity is based on the number of business rules, the technology employed and the project's size. It further indicates that complexity is a major component of project risk and that complexity should be determined at the start of all large projects, and when changes occur, so that appropriate action can be taken to manage risk.

5.3 Structure of the Assessment

The assessment is a series of questions organized into seven sections. The following table demonstrates the maximum score allowable per section and the number of questions per section. Moreover, the weighting attributed to each section is indicated, which demonstrates the overall impact of the section on the final score.

Category No. of Questions Maximum Score
Project Characteristics 18 90
Strategic Management 6 30
Procurement 9 45
Human Resources 5 25
Business 5 25
Project Management Integration 6 30
Project Requirements 15 75
Total 64 320

5.4 Complexity and Risk Classifications

The following table outlines the PCRA scoring ranges that relate to corresponding complexity and risk levels. The PCRA score reflects a very wide range of inherent risks and it is unlikely that a single project would be susceptible to all of the potential risks. For the purposes of the assessment, the worst-case scenario is that up to 70 percent of the inherent risks would be present in a project. Therefore, the baseline score (i.e., total possible maximum score) is multiplied by 70 per cent to reflect the worst case. The total raw score (i.e., the cumulative score of all question responses for a given project) is then divided over this adjusted (multiplied by 0.7) baseline score to produce a percentage score that corresponds to a complexity and risk level shown in the table below.

Complexity and Risk Level Definition Score
1. Sustaining

Project has low risk and complexity. The project outcome impacts only a specific service or specific program, and risk mitigations for general project risks are in place. The project does not consume a significant percentage of departmental or agency resources.

Less than 45
2. Tactical

A project rated at this level affects multiple services within a program and may involve more significant procurement activities. It may involve some information management or information technology (IM/IT) or engineering activities. The project risk profile may indicate that some risks could have serious impacts, requiring carefully planned responses. The scope of a tactical project is operational in nature and delivers new capabilities within limits.

45 to 63
3. Evolutionary

As indicated by the name, projects within this level of complexity and risk introduce change and new capabilities and may have a fairly extensive scope. Disciplined skills are required to successfully manage evolutionary projects. Scope frequently spans programs and may impact one or two other departments or agencies. There may be substantial change to business process, internal staff, external clients and technology infrastructure. IM/IT components represent a significant proportion of total project activity.

64 to 82
4. Transformational

At this level, projects require extensive capabilities and may have a dramatic impact on the organization and potentially other organizations. Horizontal (i.e. multi-departmental, multi-agency or multi-jurisdictional) projects are transformational in nature. Risks associated with these projects often have serious consequences, such as organizational restructuring, change in senior management, or loss of public reputation.

More than 82

6. Conducting the Assessment

Departments and agencies are encouraged to consider a number of good practices when completing and updating a PCRA.

6.1 Completing the PCRA: Considerations and Best Practices

Timely Project Assessment

Under the Policy on the Management of Projects, the deputy head is responsible for ensuring that an accurate assessment of each project is conducted in accordance with the Standard for Project Complexity and Risk.

The determination of which activities are deemed projects and for which a PCRA is required is to be made in consultation with TBS. Although the definition of a “project” applies to a great number of departmental activities, it is at the discretion of the deputy head and ultimately Treasury Board ministers to determine which of those activities will benefit from a project management approach and for which a PCRA is relevant.

Assessments should be completed in a timely manner once a project has been identified and the project is considered for funding. Although at this stage of the project life cycle not all aspects of the project may have been fully defined and costed, departments are required to complete a PCRA based on the information available at that point and before project funds are expended. As the project matures and as more information becomes available, the PCRA should be updated to reflect the most current level (and knowledge) of risk and complexity. This practice reflects the policy requirement to ensure current and accurate assessments of organizational projects.

Establishment of Business Processes

The completion of a PCRA is expected to conform to the established methodology for documenting and having available supporting project documents for each assessment criteria. This approach seeks to ensure consistent and comparable results across projects and to facilitate updates and audits of the assessment.

A good practice is to establish business processes dedicated to the completion, review and approval of PCRAs. These processes are expected to provide the necessary rigour and discipline needed to ensure that PCRAs are completed in a timely and accurate manner and are supported by key project documents and updated appropriately.

In addition, each department should have in place a protocol agreement with TBS for the review of PCRAs. The protocol agreement should identify the relevant project documents expected to be made available along with each PCRA in order to support the TBS review. The protocol should also include timelines for submitting information once requested and the expected duration of TBS reviews.

