A08 - Make a go/no-go decision
This management activity belongs to the Project Initiation group. This group of activities are run at the beginning to prepare us for the project.
At this point, the project manager sends the project documents to the sponsor, and the sponsor makes a go/no-go decision. To make this decision, the sponsor may need to discuss the project with other decision makers in the organization, such as the portfolio management layer – but it’s up to the sponsor to determine how to do that, and not the project manager.
If you have an external customer and are responding to a request for proposal, in addition to making a go/no-go decision internally, you should also send the proposal to the customer and wait for them to select their supplier and give you the final go/no-go decision. This management activity is completed when the contract is signed, or when you have another legally binding element in place.
If you’re going to have external suppliers and some of them were selected in A05, you might want to sign the contract with them at this point. Additional external suppliers may be selected and contracts signed later on an ad hoc basis.
Projects that have external customers always have clear go/no-go decisions, but internal projects sometimes lack this step and just creep into existence without a clear decision. It’s important to make this a clear gate for the project and have proper signatures and commitments before proceeding.
On the other hand, some companies just invest in any project as long as they have resources available. This management activity is at the end of a chain of activities that are aimed at turning it into an educated decision based on the justification of the project.
Every organization that works with projects needs to have a portfolio management system that evaluates and selects the projects in a holistic way that is balanced and compatible with the strategies of the organization. Many of the problems attributed to project management systems have roots in portfolio management; e.g., having too many projects at the same time.
Make sure everyone understands that a no-go decision is not a failure; it’s a sign of having a successful system that understands what’s not beneficial for the organization, and this wouldn’t be possible without the effort of the key team members in the project initiation activity group.
The following principles play a significant role in this management activity: