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Project Auditing

"The final position in the project management office is the one that is most helpful to the project steering committee. The project audits are designed to give the project management team an unbiased snapshot of the project's progress to date and a forecast of where the project is headed. We discussed the audit function and the types of audits in Chapter 4; now let's take a look at the person who conducts the project audits."
"Because of the heightened sensitivity associated with a runaway project, the project office auditor must not only be an experienced project manager but that person must also be very tactful in portraying the project's status. Everyone knows that the first couple of audits will be abysmal. Without watering down the project audit, the projecdt office auditor must concentrate on the efforts the team is making to recover the project. Of course, the project office auditor's primary job is to let the project management team understand where the project is headed. Falsely glowing reports are not acceptable either. but it is importand to focus on project improvements and determine over the course of two or three audits whether these improvements are being sustained. Some areas of improvement to look for are listed in the table below."
"Of course there are other areas where you can look for immediate and sustained improvements. If no improvements are found the situation must be addressede immediately. Otherwise you will be starting your project rescue efforts from the beginning again - if you are given the opportunity to do so."
"Smaller organizations have the project officer double as the project auditor. Larger organizations separate the roles, which frees up the project officer to mentor the mentors. Remember the goal of the project management office is to create a supportive project management culture. If you can achieve that, you will greatly increase your chances of a successful project rescue."
Improvement Area
Questions to Ask
Quality programs
Is the project team conducting peer reviews? Is there a documented test strategy and test plan? Are the subject matter experts involved with the quality efforts?
Project work effort
Is the project team capturing actual hours for each task? Is the project manager reviewing the actual hours and applying them to future task estimates?
Risk management
Is the project team conducting regularly scheduled risk management sessions? Is the extended project team involved with the risk management and mitigation strategies?
Issue management
Is the project team conducting regularly scheduled issue management sessions? Are issues getting escalated in a timely manner - before they cause changes to the project plan?
Change management
Are the project manager and the project sponsor engaged in active change management? Is there budget and scheduled time for change investigation?
Project communications
Are weekly status meetings held weekly and do they use the weekly status report as the agenda? Are monthly status meetings held monthly and do they use the monthly status report as the agenda? Is the project status accurately portrayed in th eweekly and monthly status meetings?


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.