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Review the Project Audit Results

"Once you have completed the assessment phase of the project audit, it's time to review the results and take corrective action. We'll use the key questions from the previous chapter as a guide for the diagnosis and prescription of our patient."

Key Question: What was the actual time spent on each tasks versus the original estimate?

"You may find that the project team is not tracking actual hours spent on each task. This is a serious issue not only for the current project, but also for your IT group's ability to estimate future projects. There are a couple of ways to deal with this situation. First, the project team must understand that from this point forward, the effort associated with all tasks are to be tracked on a weekly basis and reported to the project manager. There will be initial resistance, but the team will get into the routine and realize the time associated with tracking the task efforts is actually very minimal."

"From an organizational change perspective, this should be done with a compliance strategy - or 'tell it' not 'sell it'. There is no time to wait for each team member to be sold on the benefits of tracking hours to tasks. You must make it clear that there is no choice in adhering to this practice as long as the project team member wishes to remain employed. Managing large projects is dependent upon the ability to manage variances - both positive and negative - and you cannot do that well without weekly updates on the effort."

"Second, if feasible, go back to the weekly status reports and try to associate approximate hours for task. Even though you won't get an accurate picture of the task effort, you will get an approximation that will allow you to determine if the remaining estimates are reasonable. If you cannot find the previous status reports or they do not give you the sufficient details of the tasks that were started and completed, consider interviewing the team members to get their recollections of the expended efforts. You can get a great insight to how the project's hours have been spent. With this information in hand, you should be able to tell if the team members are working on the tasks they had been assigned. You may discover that the team members are working on other non-project related tasks such as current system maintenance, answering questions about items outside the project scope, working on tasks missing in the plan or making undocumented 'little' changes. Your goal is to verify the remaining effort to successfully complete the project. Knowing the reasonability of the estimate to complete is a key factor. Once you verify what happened and why the variances between the original task estimate and the actual task effort occurred you will know to what degree the project is out of control."

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.