Creating an Organization-Specific Guide and Glossary

Organizations may also wish to consider developing an organizational glossary to define any terms in the PCRA that may have a particular context or meaning within the organization to ensure consistency and a common understanding.

7. Completing the Assessment

7.1 General Directions

In completing a PCRA:

  • Every question must be answered.
  • If the question does not apply to the project, then answer with the first response category or lowest score (1).
  • If question 2 of “Project Characteristics” scores 1, the “Procurement Risks” questions in section 3 should score only 1.
  • If the answer to a question is unknown, then respond with the last response category or the highest score (5).
  • The tool has established a “triple constraint” criteria, which automatically elevates the score. In the PCRA Tool, the parameters related to budget, scope and time, as defined in three questions within the “Project Characteristics” section, have been identified as the triple constraint. This means that scores for each of these three questions at the highest level (5 points) will result in the highest score being applied to all other questions in the section.
  • When counting personnel, the organization should include all players (including PWGSC) involved in contracting capabilities. Support and available evidence should come through the form of job descriptions, contracts, memoranda of understanding, service level agreements, etc.
  • Document applicable supporting project documents for future reference, TBS reviews and auditing purposes.
    • Example: Question 23 – Does the project have a communications plan?
    • If the answer is yes, then refer to the plan. Any relevant details should be noted in the comments area of the PCRA for question 23.

7.2 Project Characteristics (18 Questions)

Section 7.2 Table Notes

Table Note 1

Commercial off-the shelf product.

Return to section 7.2 table note * referrer

Purpose of the Assessment Category

The greater the complexity of a project, the greater the potential for risk and the greater the need for a high level of project management maturity or capacity.

This set of questions is designed to build a profile of the project, its level of complexity and potential for risk and areas of concern.

For example, a large project estimated to take 4 years to deliver a technology renewal that impacts multiple business operations will have a higher complexity rating than a project that spans 18 months and implements a well-understood COTSsection 7.2 table note * product.

Stakeholders

Project management could provide insight into all project deliverables, attributes, characteristics and project risks.

Team leads may corroborate or provide additional insight to project management input.

The project sponsor or director could have insight into goals and objectives of the project, funding model, stakeholder complexity and potential external risks.

References include the project charter, a preliminary scope statement, a project management plan (or a draft, if one exists), estimates and an organizational chart.

Triple Constraint Feature

The “Project Characteristics” section contains a mechanism to invoke a triple constraint (cost, time and scope) of a project to help identify the most significant projects. Projects deemed to be of a high cost (both in absolute dollars and in relative terms), where time delays are of critical importance, and where the overall scope is very large, will result in an automatic maximum tabulation for this section. The triple constraint feature looks to highlight the importance of the overall cost, time and scope of a project to reflect materiality. The tool will display the maximum score for this section; however, the other assessment questions remain relevant and are to be answered. The feature is triggered when three specific questions are answered with a score of 5.

The rationale for establishing this feature in the assessment is to identify those projects that are attributed maximum values on the three critical project dimensions of cost, scope and time, and to highlight the added risks and complexities that accompany such dimensions.

Rating Significance

A high score in this category is an indication that the project has a high degree of complexity and risk and will require more extensive project management practices and discipline.

7.3 Strategic Management Risks (6 Questions)

Purpose of the Assessment Category

For a project to contribute to an organization's strategic outcomes and government priorities there must be a clear commitment and understanding of its business value, level of priority and a point of accountability.

This category is intended to establish the project's alignment with the objectives and/or priorities of the department and the organization's commitment to the project. Alignment requires:

  • Consistency with the organization's investment plan
  • A consistent and accurate understanding across project stakeholders of the project's purpose and role in supporting the organization's strategic objectives or priorities;
  • Alignment with the department's Project Activity Architecture at either an activity or program level to support an expected result or outcome;
  • Strong senior management commitment across relevant areas; and
  • A strong communication strategy.
Stakeholders

The senior project executive could have insight to:

  • How well the project is positioned to impact on the expected results or outcomes identified in the organization's strategic plan, Program Alignment Architecture, or Report on Plans and Priorities;
  • Level of commitment of senior management, stakeholders, project sponsor and partners; and
  • Strategy for sustaining the level of commitment (through communication, engagement, oversight, governance, etc...).

