APM Project Fundamentals Podcast – Project Context

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Michelle Symondshttp://www.dittodigital.co.uk
Michelle Symonds spent the first part of her career working in IT and IT Project Management in the oil industry and investment banking on complex global projects involving the management of outsourced project teams. She now runs a digital marketing company with particular expertise in SEO.

This podcast looks at project context or environment – this is where the project sits within an organisation and in the wider world and what factors  affect the project.

For example – imagine the organisation you work at is an electronics company –all projects follow a theme that is well understood and familiar. However, in a heritage organisation, say that is  restoring a 17th century tapestry this would be a completely different context . So project context covers different areas of business but also different countries or culture, or a different legal framework.

So you need a way of determining the project context and the APM have an acronym to help you do that – P E S T L E

PESTLE – these are the Political, Economic, Sociological, Technical, Legal and Environmental factors surrounding your project.

Political – working in a local authority for instance you would come under  pressure from elected politicians so it would matter which government was in power.

Economic – factors such as the overall economy, public sector borrowing, economic factors , the cost of steel or fuel prices, inflation etc.

Sociological – people live longer, we have a more diverse population, people are working more from home, part-time or on flex-time – all of these factors have a bearing on planning a project.

Technological – this is obviously relevant for an IT project , but can also relate to restoration technology (in our example of restoring an ancient tapestry) or a business that uses a lot of robots. Some project last 4/5 years so by the time they are implemented the technology can be out of date.

Legal – legislation such as health and safety, employment, discrimination,  equal opportunities, contract law, freedom of information may all influence your project.

Environmental – reducing our carbon footprint and reducing waste – we need to understand what that means for project. It is perhaps easy to understand in the construction environment but less so in an office environment but even then there is more awareness of, say, energy waste.

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