Project reviews are like customs agents, except that project reviews will not take away your contraband wheel of cheese. In a post for the PM Perspectives Blog, Elizabeth Harrin discusses the merits of five types of review. Then she examines the feasibility of implanting them into your immediate project.
Reviews in Review
First up are standard, informal peer reviews. These are not reviews of peers, but rather reviews by peers of the current state of the project. You can ask a trusted colleague to look over your project schedule and documentation to confirm that it looks good to him or her.
A more formal version of this is the project audit, except that an audit is generally aimed at ensuring the project complies with “company standards, corporate processes, and other formal and obligatory internal guidelines like cost control.” The “good” news about audits though is that you usually do not need to seek them out yourself; they just happen all by themselves if someone else gets worried. Cross your fingers that incurring one will not be necessary.
Next are project evaluation or stage reviews, conducted by you as the manager. These are informal reviews generally done to prepare yourself for formal gate reviews with the project sponsor. Conducting a project evaluation ensures you have something worth saying to the sponsor, especially regarding if the project is meeting cost and schedule expectations.
The fourth type of review, the post-project review, occurs at the end of a project but before it has actually closed. This is essentially the place to review successes and hiccups regarding processes and techniques, and to see how well the project performed against key factors like schedule and quality.
Lastly, there are benefits reviews, about which Harrin states this:
A benefits review assesses whether or not the stated and desired benefits set out in the business case have been achieved and to what degree. The first one normally take place between three and six months after the project has formally closed. They are then repeated at regular intervals until the business deems that the product is in a business as usual state and no longer needs tracking.
You want the benefits reviews to go well, lest it become revealed that the project was conducted for no good reason, never a good thing. For further explanation, you can view the original post here: http://www.esi-intl.co.uk/blogs/pmoperspectives/index.php/project-reviews-use/