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Assessment Deliverables

"Because the objective of this phase is to assess the status of the current project, the rescue manager and project team need to review all the deliverables that were created to date." If some of the deliverables mentioned below have not been produced you should build them as part of the project rescue. The absence of some of these could be the reason the project is in trouble in the first place.

Project Charter

"This deliverable describes the vision, objective, and costs of the project initiative. Look for specifics around how the objectives map to the vision. Very often, the objectives may try to achieve more than is required to satisfy the vision."

Organization Chart

"The organization chart should identify the key sponsors, stakeholders, project team, and any other resource groups that are involved in the project. Look for clarity around the roles and responsibilities and reporting relationships. Are there any gaps? Is there accountability? Who can remove obstacles that the rescue will encounter? Are they ready to help?"

Project Plan

"This can be a Gantt view of the project plan at the activity level showing resource requirements at the task or activity level. You need to review this plan to understand the original project dates. Were there enough interim dates? Was the schedule reasonable to begin with? How was the time allocated?"

Business Objectives

"Understand the high-level business objectives and try to assign an impact of each to the business. As the project rescue manager, you need to understand whether the business objectives are achievable. You may also want to consider whether, in you judgment, they are valid objectives for the business. Do they really result in added business value? Were they a problem to begin with?"

Business Case

"This is an important document as it describes the business need for the project. The more important it is to the business, the more the company will be willing to invest to make it successful. Use this to identify the key supporters of the initiative."

Risk Assessment

"Focus on understanding the identified risks, the mitigation strategies that were defined, and what was actually done. Identify any risks that were obviously missed."

Quality Plan

"Who is the quality champion or manager? How did they quality requirements hurt or help the project? Were they too rigid or too few?"

Acceptance Criteria

"Create a detailed statement of the criteria that will be used to determine if the project solution is acceptable. Must be clear and related to the business requirements. If this cannot be articulated, it is a sign of more ambiguity to come."

Status Reports

"Examine all the documents and notes related to how the project was being tracked. This should include the formal status reports, but also the informal emails, notes, and minutes of meetings that were shared between the team members."

Meeting Minutes

"A lot of useful information never makes it onto the regular status reports. You need to find the formal or informal meeting minutes and memos to build a more complete background of what has occurred on the project."

Issue Logs

"Review the outstanding issue logs for several important pieces of information. What types of issues were being identified prior to the project rescue being invoked? Are these to be expected? Were they getting resolved or at least addressed in a timely manner? Are there any personal issues coming out?"

The above is an excerpt from a book written by Sanjiv Purba and Joseph Zucchero, published by McGraw-Hill/Osborne, 2100 Powell Street, 10th Floor, Emeryville, California 94608 U.S.A. Sanjiv has over 20 years of experience managing large projects and many years engaged in rescuing ailing projects.