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Project Quality Reviews: How to Rescue a Failing Project

Failure is not an option. When it comes to projects, sometimes this is very true. But how can a failing project be reliably saved when it is teetering on the precipice? In a post for PM Hut, Michael Stanleigh elaborates on the answer to a failing project: the project quality review.

Back from the Brink

Project quality reviews are the best tools for uncovering why a project is failing or for revealing valuable “lessons learned.” Bringing in an outside auditor to conduct these is a great practice because it allows for the team members to speak more candidly and the truth to be more evident. The process of conducting the audit is pretty similar regardless of the stage in the project it is taking place. There are three phases in a project quality review:

  1. Planning the project quality review
  2. Analyzing the project
  3. Reporting and making recommendations

The first phase is when the auditor plans the project quality review and determines when to hold the audit. The auditor needs to be clear in their expectations. In order to do this successfully, they will likely conduct interviews with the team and concretize success criteria. The planning phase also involves determining whether project management practices align with corporate culture, deciding whether or not consistent project management practices are a part of corporate culture, and examining the structure of the project.

The second phase is when project analysis occurs. The auditor will gather information from everyone involved with the project and assess any problems that occur. For example, the auditor may look to see how well the project aligns with the vendor plan or how the project budget is managed by the project team. The auditor may review all documentation associated with the project, including: project structure, scope statement, change logs, etc.

The final phase is where the auditor writes a detailed report and makes any specific recommendations. This report incorporates all of the information and findings that were uncovered throughout the entire process, and details precisely what must be done to get the project back on track. Just be warned that this is not always the end of the story:

In my experience, senior management may not always find it easy to accept the report findings[,] particularly if there is a lot at stake for them and their resources to make necessary corrections are limited. They will likely require further assistance to implement the recommendations and this can mean additional costs. Or they may not have the internal capability to make the necessary changes. At the end of the day, management will have to decide if they will listen to the auditor’s findings or not.

Make the best possible effort to conduct an objective review with actionable insights that management is willing to swallow. You can read the original post here: http://www.pmhut.com/how-to-undertake-a-project-quality-review-that-will-increase-your-bottom-line

About Danielle Koehler

Danielle is a staff writer for CAI's Accelerating IT Success. She has degrees in English and human resource management from Shippensburg University.

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