How many project assurance reviews have you been involved in some way? One or two? None?
Did it resemble more of a chat than a review activity? Was there more trading of war stories than identifying options for improving project progress or likelihood of success? Don’t worry – you’re not alone!
On the flip-side, have you had to sit through long and punishing checklist style reviews trying to cover so much ground that project assurance review outcomes are compromised? Have these checklists made life easier or have they resulted in the endless debate around the relevance of individual checklist items? Did any of these end up really helping projects succeed?
So, what is the best way to conduct a project assurance review? How do you ensure that you’re answering the right questions? How do you ensure you’re speaking to the right people?
One way to do this is to build structure into your reviews and to ensure you focus on the following areas:
- Terms of Reference – what does the review sponsor need/want you to focus on? Without review focus, the effort is spread too thin and doesn’t allow for deeper exploration of issues.
- Information – where to look for information, what documents to review, who to speak to, what other data might be relevant?
- Standards and Practice – what standards and practices will you review against?
- Review activities – what review activities will be undertaken and how will they relate to the review objective?