The project manager, project sponsor, senior management and other key stakeholders would be in a position to provide their respective perspectives on the goal and objectives of the project, funding model, stakeholder complexity and potential external risks. How well do these perspectives align?

Reference materials could include the organization's strategic plan, Program Alignment Architecture, Report on Plans and Priorities, business case, project charter, investment governance records of decision, investment portfolio progress reports and the results of independent reviews.

Rating Significance

A high score for this category may be an indication that the project will be challenged with respect to communicating and maintaining alignment with the organization's mandate, objectives or priorities as described in its strategic plan, Program Alignment Architecture or Report on Plans and Priorities, and remaining an investment priority over the project life-cycle. Thus, the project may be at risk of not delivering against the defined baseline and support the organization's objectives.

7.4 Procurement Risks (9 Questions)

Purpose of the Assessment Category

Cost and scope management complexity and risk typically increase with the introduction of procurement activities.

A well-defined procurement strategy can help mitigate certain risks during vendor selection. Similarly, strong project management discipline should mitigate the risks in related scope and schedule management.

When a project includes significant procurement activities, the importance of clear scope, requirements, risks and cost constraints is only increased. A very sound understanding of the scope, requirements, risks and time and cost constraints for both the project and any and all related contracts is critical in order to support the selection of the best contractor (vendor) and the awarding of the applicable contract.

Stakeholders

The project manager and the organization's procurement sector or branch could provide insight into the procurement strategy, vendor selection and contract award processes and possible vendor management control mechanisms.

Consider strategies and processes used by the organization to mitigate risk in vendor selection and to optimize compatibility and their understanding of the organization's business needs, operational requirements and the organization's project management practices and standards.

Reference materials could include requests for information, requests for proposal, Government of Canada procurement contracts, contract management plans, change requests and related records of decision, and independent reviews.

Rating Significance

A high score in this category may indicate that there could be an absence of procurement management activities or processes that seek to ensure the appropriate selection and management of vendors. It may further indicate :

  • Potential issues regarding the quality or compatibility of procured goods and/or services; and
  • Potential risk of vendor dependency, scope and requirements management, cost and schedule control of the contract(s).

7.5 Human Resources Risks (5 Questions)

Purpose of the Assessment Category

This category assesses the extent to which the project has the right skill sets in place to deliver the approved project scope.

How a project is staffed will greatly influence a team's ability to support the established complexity and risk.

Selecting the right skills and experiences should mitigate risk associated with technology, vendor management and stakeholder management. For example, does the project manager have experience with the area(s) of greatest project risk, such as large scale vendor management or multi-departmental, multi-stakeholder management?

Stakeholders

The project sponsor and/or project manager would be best positioned to provide insight into the team selection requirements and strategy, in addition to any mitigation strategies.

Team leads could share confidence in, and concerns with, the composition of their team and any mitigation strategies.

References include a (preliminary) project organization chart, a roles and responsibility matrix or equivalent, job or task description, CVs for key team members, and the results of independent reviews.

Rating Significance

A high score in this category is an indicator that the project's scope and schedule may be at risk due to potential human resourcing issues such as:

  • Inadequate subject matter expertise, in particular, with respect to relevant and available technology, industry best practices or project management skills;
  • Understaffing; and
  • High degree of staff turnover.

7.6 Business Risks (5 Questions)

Purpose of the Assessment Category

This category is designed to determine the state of readiness of the business for adopting the product and or services being provided by the project.

For example, do project stakeholders have a consistent view of the operational impact to the business?

Stakeholders

The project manager could provide insight into possible change management tactics and other client engagement strategies and the level of risk being faced as a result of possible operational, legislative or policy changes.

The client or project sponsor could be well positioned to provide a perspective on their state of readiness to adopt or implement the solution and whether the introduction of the new or enhanced product or services will be met with any resistance or reluctance.

Reference materials could include the project management plan, project charter and the results of any independent reviews.

Rating Significance

A high score in this area is an indication that the project may experience challenges in transitioning the project deliverables or solutions (goods or services) to the client or user. Challenges may include issues with client or user acceptance of the product, extending the project's normalization or transition period, or a change in scope with respect to training or change management.

7.7 Project Management Integration Risks (6 Questions)

Purpose of the Assessment Category

This set of questions is designed to assess whether the right strategies, controls, and project management skills and supporting activities are in place to:

  • Plan a project effectively through integrating the planning elements of scope, schedule, cost and risk; and
  • Keep the project on track through aggregating scope, schedule, cost and risk progress information, taking corrective action where needed to remain in alignment with the plan.

Project integration maturity speaks to the ability of the project sponsor (or director) and manager to analyze project information and make the best decisions to keep projects on track or to deal effectively with changes.

Stakeholders

A project management office or the project manager could be well positioned to provide insight to existing processes and structures that enable project integration such as governance structures (especially related to decision making) and terms of reference, documented and approved team roles and responsibilities, project management plans, project management information systems, change control mechanisms for monitoring and controlling project work and progress reporting.

Reference materials could include the project charter or project management plan, project progress or status reports, change requests, governance records of decision and the findings of independent reviews.

Rating Significance

A high score in this area is an indication that the project management framework of the department may not be sufficient or that the project team may not have the skills or experience to establish or employ well integrated control mechanisms, and, as a result, may be challenged with respect to control, prioritization, informed decision making, and effective and timely communication.

7.8 Project Requirements Risks (15 Questions)

Purpose of the Assessment Category

This category of questions is designed to assess various aspects of the requirements of the project. This includes the actual nature of the requirements as well as some related issues such as how difficult requirements are to gather and how well they are documented. To what extent do the specific requirements of the project add risk and complexity?

Even if the project is well managed, challenges or unknown aspects of the requirements are often difficult to predict, and, as a result projects may not adequately plan for required resource skills and experience, subject matter expertise, or budget, schedule, or risk mitigation strategies such as additional design walk-throughs, prototyping or proof of concept.

Stakeholders

The project manager and the technical lead or equivalent, would be best positioned to provide insight to the scope, assumptions, constraints and risks associated with the project's requirements or the requirements-gathering process.

Reference materials could include feasibility studies, business cases, business requirements, requests for information, requests for proposals, Government of Canada procurement contracts and the findings of independent reviews.

Rating Significance

A high score may indicate that the project is not prepared to manage potential impacts on schedule, cost and scope as a result of poorly defined requirements. Even if the project is well defined, the requirements may be very complex in nature and the project will require a high degree of capacity in this area in order to be effectively managed.

8. Support and Contact Information

Any inquiries regarding the TBS policy renewal initiative or the Treasury Board Policy on the Management of Projects should be directed to the department's TBS program sector contact.

Appendix : Glossary of Terms

Business process
A business process is a collection of related activities that produce something of value to the organization, its stakeholders or its clients. Management processes are those activities undertaken to operate an organization. Typical management processes include corporate governance and strategic management. Operational processes are those activities that deliver value to a client and are typically characterized as the core business activities, such as service delivery or product assembly. Supporting processes are those activities such as financial management, recruitment or IT that support the business process.
Change control
The process of identifying, documenting, approving or rejecting, and controlling changes to the project baseline. ( Project Management Body of Knowledge, third edition)
Complexity

The degree (apparent) to which a system or component has a design or implementation that is difficult to understand and/or verify.

The degree (inherent) of complication due to a system or system component, determined by such factors as the number and intricacy of interfaces, the number and intricacy of conditional branches, the degree of nesting, and the types of data structures.

COTS
Commercial off-the-shelf; commercially available products that can be purchased and integrated with little or no customization, thus facilitating customer infrastructure expansion and reducing cost.
Enhanced Management Framework

The Enhanced Management Framework was approved by the Treasury Board in and directed departments and agencies to apply this framework to projects that have an IM or IT component.

The Enhanced Management Framework is an integrated management model composed of principles, best practices, methodologies, tools and templates, designed to improve the Government of Canada's capability to manage its IM/IT investments, successfully deliver IM/IT projects and minimize risks.

