Project Target: Bournemouth Half Marathon

Hands of two runners on the starting line of the track

I received the Project Mandate in October 2016.  It was clear and concise. “Run the Bournemouth Half Marathon on 8 October 2017 and raise awareness and funds for Target Ovarian Cancer.

Starting Up A Project process was triggered and I created the Project Brief. The main features from this are:

  • Paul Bradley running on pavementObjectives: To raise awareness and funds for Target Ovarian Cancer by completing the Bournemouth half-marathon 8am on Sunday 8 October 2017.
  • Customer Quality Expectations:
    • Get sponsored to raise funds.
    • Finish the race in a respectable time.
    • Raise awareness about the symptoms of ovarian cancer.
  • Acceptance Criteria:
    1. Raise a minimum of £400.
    2. All training activity must be completed wearing the Target Ovarian Cancer vest.
    3. As a minimum, post 6 updates on each of the Facebook and Twitter platforms to show the symptoms of ovarian cancer.
    4. Complete the 13.1 miles within 2 hours and 30 minutes.
  • Outline Business Case:
    • Costs: Effort, commitment and dedication to the training.
    • Benefits: £400 funds will be raised for Target Ovarian Cancer.
    • Dis-benefits: You may suffer a small amount of social disruption due to training. In other words, the Gin and Tonic has to wait until you return from evening training.
    • Outcome: More people (both women and men) will have more awareness to the symptoms of ovarian cancer which will result in earlier diagnosis for many.
  • Outline Plan
    • April-June: 5km training, twice per week.
    • July-August: 5km & 10km training, twice per week.
    • September: 15km training once per week.
    • October 2017 – 10km training on 3, then the half-marathon on 8 October.

Initiating a Project and Managing a Stage Boundary processes followed, which was essentially confirming the outputs from Starting Up a Project. The main development of information was defining the next stages in more details – i.e. the training plans. The Communication Management Approach was created to establish Facebook and Twitter updates throughout the training.  There was also to be updates posted on the Just Giving page.

Controlling A Stage: Delivery Stage – April 2017. This all started very well. A few 10km-20km bicycle rides built some fitness in my legs, and then a couple of 5 and 6km runs gave me some confidence for the running.

The Communication Management Strategy was consulted, and a post to the Just Giving page boasted how well the training was going (I was only a couple of weeks in at this point), when an over-confident wave came over me and a bold statement was posted about completing the race in less than 2 hour!  Lesson learned – do not unnecessarily change the criteria just to make yourself look like a hero!

Towards the end of April, I completed a 10km in 56 minutes, and remained confident about the 2 hours completion time, again, posting updates to Facebook (via the Runtastic App) and to Twitter. So far so good.

Capturing Issues and Risks

April went really well. May had several training runs building up to 10km, but then a number of issues started to arise:

  • 1Paul Bradley in Spain9 June - Issue: 1 – A last minute one week break in Spain.
    • Impact: This will affect the training plan and push the timescale back by 10 days.
      • Corrective Action – Change the training plan and remove all training during this period.
    • Risk: Low - Could compromise training during July.
      • Response: Accept the risk and catch up with training on my return.
  • 22 July - Issue 2: An unplanned business trip to Kazakhstan.
    • Impact: This will affect the 10km training during this 9-day period and will also have an impact on training during August due to loss of fitness.
      • Corrective Action – Continue training in Kazakhstan, but reduce the running to one 5km due to the heat and humidity.
    • Risk: Low/Medium - This might not be completed due to business commitments
      • Response: Contingency – plan a 20-minute swim that can be done either early morning or late evening if the running does not happen.
  • Paul Bradley delivering PRINCE2 training in Kazakhstan28 July - Issue 3: The running and swimming in Kazakhstan was not done. I did not have the inclination or the time to do any training at all.
    • Impact: 9 days of training lost plus loss of fitness will affect August training plan.
    • Risk: Medium - Biggest risk is the loss of motivation.
      • Response: Transfer the impact of this risk with running partners Julia Bradley and Harley Richards to work together on raising the spirits together
  • August – Issue 4: Spirits were raised too much. Actually, the wrong spirits were raised. Too much social activity and not enough training (that means “no training”!)
    • Impact: 3 weeks training lost. Total loss of fitness compounded by previous 3 issues.
    • Risk: High - Unable to achieve necessary fitness to complete the half marathon.
      • Response: Ignore that there is a problem and go on holiday. (Ed. This is clearly an unacceptable risk response).
  • Paul Bradley drinking cocktail on holiday23 August - Issue 5: Family holiday (booked for in June but overlooked for this project)
    • Impact: Another 8 days of training lost.
    • Risk: High - Unable to achieve necessary fitness to complete the half marathon.
      • Response: Claim life is too busy and I’ll do some catching up next week. (Ed. Another unacceptable risk response. This project is on the verge of premature close).
  • 31 August – Issue 6: Business trip Kazakhstan.
    • Paul Bradley interviewed in TV Studio in KazakhstanImpact: Another 7 days training lost. This amounts to a total of 34 days lost to overseas activity, plus the 21 days lost in August due to laziness. Total days lost = 55.
    • Risk: High - Unable to achieve necessary fitness to complete the half marathon.
    • Risk: High – Inability to recognize the severity of this situation and make a sensible decision on what should be with this project.
  • September 9 - 20  – Issue 9: 50th Birthday celebrations. This was planned for, but the celebrations began, and lasted, longer than expected.
    • Impact: There seemed to be little point in carrying out an impact analysis.

Paul Bradley's runner badgeManaging Product Delivery started again, in earnest on 13, 23, 28 and 30 of September, and a final training session took place on 4 October 2017 with a comfortable 10km. Despite the turbulence experienced with this project, a late surge in effort made me confident in completing the half marathon on time to meet the acceptance criteria.

Closing A Project approached rapidly, and it was time to look at reviewing the project to create the End Project Report.  Happy to say that all Acceptance Criteria were satisfied:

  1. Raise a minimum of £400.
    • Follow-on Action. At project closure recommendation, the fund stood at 88% complete. Please help me exceed this criteria by donating on my JustGiving page.
  2. Target Ovarian Cancer vest graphicAll training activity must be completed wearing the Target Ovarian Cancer vest.
    • Met and exceeded. Due to training on the beach between Sandbanks and Bournemouth, I would estimate more than 500 people have read the symptoms that are written on the back of my running vest. This has been one of the most rewarding points for me.
  3. As a minimum, post 6 updates on each of the Facebook and Twitter platforms to show the symptoms of ovarian cancer.
    • Met and exceeded. There have been 11 tweets, 24 Facebook posts, 3 LinkedIn posts and 7 updates on the Just Giving page. I also hope this blog post will help increase awareness of the symptoms too.
  4. Complete the 13.1 miles within 2 hours and 30 minutes.
    • Met and exceeded. I completed the half marathon in 2 hours and 13 minutes. It’s now time for final sign off and Authorize Project Closure! ☺

Read Paul Bradley's AXELOS Blog Post, PRINCE2® 2017 Update: Developing best practice for today’s challenging working world.

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