Project Management

Process/Project - HEADWAY PM Process

Stage PMJ - Justify Project
Stage PMP - Plan Project
Stage PMA - Activate Project
Stage PMC - Control Project
Stage PME - End Project
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1. Read this description
2. Determine project model
3. Download your WBS
4. Apply Risk Estimation Guidance.

Timing is everything, even in project management. The key to a successful project is to use Project HEADWAY. Project HEADWAY is a full life cycle project management process and it is the essential connective tissue that will hold each of your development projects together. It is the disciplined prescription for getting executive buy-in with a solid business case; for defining the project plan, schedule, budget, resources, risks, scope; for securing the resources, motivating the players and launching the project; for monitoring all project activities and deliverables against plan, tracking issues and communicating progress; and for capturing the successes and lessons learned for the next time around.

Corporate members have access to:
  • Complete access to task level details
  • Advice from Subject Matter Experts
  • Direct links to gantthead content that supports the process
  • The WBS in MS Project


Consider the following key points as you look to apply Project HEADWAY on your projects.

Project Overlay

The project overlay has been designed to provide guidance to project managers and teams in applying the Project HEADWAY process to projects of different size, scope and complexity.

Any process or methodology will at best support 90% of the possible cases where it can be applied. For the balance of cases, some level of adaptation is required to meet the unique needs of the project. The intelligent application of the process requires consciously and actively choosing how to apply it.
As with the principle of scalability, the project manager and team must actively choose how to apply the processes and tools defined within the guidelines, when it is reasonable to deviate from the guidelines, and when additional rigour is appropriate and necessary.
Making active choices requires a critical application of the methodology's activities and tools, centred on the following questions:
  • What are the components of the methodology that are appropriate or essential to apply on the project?
  • What are the components of the methodology that are unnecessary to support the project?
  • What aspects of the methodology need to be adapted to support the specific needs of the project?
  • What additional activities, tools and deliverables are appropriate that the methodology doesn't address?

In asking these questions and consciously making choices about the methodology, project managers and teams avoid falling into the trap of being boxed in or constrained by the methodology framework. Instead, the methodology serves as a foundation that can be adapted as required to support the unique needs of any given initiative.

Project Size

The following bullets define the assumptions used to establish the different project models defined within the project overlay:
  • Small. Typically, a small project is departmental in focus. This may include small organizational improvements or enhancements to current way of doing things. Often this can include process improvement efforts, updates or minor enhancements to an existing information system or an incremental product development project. These projects are often only 2-3 months in duration, and will have a smaller number of project team members.
  • Medium. A medium project is often one conducted within an individual business unit. These projects typically involve implementing new capabilities to support key business function, and can include significant process improvement projects, systems enhancements or the development and implementation of new systems to support a single business function. These projects are often 6-9 months in duration, and may have 10-15 project team members. There may be some procurement associated with the project, whether for products, services or resources.
  • Large. Large projects tend to be significant and strategic organizationally-driven projects. There are usually aligned with the attainment of key strategic objectives of the organization, and will often have far reaching impact within the organization. These projects are usually 12 months or more in duration, and involve larger size project teams – often with 30 or more team members. These projects may require more extensive use of external consultants and contracting expertise, and will typically have much more complex procurement requirements.


The following bullets define the considerations used to recommend how to approach each of the project models:
  • Formal. The related activity needs to be conducted, and should be formally documented and included as part of a project or project management deliverable, as appropriate.
  • Informal. The related activity needs to be performed, and will usually be documented in some form, but typically is only documented for the purposes of the project team or project manager. This would not be included as part of a formal deliverable, and typically does not require any separate review or approval.
  • Consider. The related activity may or may not be performed, depending upon the specific needs and complexity of the project. The project manager or project team member should give consideration to whether or not the activity provides sufficient value to warrant the cost of the performing the activity. The results may be completed informally, or the activity may be evaluated or discussed within the project team without any documentation being produced..
  • Not required. The related activity is not required for the project model. The project team is not expected to give consideration to the activity.

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