Governance structure
Any organizational structure or formal governance process used to select which projects receive funding and grant approval, and to proceed and provide ongoing oversight.
Government policy
Refers to the various Treasury Board policies such as the Policy Framework for the Management of Assets and Acquired Services and the Policy on the Management of Projects.
Investment
The use of resources with the expectation of a future return, such as an increase in output, income or assets, or the acquisition of knowledge or capacity ( Policy on Investment Planning - Assets and Acquired Services, 2007)
Knowledge area, project management
An identified area of project management defined by its knowledge requirements and described in terms of its component processes, practices, inputs, outputs, tools and techniques ( Project Management Body of Knowledge, third edition)
Methodology
A system of practices, techniques, procedures and rules used by those who work in a discipline ( Project Management Body of Knowledge, third edition)
Project
Is an activity or series of activities that has a beginning and an end. A project is required to produce defined outputs and realize specific outcomes in support of a public policy objective, within a clear schedule and resource plan. A project is undertaken within specific time, cost and performance parameters ( Policy on the Management of Projects, 2007)
Project baseline (or project phase baseline)
The baseline is composed of each of the objectives established at the time of securing expenditure authority from the appropriate authority (e.g., minister). Any significant deviations from this baseline must be authorized by the appropriate approval authority. Expenditure authority can be sought only for those specific phases of the project that have been appropriately defined, costed and assessed.
Project charter
A document issued by the project initiator or sponsor that formally authorizes the existence of a project, and provides the project manager with the authority to apply organizational resources to the project’s activities. ( Project Management Body of Knowledge, third edition)
Project close-out
The final step in the project that involves final acceptance of the deliverables, archiving of the project documents and disbanding of the project team. A project close-out would also take place at the termination of a project prior to the end of implementation.
Project definition
This is a distinct phase of the project life cycle. Its purpose is to establish sound objectives, refine the implementation phase estimate (which may include design and property acquisition costs), reduce project risk, and support development of an element that will be part of the end-product of the project.
Project implementation
Project implementation or execution is directing, managing, performing and accomplishing the project work, providing the deliverables, and providing work performance information.
Project life cycle
A collection of generally sequential project phases whose names and number are determined by the control needs of the organization or organizations involved in the project. A life cycle can be documented with a methodology ( Project Management Body of Knowledge, third edition)
Project management plan
A document that identifies the planned objectives and deliverables of the project, the scope, work breakdown structure, budget, schedule, risks, roles, resources, functional strategies, project monitoring and control strategies, governance, process deviations and management approach. It becomes the baseline for the project against which changes are measured. Typically, this document is approved by all project team leads to ensure there is full support for the plan.
Project management office (also referred to as project office)

Is responsible for establishing, maintaining and enforcing project management processes, procedures, and standards within the organization.

A project office is a function that supports the project manager with project planning and control activities such as management of schedule, cost, risks, information and communication. On smaller projects, these functions may be performed by a single person; on larger projects, a team may be required.

Project manager
The person assigned by the performing organization to achieve the project objectives ( Project Management Body of Knowledge, third edition)
Project planning and identification
This is the initial stage of the project life cycle during which the sponsoring department establishes operational need(s), produces the statement of operational requirements, conducts initial options analyses and feasibility studies, sets up the appropriate management framework and agreements, assigns resources, and makes an initial assessment of project risk.
Project sponsor
Refers to an individual who provides financial and political support for the project. The individual works with the project management team, typically assisting with matters such as project funding, clarifying scope, monitoring progress, and influencing others in order to benefit the project ( Project Management Body of Knowledge, fourth edition).
Quality standards
Quality standards address both the management of the project and the output(s) of the project. They are those standards established to ensure that the project will satisfy the business needs for which it was undertaken.
Risk
Risk refers to the uncertainty that surrounds future events and outcomes. It is the expression of the likelihood and impact of an event with the potential to influence the achievement of an organization's objectives.
Risk assessment
Refers to an analysis of the risks of a project at a particular point in time in which specific risks to the success of the project are identified and quantified (impact and probability), and mitigation plans are defined and actioned, according to the degree of the quantified threat.
Sector (as referred to in question 7)
A sector in this context is defined as a division or directorate within a larger organization.
Stakeholders
People, groups or organizations who are actively involved in a project, or whose interests may be positively or negatively affected by the execution or completion of the project.
Work package
The lowest level of the work breakdown structure. Together, all work packages identify all the work required to deliver the project's objectives. A work package ideally has a single accountable lead.
Work breakdown structure

A work breakdown structure (WBS) in project management and systems engineering is a tool used to define and group a project's discrete work elements (or tasks) in a way that helps organize and define the total work scope of the project.

A WBS element may be a product, data, service or any combination of these. A WBS also provides the necessary framework for detailed cost estimating and control, and provides guidance for schedule development and control. Additionally, the WBS is a dynamic tool and can be revised and updated as needed by the project manager.


Report a problem or mistake on this page
Please select all that apply:

Privacy statement

Thank you for your help!

You will not receive a reply. For enquiries, contact us.

Date modified: