Project Classification

Project classification is a two-step process that helps identify the reporting requirements and the risk and complexity of the project that will be performed. Classification takes place as part of the development of the project Business Case – Activity 1.1 in the Identification Phase of the project. The process consists of completing a questionnaire (linked below) for each part of the process that asks about the type of work to be performed and who will be doing it. 

The following diagram illustrates the complete Classification process, which is broken down into more detail in the steps that follow.

Project-Classification_small

Each step in the Classification process serves a specific purpose:

Project Reporting Requirements

The first step is to complete the Reporting Requirements Questionnaire. This simple 5-question form (in EPMO) or Excel worksheet (for projects not in EPMO) is used to determine whether a project is internal to Mason or must be reported at the state (Commonwealth) level. Additionally, based on estimated size and impact, it may be classified as major or non-major, which impacts the Project Authority. The following flow chart outlines the questions and decision tree that is used to determine the project reporting requirements.

Project Reporting illustration

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Project Risk and Complexity

Once the Project Reporting Requirements are known, the final step in the Project Classification process is to determine the project's risk and complexity. Working under the model that the level of project management should be scaled to the size and complexity of the project, Mason has defined four specific complexity levels, each with its own project management requirements. This way, smaller, less complex projects require minimal formal project management while those large, complex projects require a more formalized project management structure. The four complexity levels are: Basic, Low, Medium, and High Complexity. The project complexity is calculated from a subset of the questions on the Mason Risk and Complexity Model; calculations are based on the weighted responses to 25 of the 30 questions that comprise the model. The questions ask about the project's cost, schedule, user involvement, data conversion, past experience, commitment level of the team, etc. Each response carries a point value and the total point value determines the project's complexity. The following diagram outlines the basic process for determining the complexity.

Project Complexity illustration

Project Risk is used to identify potential trouble spots with the project as they relate to project budget, dependencies on external factors, management understanding and buy-in to the project goals, impact of failure, etc. The questionnaire leverages many of the same questions from the complexity as well as a handful of others to develop a risk score for each category, and the overall project. By identifying these areas up front, they may be addressed early on, helping to better position the project for success.

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