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Review Project Audit Results

Key Question: Are all the tasks accounted for in the plan?

"Most likely, if a plan exists and your project is still running out of control, your project plan is missing several activities and tasks. This tends to happen when project plans are built without the benefit of a project template or a methodology task plan. Most of these incomplete plans tend to have a fairly comprehensive list of technical tasks, but they also tend to miss the tasks associated with project management and quality management. The project gets into trouble when new tasks are discovered and added to the plan without utilizing the change control process. Often the project manager is embarrassed about missing these tasks and tries to hide the omission. The problem gets worse because there is no explanation or audit trail of how the additional hours got into the plan. This is a classic example of the infamous scope creep."

"The path out of this mess is very similar to the path that must be taken when there is no project plan, but not as severe. Again, try to find a copy of a project template in your organization. That will help identify the missing tasks and their associated dependencies. Next, with the IT team, review the completed and in-progress activities and tasks to determine the hours expended on each of those tasks. Using this historical data, determine the reasonable and realistic estimate to complete all open tasks - those that were in the plan and the missing tasks that you had to add to the plan."

"Finally, check that you accounted for all deliverables in the project charter. Again, your goal is to quantify the effort needed to complete the project so you can derive the cost and schedule."

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.