Project Management Reviews
of enterprise-wide, mission critical and high-risk projects.
First of all, do you really want or need a project?
- Projects are risky… best when strategic importance is critical, i.e. ‘time to market’
- Special attention from sr. management and a sponsor required to ensure success
- Should assign the best and brightest to the team… who are then lost to the
organization during the project
- Desirable to separate team, facilities and culture from the rest of the organization to
- Start-up and shut-down time are significant especially for larger projects
- Special PM information systems required to help monitor and control
- Support and non-chargeable project time can be 15-25%, or more
- Many other ‘risks of failure, or ‘failure to deliver full value’ are present
What should senior management expect from a project?
- Results - consistent with approved scope and expectations… no more, no less
- Realistic estimates and status reports
- On-time (2/3 of all projects are optimized for minimal time duration)
- No surprises
- Satisfied stakeholders
- Healthy, empowered and motivated project team – professionally rewarding experience
- Good or improved relationships with suppliers and key stakeholders
What are the key risks?
- Lack of user involvement… No 1!
- Inadequate senior management and sponsor support
- Inexperienced project manager regardless of subject matter expertise
- Long durations (>6 months) without major deliverables or milestones
- Inadequate planning and communications
- Lack of clear statement of requirements and business objectives
- Ignoring scope, time and budget inter-dependencies along with unrealistic expectations
- Scope creep… scope changes will occur and must be managed
- Multiple organizational units, partners and suppliers add complexities and risks
- Team size, multiple team locations, time zones and implementation sites add complexities and risks
- Project status or progress information not visible or not based on validated measures
- Inadequate risk and quality management
- Human tendency to avoid ‘bad news’ until it is too late to take corrective action
- Technology is usually a small part of project success (<20%)
by Ed Bottrell
Can the organization bear the costs of failure? Or 2x Overruns?
How will you know if a project is in trouble and needs corrective action?
What precautions should be taken to detect and avoid problems?
What is involved and how can a project management review help ensure success?
- Confidential, independent and objective
- Detect and avoid problems before they occur
- One-on-one sessions with PM, and team leaders if needed
- Assessment of current status against plan and expectations. Estimates to complete
may require additional work
- Assessment of and recommendations to improve project management processes for scope,
time, budget, HR, procurement, communications, quality, risk and overall
- Summary of factors and key issues affecting project success, team productivity and
- Generally does not involve subject matter, financial or personnel audits and is not a
substitute for good project management
Project management review time, deliverables and costs
- Initial reviews vary from 2-weeks for smaller, well run projects to about
5-weeks for large or troubled projects.
- Follow-up reviews, if necessary, typically last 1-2 weeks
- Reviews scheduled to minimize project disruptions
- Presentation report provided to senior management and to PM or selected project team
members, if appropriate
- Competitive fee structure
- Fixed price reviews available
“It must be remembered that there is nothing
more difficult to plan, more doubtful of success, nor more dangerous to
manage, than the creation of a new system. For the initiator has the
enmity of all who would profit by the preservation of the old institutions,
and merely lukewarm defenders in those who would gain by the new ones.”
Machiavelli, Nicollo. 1513. The Prince