I really really despair of both PMBoK® and PRINCE2®. They claim to guide project management which is a discipline wholly grounded in change and thus authority and thus governance and yet neither displays any comprehension of the underlying principles and the consequential implications and insights required for competence.
So lets examine the concept of authority; its about the right, the ability and the duty to make decisions. When we make decisions in a business context that trigger change then a project is concieved (or amended). It may be a tiny project adequately described ny calling it an activity or a mega endeavour that some would want to call a programme.
Delegation & Accountability
When a manager or leader commissions others to achieve some outcome (of any size from activity thru program) they become a ‘sponsor’ and must:
- Know how to verify that they have the result/ impact/ outcome/ output that they wanted
- Establish who can create (acqire) it for them (who has the required skill)
- Establish that the intended delegate has the capacity and interest to accept the commission
- Delegate the Objectve plus Resources plus authority within stated limits otherwise described as ‘Freedoms’ (agree Goal and Constraints)
- Establish the path of escalation from the delegatee to them for all issues and requests for care and help
- Acknowledge that they have now CREATED an accountability within themslves for the goal and ensure the delegatee knows how to use it through escalation
- Respond to take action as instructed by the delgatee as require, when required to achieve the goal.
When a delegatee accepts a commission (becaause they see an advantage for themselves, they have no option, they are coerced, they are happy to do a favour etc) they must:
- Know how to validate the result they are creating meets all the acceptance criteria the ‘sponsor’ will apply
- Combine their skill and will with the resources provided to create (acquire) the result required within the freedoms imposed
- Escalate* instructions to act to resolve issues** to the appropriate point of resolution in a timely manner
* Escalate is normally taken to mean ‘up the management hierarchy’ but also includes ‘up the technical hierarchy’. This relocation of decision making duty may be ‘down’ the management hierarchy.
** An issue is an off plan situation for which the responsible person lacks either the authority or the knowledge or both to deal with.
Relevant Processes in PRINCE2
The dialogue’s salient factors are well handled by PRINCE2’s CS / MP boundary through processes 15.4.1 and 16.4.1 (see slide 87 in this animated presentation) although the escalation process is a dog’s dinner progressing via 15.4.6 and its pretty much absent from the PMBoK Guide!