There is increasing recognition that assurance, undertaken by an independent party, is essential to project success.
Aside from the impartiality of an external project perspective, assurance provides a structured framework for ensuring that projects are routinely reviewed to stay on track, in scope and on budget.
So how do you ensure best bang for your assurance buck?
Health checks and post-implementation reviews
Two of the most common assurance mechanisms are health checks and post-implementation reviews (PIRs).
Health checks help project teams to identify and correct problems before its too late, and are undertaken throughout the life of a project. Post Implementation Reviews (PIRs) are a great way to capture project learnings gained during execution, which can subsequently be made available for other project teams.
Knowing where projects get off track
Recent Department of Defence analysis of more than 800 projects concluded that projects that were off-track and more than 15% into the execution invariably would not get back on-track.
The graphic below illustrates why. Note the position of typical health checks and where the PIR occurs – it’s easy to see how a project can progress past the 15% mark before issues are addressed.
Projects are typically front-loaded with activity and can get off-track very quickly. A Set up for Success Review held very early in the project development cycle will remediate any early problems. The earlier the intervention, the less effort is required to change direction and lower the cost of the remediation.
Additionally, there is usually far less emotional energy invested by the project team, making it more likely they will be open and supportive of any required changes.
Setting up for success
Quay Consulting’s Setup for Success Review approach combines both the P3M3 best practice key enablers for success together with the PMBOK 9 knowledge areas. It delivers a comprehensive report that identifies the current state of critical success factors (CSFs) and makes recommendations where remediation is required.
An Executive Dashboard is presented in the format below with Red, Amber and Green traffic lighting representing the extent to which each component is configured for success.
Health checks and PIRs have their place and are rightfully valued by business. But Setup for Success Reviews are even more valuable because they occur well before the 15% mark that can derail a project.
Prevent rather than cure
An ounce of prevention is far better – and typically less costly – than a corrective cure. A Setup for Success Review, conducted early in the project lifecycle is the most powerful action you can take to ensure project success.
The relative return on investment (ROI) of different types of assurance activity illustrates why early intervention is important.
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