Maximising the value of your Project Health Check
Projects continue to be delivered late, over budget, incomplete, requirements omitted, delivered but never used or worse, benefits never realised. Progress monitoring, reports, metrics and dashboards only provide a snapshot, they may inform stakeholders a milestone has been missed or budget exceeded, but they do not highlight whether it could be a sign of a systemic problem. This level of reporting can also reinforce a notion a project is in control, facilitating a tendency by project managers and sponsors to assume everything is OK.
The Project Health Check can mitigate these risks and provide real value but, only when:
- The right check is completed at the right time(s);
- Processes & procedures are well defined;
- Those completing the review have the necessary skills, knowledge and approach;
- There’s an action plan to put things right after the review
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Engaging an independent external moderator
While many project managers may view periodic Project Health Checks as an unnecessary distraction, assessments conducted by an outside expert add both value to the project implementation and added protection against the high cost of failure. An independent and experienced third party will recognise the subtle issues and intervene to build consensus amongst project team members developing a collaborative approach to complete the Project Health Check.
The cost of project delays and peace of mind that the project is on the right track easily out way the incremental costs incurred for an additional resource to periodically support your Project Health Check.
What is a Project Health Check?
The Project Health Check is an independent assessment of how well a project or programme is performing in accordance with its objectives, analysing not only the performance of the project but also its conformance to the Charter or PID and adherence to organisational standards. It should be a reflective learning exercise providing a deeper analysis of the status of a project or programme in order to identify what is going well and what areas need improvement. It checks back on the history of the project and looks forward at upcoming activities.
The Project Health Check should be completed by an independent resource, external to the project and programme office, as it’s often difficult for those closely involved to take an objective view. Obvious problems go undetected or ignored because the project team has faith that if they keep with the plan the benefits will materialise.
Project Health check benefits
- The project manager receives immediate feedback about improvements in the key areas of the project and proposals to optimise the project deliverables;
- Provides opportunities to engage and arrange support activities with stakeholders and sponsors;
- Receives neutral feedback and exchanges of expertise from peers and external project experts.
- Plans executed to increase project quality;
- Immediate options to mitigate risk of failure;
- Planning and forecasting benchmarked and optimised to the project management methodology & organisational requirements;
- Increased confidence and project reliability;
- Short term findings about the quality of the project management methodology improvement opportunities for action at a programme or organisational level.