Essential And Guiding Questions That Are Aligned With Lesson-Level Objectives Keys to Project Success – Using Audits and Reviews as a Best Project Management Practice

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Keys to Project Success – Using Audits and Reviews as a Best Project Management Practice

In recent years, many companies have placed more emphasis on project management techniques as a result of lessons learned from past project performance. After experiencing project delays, overruns, missing quality goals, communication barriers, “scope creep”, and a general perception of projects out of control, these companies scrambled to implement good Project Management practices to prevent these types of problems.

As part of these best practices, many companies have established project review and audit programs, periodically assessing the status of projects and their alignment with individual and corporate goals. . While useful, in many cases these reviews and audits are carried out by senior managers who have a stake in the outcome of the project or have no real experience and training in project management. Many companies find that these management reviews are unsuccessful because senior management and project managers may speak a different language and view projects from completely different perspectives. sight.

Audits and reviews require preparation to be productive. Predefined project review and audit protocols help focus the project manager and the reviewer/auditor on important aspects of the project. Basing these protocols on proven philosophies from the Project Management Institute (PMI®), the world’s leading authority for the project management profession, can provide significant insight into the actual state of the project. It provides an opportunity to take actions at the most efficient points of project implementation, which increases the probability of project success.

We have found that the most effective audits are focused on project management knowledge areas as defined by PMI®. We have also found that effective project reviews and audits involve more than sitting down with the project manager and asking a series of questions. Interviews with project team members, stakeholders, and senior management as well as a thorough review of all documentation related to the project are just as critical to producing effective results.

Follow Project Management Processes

    A defined set of project management processes provides consistency in the project management approach across all projects. This facilitates program management, allows the sharing of resources, and increases the likelihood of project success. Audits should carefully check the project’s adherence to the project’s Project Management Processes. Separately following these methods, however, without allowing for project specifics, can introduce inefficiencies and inhibit the creativity or flexibility needed to bring a project to a successful conclusion.

Scope of Control

    Change in scope, without compensation for changes in schedule, budget, and project objectives, is a major cause of schedule slippage and project overrun. Adherence to change control procedures is necessary to identify and prevent the inappropriate addition of “out of scope” items to the project, and limit scope creep. Audits should target Scope Management as a major factor in overall project performance to prevent unnecessary increases in project scope without corresponding increases in project value.

Compliance with the Project Charter

    The project charter defines in broad terms the project’s targets and how the project’s success will be measured. It actually serves as the main focus of all project efforts. Projects are easily lost by ignoring the project charter, resulting in schedule and budget problems.

cost

    Project cost affects all other aspects of the project. Properly estimating and tracking budgets is essential to controlling a project’s costs. Understanding the budget status of a project can affect all decisions made during project implementation and design. Audits should focus on the two most critical aspects of cost control – estimating and tracking. Estimating factors include methods used to determine project costs and cost constraints, resource planning and assumptions made during the estimating process. Tracking factors include the mechanism used to track costs and the methods used to determine project cost status.

time

    Proper time management is critical to meeting important project deadlines and achieving time-to-market goals. Carefully defining project activities, sequencing them properly, estimating resources and time for each, and developing a schedule are all critical phases of the planning process. Audits and reviews should focus on compliance with time management processes- Are activities defined and followed correctly? How are estimates determined? And what mechanisms are used to monitor compliance and schedule control?

communications

    Many project performance studies show that communication is the Number 1 problem that project managers encounter; therefore proper communication is essential to the success of a project. With this level of importance, audits and reviews should focus closely on the Project Manager’s communication methods and capabilities, overcoming barriers to communications within the company, and the efficiency of mechanisms used for communication – Are stakeholders kept in the loop with the information they need to know for the project to be successful?

risks

    Risk identification and management is critical to project success. Anticipating and planning for risk events increases the likelihood and impact of positive events, and decreases the likelihood and impact of adverse project events. Audits should focus on project plans for preventing problems and planning responses to problems that cannot be prevented.

quality

    Quality is the key to customer satisfaction, and managing customer expectations is a key to project success. Audits and reviews should focus on your product delivery process – is preventive inspection emphasized? Is quality built or checked? Are all team members (including management) participants in the quality process?

Human Resources

    Aligning project goals with the goals and motivations of the project team is an important part of the successful completion of any project. Defining and communicating roles and responsibilities to management, team members and other project stakeholders is essential. Project audits should focus on critical aspects of HR management – Is the project well staffed? Are team members meshing so that the whole is greater than the sum of the parts? Are members’ roles understood? Are there motivational problems?

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