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Project Management, Viewpoint!

Project Health-check

I’ve been asked a couple of times recently what advice I’d give somebody who wanted to carry out a project health-check.

Here are my suggestions:

Owner/Sponsor: Speak with the Project Owner/Sponsor and get a feel for how engaged are they, how are they leading it and how much time are they devoting to it.  Are they “hot” or “cold” about their project?

Project Manager: Speak with the PM and find out how much time he/she is spending on “planning” as opposed to engaging with the team, the sponsor and stakeholders.  Is the PM “walking the bazaars” or “stuck in a box”?

Project Initiation Document: Review the quality of it (assuming one exists!).  Many are verbose, woolly and do little more than “tick the box”.  The PID should be clear, concise and have an appropriate level of detail for the project. I like to see two pages or less!

Meeting Minutes: Read through some of the recent minutes.  Do they give a clear indication of action/progress? They shouldn’t read like the parish council minutes, nor should there be recurring incomplete actions.  In my experience, projects make more progress with short, regular action-oriented meetings, rather than infrequent, long, rambling discussions.

Tools: Is the project making best use of relevant tools, not just using tools for tools sake?  Not every project needs a Gantt Chart, Risk Register, Issues Register and Change Log!  On the other hand, choosing the right tools, with the right level of detail can be really helpful in planning and managing progress.

Governance: Is there any evidence that the governance arrangements (where they exist) add value?  How often does the governance group meet and what does it do?  Are the necessary decisions being made?  Are common themes being identified across multiple projects?

You’ll find lots more practical articles on Project Management here.

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