The RAP Structure

It might appear that getting a group of stakeholders together in a room is a high-risk scenario and that the meeting could degenerate into a talkfest, at best, and a rabble, at worst.

Over many years of experience, we have developed a structured process that guides the RAP session and enables the participants to focus on specific project planning issues one at a time. As we'll explain in the rest of this component, we have also developed and refined a series of tools that are used during the RAP session.

Figure 6.2 outlines the basic RAP structure, and we'll go into further detail in the later chapters.

Figure 6.2. The RAP structure


In effect, the RAP process is the project planning process shown in Figure 5.2 broken into a series of subprocesses. As you will see, the RAP follows a particular order; for example, you must get your scope and objectives resolved before you examine benefits.

RAP Technology

This is the easy part. After experimenting with groupware, PCs, and various technologies designed to facilitate team meetings, we came to a fairly obvious conclusion: Technology generally gets in the way of the group process.

We have found that electronic whiteboards and good old-fashioned paper are the best way to capture the various outputs from the RAP session. After the RAP session, the project manager and team can clean up the material using the various tools we show you here. The resultant draft business case is then distributed to the RAP participants for review, discussion, and sign-off. A follow-up RAP may be required to include any major revisions to the business case.

How Long Should a RAP Take?

As a rule of thumb, we suggest that you allow between one to five days for a RAP session. For smaller projects (up to three elapsed months), a RAP should take no more than a day. Larger projects can take up to five days to RAP. We once planned a $100,000,000 project in five days of intensive planning.

Another rule of thumb is that the first four steps (success sliders, scope and objectives, added value analysis and quality requirements) take about 50% of the RAP.

The P Files Episode 3: The Project Manager Who Lost Her Heart

In a very aggressive merchant bank, we were consulting and introducing our eXtreme project management approach. Although the majority of project managers were excited and supportive of the RAP concept, we met one A-type person who was really outraged with the concept. "This is a waste of time," she declared. "I don't have time to hug the stakeholders. We just can't afford all this hugging crap." Her project failed a number of months later as the stakeholders worked tirelessly to ensure her failure.

The P Files Team Comment

Trevor Boucher, the former Commissioner of the Australian Taxation Office, who is one of the best executives and sponsors that we have had the pleasure to work with, turned the Taxation Office into one of the most efficient and open organizations in the world. One day he shared this great wisdom with me. He said, "After 30 years in this organization, which most clients hate, I have learned that you keep your friends close but you hug your enemies."

Case Study ”Initial Stakeholder List

Let's start by identifying the project stakeholders. Based on our initial information, we can identify these possible stakeholders:

  • Edwina Smuthe: Project sponsor

  • Joan Jette: Business expert

  • Uri Case: President, No Object

  • Kim Lee: Tech, No Object

  • John: Office manager, Smuthe

  • Bill: Manager, City 1

  • Mary: Manager, City 2

  • Tran: Manager, City 3

  • Fred: Manager, City 4

Your team and any related projects happening at either Smuthe or No Object are yet to be identified.

After a discussion with Edwina, you agree that the critical stakeholders are as follows:

  • Edwina Smuthe: Project sponsor

  • Uri Case: Steering committee member

  • Joan Jette: Business expert

  • Kim Lee: Tech, No Object

  • John: Office manager, Smuthe

  • Yourself

Initially, it appears there are no related projects. All parties agree to attend a RAP session.

Radical Project Management
Radical Project Management
ISBN: 0130094862
EAN: 2147483647
Year: 2002
Pages: 136
Authors: Rob Thomsett

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