Friday, June 03, 2016

Project Review

So step one was to consider if the project manager has the necessary skills to manage projects. Step two was to consider the needs of the organisation. Step three was to make sure that only projects that are critical to the business take place and that the projects that do take place are measured on the actual benefits they deliver to the business at the end of the project. Most organisations are still failing in these last two areas. But step four is also critical to ensuring project success:

Project Review
The final step is to make sure that all projects are reviewed at set times in the project life-cycle. This way projects that are going wrong or getting into difficulties get fixed or stopped before they can have a serious impact on the business. Sometimes this is a hard bullet to bite for the project manager and business but struggling on with a disastrous project would be even worse for both the project manager and the business.

A peer review process is ideal for this as it spreads good practice across the organisation. It needs to use some sort of standard check-list so nothing gets overlooked. The optimum time to review a project is usually at the end of each project stage and this is sometimes referred to as a gateway review process. This is a typical series of end stage reviews:

Initiation Stage: confirm that there is a sound business case for the project and an agreed understanding of how the business objectives will be delivered. Confirm that the stakeholders have been identified, risk management is in place and the project is ready to move onto the next stage.

Strategy Stage: confirm that the business requirements have been specified and agreed together with the delivery approach. Confirm the business case is still valid, plans are in place for risk management and the project is ready to move onto the next stage.

Analysis Stage: confirm that the proposed solution meets the business needs and can be implemented. Confirm the business case is still valid, risk and issue management plans are up to date and the project is ready to move onto the next stage.

Design & Build Stage: confirm that solution to meet the business requirements has been developed and is ready for service. Confirm the business case is still valid, risk and issue management plans are up to date and the project is ready to move onto the next stage.

Implementation Stage: confirm if the business benefits have been realised and that the users are satisfied with the operational service. 

These are the four steps that every organisation can take to stop projects failing and start moving towards excellence in project management. However putting them all into practice will require a fairly major project (or a program) in its own right. So I will have a look at that next week.


Solartis said...

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Tom Hussey said...

These project stage review gates make a lot of sense - I've seen them implemented in organizations but never well! They tend to be bureaucratic exercises to make sure you've completed all of the appropriate Prince 2 deliverables based on the organization's templates rather that a true evaluation of the state of the project.

Any tips on how to make them more effective and give them more teeth?

P M Blogger said...

Good point Tom, they key things to focus on are not PRINCE deliverables but project team happiness, stakeholder involvement and is the project fit to continue. I just love the RAG flags: red fix it now or the project gets canned, amber fix it before it becomes major, green for go! Simples. pages 158 to 174 in Project Program and Portfolio Management in easy steps. Give me your email address and I'll send you a PDF of the chapter. Cheers, John.