To ensure that a project is on track and will achieve its stated goals, senior executives frequently seek assurance. The importance of this becomes significantly greater if the project is critical to the organization and must succeed. This is when Project Review comes into play!
What is a Project Review? #
But first, let’s elaborate the definition of project review. What is a project review?
A Project Review is an evaluation of the current progress of a project at a specific point of the project (milestone). The focus of a project review is the chance of future project success. A project review will provide you with a thorough knowledge of the current status of your project and if it is on track to meet your success criteria.
Project reviews are carried out at the end of phase of project life cycle, such as Initiation, Planning, and Execution stages.
The Advantages of Project Review Process #
There are several advantages when you perform project review properly, such as:
- You will get a 360-degree perspective of your project’s current status.
- A project review will provide you with the knowledge you need to make informed decisions.
- You will get a third-party opinion on how likely it is that the project will be successful in terms of project delivery, product or service success, and also business success.
- You will get better suggestions for how to fix the project problems and challenges that have been found.
What can we expect from the results of a project evaluation? #
The outcome for project review could be all of the following;
- A current condition summary and assumption list
- A comprehensive and up-to-date issue list
- A current risk analysis for risk management process
- A comprehensive report containing observations and recommended corrective actions
- Discussion and analysis of the findings and recommended actions
Types of Project Review #
There are at least 4 types of project review, such as Initial Project Review, Completion Review, Special Review for Non-Compliant follow up and Stakeholder Requested review.
Initial Project Review #
The initial plan review will help to verify if the project exceeds the basic requirement for starting a project. This assessment may encompass the following project phases, such as PPI (Project Planning and Initiation), SRA (System Requirement Analysis), TRA (Transition Risk Analysis), etc.
Completion Review #
During the completion review, it will be determined whether or not the project was successful in meeting all of the requirements, sign-offs, and deliverables that were outlined in the project scope, as well as whether or not the project management process was successful in meeting all of the necessary criteria. The Review of Completion will determine whether or not all project technical, financial, and contract closure activities have been correctly executed.
Special Review (RS) #
Special review is similar to completion review. The differences are usually the special review might focus on “at-risk” behaviors, conditions, or work products and it’s usually conducted at the specific point during the project when special review is requested.
Special Review: Non-Compliant Follow-Up #
If a previous assessment concluded that “the project is at risk”, a Non-Compliant review will be held within a month. The type of Non-Compliance review (R1, R2, or R3) determines the (RS) Special Review.
In the event that the non-compliant review was an Initial Project Review (R1), the subsequent Special Review (RS) would investigate the Project Deliverables that were defined in R1.
Special Review : Stakeholder Requested #
Any project stakeholder in the project, including the Project Manager, has the ability to submit a request for an “ad hoc” or Special Review (RS). The justification for a “ad hoc” review may consist of any of the following:
- Change in the Project Managers;
- Serious issues that may affect the project’s capacity to deliver the best possible solutions; and
- A project that has been classed as a “Non-Compliant Project” and requires a particular finding or issue to be resolved. The detected issue will be reviewed by stakeholders.
This review follows the Project Review format. What deliverables are reviewed depends on the project’s stage.
8 Strategic Steps To Conduct Project Review #
Employing a third party might be costly and may not be feasible for many projects. However, if a company’s PMO is staffed with competent individuals who have proven delivery experience, there is no reason why the PMO cannot conduct the review on behalf of management or senior management. Even more, the PMO can organize peer reviews by reputable, experienced project managers from other projects. These are 8 easy steps to conduct project review!
1. Determine Review Scope and Objective #
Check that the project team and stakeholders understand the review’s objective and scope before moving on. Usually, this will come from the project’s sponsor or top management. This should be done to shed more light on any concerns that prompted the need for the review.
2. Preparation Process #
To ensure that the review is as productive as it possibly can be, preparation is essential, just as it is with anything else. This will include the following:
- Keeping track of the findings while also ensuring their scope, length, and format.
- A preliminary reading of the project paperwork, which may include the business case, status reports, etc.
- Identifying and gaining agreement from stakeholders to conduct interviews.
- Developing questions to be asked in interviews in order to investigate a theory.
- Making arrangements for interviews.
- Developing an initial working hypothesis of the issues.
3. Interview The Sponsor #
It is recommended that the initial interview be with the sponsor of the project. This will make it possible to clarify concerns, provide background information on the project, and comprehend why the project is vital, among other things.
Additionally, it will make it possible to test the hypothesis to determine whether or not it strikes a chord with the sponsor. When there is not a lot of time available and the review needs to be finished in a short amount of time, this step is quite critical. It will guarantee that the review focuses on the areas of concern that need to be addressed.
However, it is important that this meeting, as well as all of the meetings, be attended with an open mind because the sponsor may have overlooked certain aspects or may have a bias.
4. Interview The Project Manager #
This should ideally be the following interview on the agenda after interviewing the sponsor. It will make it possible to look into and test the concerns and hypotheses to see if they are valid. You need to understand that, a defensive project manager is normal. Consequently, you must be persistent and avoid being hostile in your questioning.
The areas of concern where the project manager’s responses contradict the sponsor or documents must be accurately noted so they can be tested with other project stakeholders and team members.
5. Interview The Project Stakeholders #
The remaining sessions should be concluded as soon as feasible, and information obtained in prior meetings should be evaluated. This may provoke further inquiries, necessitating a second meeting with certain parties or certain project stakeholders.
It is essential that, for all meetings, the same questions be asked. Always take meeting notes, and if appropriate, send them to the individual with whom you met. This will allow for the correction of any misunderstandings before the final findings are reached. In addition, it implies that conclusions can be traced back to the facts supporting them.
6. Analysis Process #
After the interviews and cross-checks have been completed, the data are analyzed and compared to the initial concerns and hypotheses. Because of this, draft findings will be able to be documented.
7. Draft Review Conclusion #
Having the sponsor and, if necessary, the project manager examine the draft conclusion is essential. They will be better able to comprehend the findings, as well as the reasoning behind them. In this way, the final paper can be fine-tuned to deliver the message with the best possibility of action. It also provides the opportunity to clarify any issues.
It’s important to note that the conclusions might not be accepted by the project manager or the sponsor. However, do not alter the findings simply because you are under pressure. By doing so will not assist the project in overcoming potential obstacles, and if the project fails, this will reflect poorly on the review that it failed to spot the problems.
8. Publish The Review #
Finalize the findings in a document, ensuring that it includes a summary that addresses the initial scope review and objective of the review and also highlights high-risk issues. While verifying the concerns or serious risk items is crucial, establishing an action plan for addressing the findings is the most critical thing you can do to make the evaluation truly beneficial.
This will demonstrate a high level of initiative, and it will be warmly accepted by the sponsor as well as senior management because it will make it feasible to solve the issues without any delay. Consultancies have found that employing this strategy to successfully secure subsequent engagements is quite effective.
Using FoxPlan To Manage Your Project Review Process #
It is extremely vital to complete reviews of significant projects, as doing so can help uncover high-risk issues in sufficient time for mitigation to take place.
While you might need a third party or even perform the project review in-house, the use of all-in-one project management software like FoxPlan is necessary to track all the steps for project review and streamline the process of assessment for you.
With FoxPlan, you can list all the steps for project review, set the timeline and keep track of the progress at the same time using the Gantt Chart or even Kanban as it could be customized based on your preference.
So, have you tried FoxPlan before? If you haven’t, you should try FoxPlan for Free! Or contact our representative to experience the best project and portfolio management software in action!